Meet Jim Benson | AUA Career Stories
Jim Benson | Director at Jim Benson Associates Limited | AUA Consultant
How long have you worked in HE and what was your first position?
I was President of Goldsmiths College Students’ Union 1986-87 but if you do not count that I was in the Department of Education and Science 1988-90 responsible for teacher training regulation. If you do not count that I was Assistant Registrar at South Bank Polytechnic in 1990.
What made you choose the AUA?
An interesting opportunity to become a consultant arose-I liked what they were asking consultants to do and considered that there was an open approach to how the role would be performed.
What advice do you have for prospective AUA members?
Challenge yourself. Don’t participate only in the activities you are familiar with, go outside the comfort zone [beyond the sector]
What do you value most about working in HE?
The opportunity to work with genuinely interesting and intelligent people and being paid for it
If you could do another HE job for a day, what would it be?
Director of HR….but only for a day. I would want to be Director of Finance for at least a year!
What do you think is the most overused phrase in HE?
Office for Students
What does professionalism mean to you?
Caring about what you do, having pride in your work regardless of your position or salary
What can’t you start your day without?
A swim and a coffee
What work accomplishment are you the proudest of?
Changing the MRCP(UK) Examination [the exam that gives physicians access to higher specialist training]
What is your personal philosophy?
Never drink in a pub with red walls was passed on from my father but my own is be optimistic, pessimism is just misery as the outcome will be the same
What is the one thing you cannot resist?
Looking for pubs with red walls…….
What is your greatest fear?
I’m tempted to say pubs with red walls but it is probably living in a world where people even worse than Trump might get into positions of real power
What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
Toilet cleaner at Wembley 1984 League Cup Final
What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime?
The internet. It is the one thing that if I went back to school in the 1970s and tried to explain no one would understand
What would you most like to tell yourself at age 13?
You really can’t be a footballer, it takes more talent than you’ve got, now think of something else and give it a good go.