Spotlight on John Burnett

2 October 2013

Spotlight on John Burnett

This week the spotlight is on John Burnett, Graduate Marketing Manager, UCL Publications and Marketing Services.

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am the Graduate Marketing Manager at UCL. In this role I lead on the recruitment of over 8,000 graduate students a year. This is a busy and varied position giving me the opportunity to work with colleagues across the institution. My work falls into three main areas: managing institutional marketing projects and campaigns, conducting market research and developing business intelligence and, when I have time, supporting UCL’s academic units with their marketing and market research.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I have worked at UCL for four years. Prior to UCL I was the business manager for a Fair Trade, agro-processing social business in Swaziland, Southern Africa. I was fortunate to work with a remarkable group of characters with the business employing 41 staff, supporting over 400 small-holder outgrowers and selling to 14 countries around the world.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

In Swaziland I worked with colleagues to negotiate a bank loan to develop the business. This enabled us to part-mechanise production and take on bigger orders. As a result we doubled turn-over within the year, and were able to take on more staff and increase our orders with our rural outgrowers.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of you to-do list?

For the last few months I have been working with colleagues to redesign UCL’s homepage, which launched yesterday. This has been a large and complex project. We conducted considerable market research and ran a lot of user testing to try to make sure that the site met the needs of the homepage’s multiple audiences.

Happily, early indications are that the new site is working well. From a baseline of 28%, 71% of survey respondents rate the new site good or excellent for clear navigation. There have been similar improvements in a range of other criteria, including ease of use, the site is intuitive, design and the site reflects UCL’s strengths. The project team will be reviewing performance and analysing opportunities to make enhancements over the next three months.

This project was also made complex by our adoption of responsive web design principles. This means that the page adapts to show differently on different types of device. This is pretty new technology and the first time I had worked on a responsive web design project.

If you are interested in this project you can follow our progress here: http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/digital-comms/

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

My favourite recent album is Tourist History by Two Door Cinema Club. If I have a favourite film it is probably Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. I studied Latin American Studies at university and really enjoyed studying some of the short stories from that region. At the moment I’m reading “Thinking Fast, and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

The past, present and future walk into a bar – it was tense

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Pete Hart and George Wigmore for Curry tomorrow

What advice would you give your younger self?

Buy a house as soon as you graduate.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I spent a year in Japan and studied Taiko drumming

What is your favourite place?

Eihei-ji