A growing number of MSc Management alumni are building careers in the health sector, and with a change from traditional career paths.

Before the pandemic, we saw our graduates making inroads into national health services: managing hospitals and medical centres using their operations management expertise. The pandemic has opened new paths for our graduates. The world has been impacted by this striking global threat, which has also brought about many fascinating innovations and opportunities. We never imagined that our students would be applying for jobs online with no physical interaction with their new employer. We never imagined our students would not be getting dressed to impress on their first day in the office, or making their first cup of tea for their colleagues. We have found ourselves in a new world where the rule book has gone and the jobs and offices simply look very different.

It is becoming a bit of a cliché. Let’s see what the reality looks like for our recent MSc Management graduates.

Last week, Dr Radka Newton, MSc Management Programme Director, received a COVID testing kit. She was excited. It meant one thing… She was invited to visit the offices of a newly established health innovation company Circular 1 Health (C1H) in Barrow-in-Furness. The CEO of the company, Stuart MacLennan who is a well-renowned Cumbria-based entrepreneur, met Radka at one of the innovation programmes for SMEs run by Lancaster University Management School in summer 2020. Stuart has always been committed to economic regeneration in Cumbria and dreamt of translating this strong and very personal drive to make life better for others into a transformational and innovative venture. His entrepreneurial and fearless spirit led to the setting-up of a series of high-tech COVID testing labs around the UK, with the main hub in Barrow: “We want to get people back to their lives, we want Cumbria to get going again despite the pandemic.”

C1H set up their first lab in Sellafield and at the beginning they operated with ten full-time employees. One of them was an MSc Management student, Yasmin Shepherd, who was just finishing her degree. Yasmin’s family lives in Barrow and she was keen to find a local job and make a difference to the local economy. C1H was a perfect match for her. Yasmin has now been with the company for around ten months and saw the growth of the company from ten to almost three hundred employees.

Dr Newton could not wait to catch up with Yasmin. The last time they saw each other was Friday 13th March 2020, when everybody got sent home to continue their learning online. What a reunion! Yasmin describes her time in C1H as a unique graduate experience that has allowed her to get to know all aspects of business and practice everything she had learned on the programme. She tells Dr Newton more detail about her role: “This has been truly transformational for me. I have been able to try out all aspects of business, contribute to the growth of the company, work with the leadership team and learn how decisions are made. We are a young team here in Barrow. We work hard and have a lot of fun! I love it.” Yasmin radiates enthusiasm and we cannot be more proud of her.

Yasmin takes Dr Newton on a tour round the newly established lab. As they walk around, they both get a message from Yasmin’s friend, Tharusha Heenatigala, who is also an MSc Management 2020 graduate. Guess what! Tharusha is now a Senior Laboratory Technician at Circular 1 Health, based in Manchester. With her biomedical background she felt drawn to continue her career in the medical sector and the opportunity in C1H was one not to miss. Yasmim and Radka took a selfie and sent it to Tharusha via LinkedIn.

You may now wonder if there is a third one to complete the magic of three successful graduates. There is! Catia Gomes, also from the class of 2020. Catia was an inspirational student who kept working in A&E as a nurse throughout her studies and the pandemic. Catia was offered a project management role at Oxford Medical Simulation, a global company developing virtual reality based simulation programmes for health care. Catia’s line manager, Thomas Hansen, who is based in Denmark, contacted Dr Newton via email requesting a meeting. He was keen to learn more about his new team member, Catia, how he could support her and what development plan may be most suitable. Dr Newton remarked: “This has never happened in my professional career, a manager calling me to discuss the potential of their recent recruit who last year was my student. What a unique approach and a true commitment to employee development.” Radka later messaged Catia to simply say – ‘well done, so proud of you!’

The MSc Management programme develops brave and innovative individuals who are ready to embrace roles that never existed before, job descriptions that have not yet been written. Be it in Barrow, or globally or in a home office via Zoom. MSc Management is a postgraduate programme that has not been halted by the pandemic. The programme managed to accelerate connections with newly-established businesses and place their graduates in fascinating roles that will change the future of the concept of the workplace for good.