Next week, I will be starting a new post at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. This of course means my time at the UCL School of Management will be coming to an end. While I am excited for the new challenge, I am also incredibly sad to be leaving, and a lot of that is down to the wonderful students I have had the good fortune to work with over the last 4+ years.
When I first stepped into the doors of One Canada Square on 27 November 2017, I had no idea how I would be received by the students at the SoM. The Student Experience Officer was a new role within the school and from day one it was a whirlwind. I remember sitting in back-to-back Staff Student Consultative Committee Meetings with MSc Management and MSc Entrepreneurship. The chair, Alan Parkinson, working through the agenda, got to Student Projects and Events and looked to me like I had it all figured out (when in reality, I hadn’t got a clue). Thankfully on that day I was lucky to have two student reps (Florence & Evalina) with me in both meetings, who saved my blushes and came up with some great initial ideas for enhancing the Student Experience within the School.
Within weeks, I was giving out stacks of hoodies in the Henry Morley building and working on events and engagement ideas for the year ahead. Each day threw up something new and wonderful. I was extremely lucky that every day I came into work, I looked forward to it - the energy and buzz of working with our students has been the most enjoyable aspect of this job by a country mile. Getting to meet so many students from so many different places across the world has been such a rewarding experience, and one which I will treasure for the rest of my life.
I want to thank a few groups in particular: The School of Management Society - Ghita, Yasir, Sherin, Justice, Weisley, and Kristine - I thank you and your committees for all the work you put into making the school a vibrant and exciting place to learn. Thank you to the countless number of amazing student reps who I have had the honour of working alongside over the last number of years- special thanks to Adrian, who was our lead rep for two years, and brought an incredible amount of energy and fresh ideas to the role; Jiaqi, Zhifeng, Xiaoguang, and Jing for the wonderful lunar new year celebrations; Ioana for the support and laughs; and Joe, Velvet, and Miros for minding the PhD’s. Thanks also to the many wonderful Unibuddy reps who have been a delight to work with over the years, in particular Benedikt, Adam and Darren.
To our non-London-based students on our two MBA programmes, thanks for everything. To the students at PKU, it was one of the best experiences of my life getting to visit Beijing and see your university. It was also wonderful getting to host you guys every August, show you around London, and race you in the dragon boats on the River Thames. To the students in The UCL MBA, I had so much fun at our immersion weekends. You’re a bunch of inspiring individuals, and it’s been great to get to know you all.
Thanks to all the students who gave me their trust and allowed me to provide them with some measure of support during their time at UCL.
Also, big shoutout to everyone who attended the events that I ran over the years- I really appreciate you showing up, so I didn’t end up sitting there on my own! Because of you guys, and the support you gave to the events we ran, I got to host events at amazing venues such as the London Film Museum, the Museum of London Docklands, the Tower of London, the HMS Belfast, the London Transport Museum- and yes, even the North London Irish Centre.
I will miss our time together. It’s been a privilege, and I appreciate you letting me be a part of your UCL experience.
In true Declan fashion, I will leave you with something Irish: May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again – thank you.