Lancaster graduate Collette Roche, who is Chief Operating Officer for Manchester United, has received an Alumni award at the graduation ceremonies.
Having enjoyed a successful career across several industries, she gives credit to Lancaster University for contributing to her success.
“Lancaster really did set me up for life.”
In her previous role, as Acting MD, Manchester Airport (MAG), she was part of the Executive Team that doubled MAG’s value over a 5-year period. She is also an adviser to the UK Board of Trade.
Collette believes she was ahead of the game after graduation, thanks to the course content at Lancaster University and, in particular, her Year in Industry. She worked as a management trainee at WH Smith Retail, which gave her the opportunity to lead teams and develop talent, whilst graduates from other universities were starting out from scratch.
“I found that it gave me an advantage at interview, when compared to other graduates because I could talk about what I had done, rather than what I would do.”
After graduation, she became a graduate trainee with Ford Motor Company, responsible for 700 employees at Dagenham in Essex, moving to HR Executive at Siemens Business Services, then to United Utilities before joining MAG in 2010.
Even today she says she refers to some of the learning sets from her Lancaster BBA – particularly the accounting and finance modules which help her make sound investment decisions. She also finds her strategy and marketing grounding invaluable.
“It gives you so much more confidence in the board room when you understand the issues and know the questions that need to be asked.”