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MBA Interview

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 8 months ago

MBA Interview with Graham Walton, Library Service Development Manager, University of Loughborough


Interview conducted November 2006


Graham’s current role

Graham has worked for two years as Library Service Development Manager at Loughborough University. He is involved in all aspects of human resources: the appointment of new staff, induction of new staff and the training and development of current staff. Graham also monitors the quality of the service that the Library provides. He is responsible for marketing the Library and the services that it offers and is also involved in developing and taking forward new services.

Graham also has two subsidiary roles. He is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Information Science, which involves engagement will all stages of the research process with academic colleagues. Additionally Graham has been the editor of ‘Health Information and Libraries Journal ' (HILJ) for over three years.


Major challenges of role

A key challenge for Graham in his current role is how to manage the balance between electronic and physical library service delivery. There is an imperative to make sure that existing Library space is utilised effectively and creatively.

Graham is also concerned with finding evidence for funders concerning the value and impact of the Library in the University.

Implementing changes to the service is a key part of Graham’s job. This entails helping Library colleagues change and develop their skills to support the new developments.

Making effective decisions is an important part of his job. As the world becomes more complex, decision making also becomes more challenging.


Skills and training

Graham has a library qualification and is a chartered member of CILIP. With his role being primarily management, his MBA is very relevant to his role .

One important skill for all of the roles mentioned above is the ability to give direction and strategic leadership. This involves being aware of changes and ensuring services develop accordingly. The ability to give strategic direction is necessary not only in his work in the University Library but also as Editor of ‘Health Information and Libraries Journal’.

An important part of Graham’s current role is managing people and for this, he feels it is important to have good people management and team leadership skills. With much work being project based, it is crucial to be able to effectively bring people together from different backgrounds and contexts to work together,

Graham also feels that ‘juggling skills’ are essential to keep everything going at the same time.


How Graham equipped himself to carry out his current role

Graham feels that it is important in his current role to be prepared to try different approaches and not be scared to fail. It is also important to be open to change and know when and when not to focus on the detail.

In his current role, he feels that it is imperative to be accessible to people and develop effective networks. Graham also feels that it is important to know an activity is completed and it is time to move on and focus on new or different projects.


Contribution Graham’s MBA has made to his role

Graham studied for his MBA over four years while working full-time so the course was a very significant part of life during that period. He feels that approaches, ideas and skills that he learnt during his MBA are now embedded so he uses them without even thinking. The MBA helped him to change the way he thinks especially strategically. Graham also feels that he learnt about the wider perspective through the variety of people that he meet during his MBA who worked in different places.


Additional benefits Graham gained from his MBA

During his MBA Graham did a course on creative management and he utilises these techniques in various work related activities. Graham was able to use ideas developed during academic writing for assignments to turn into journal articles for publishing. His MBA thus directly lead into his PhD as he did this by publication. Graham also benefited from meeting people from such varied different backgrounds. This gave him the opportunity to meet to discuss ideas and approaches and learn from each other.


To what extent does Graham’s current role continues to use so-called “traditional information skills

Graham finds himself using traditional information skills less and less in his current role. There are three areas where he still utilises them though. Graham works on the University Library Help Desk for two hours a week and deals with subject queries, PC problems, and enquiries about services. Secondly, he utilises information skills when involved in research projects or writing academic work. Finally, he needs to keep up to date to be aware of developments in health information and also publishing to ensure he can successfully undertake his role as editor of‘HILJ’.


What other professional landmarks does Graham look forward to achieving in the future?

Graham intends to keep doing much of the same while looking for opportunities to be involved in projects and other activities he enjoys doing. He would particularly look to engage in more project work with colleagues across the world.

Graham would also like to develop in IT skills further particular in Access and Dreamweaver.

Graham is also considering working towards fellowship of CILIP.


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