Spotlight on Gurpreet Jagpal
16 November 2012
This week the spotlight is on Gurpreet Jagpal, Deputy Director of UCL Advances.
What is your role and what does it involve?
My job title is Deputy Director – UCL Advances and I work in the university's Centre for Entrepreneurship. My role is to manage delivery and make sure we (UCL Advances) do what we’re already doing, but even better, while identifying where we can fill niches we haven’t already explored.
I think there's plenty of scope for new initiatives, helping companies cut costs, and looking at introducing new teaching methods for some of our programmes – it’s a hugely exciting challenge.
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I joined in the last week of September, prior to which I was at the University of Birmingham, where I managed the entrepreneurship team on a day-to-day basis and launched a variety of programmes designed to encourage staff and student entrepreneurship, as well as achieving my MBA there at the same time.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
One of my proudest moments was at the University of Birmingham, where I designed and launched the talentpool, a project for postgraduate students designed to boost their understanding of external organisations. The programme saw PhD students learn, through five-day intensive workshops, how to become an effective expert consultant, and then get put through their paces at an assessment centre. It also aimed to show researchers the value of a doctorate beyond the academic community. There are so many jobs out there for people with this level of qualification, but often PhD students aren’t aware of them.
The programme was so successful it clocked up just fewer than 300 participants from across the university – with part of its appeal being that, after the workshops, the programme administrators worked to secure real-world consulting opportunities for those taking part. I hope to have similar successes at UCL.
I am also working on a couple of projects to provide support to those entrepreneurs looking to set up creative businesses. It's a new initiative for Advances and we hope it addresses a need from the student body.
What is your life like outside UCL?
Busy! I run a small residential property portfolio in the West Midlands, I'm trying to grow a management consultancy business and working with a couple of friends on an idea for a fast-food business. I'm also in the midst of moving house and planning for the arrival of our first baby! Any other 'spare' time is spent catching up with friends and family.