Get to know our CEO

Written by Jess Lloyd - 06 September 2018

Female Leaders addressing the board around a table

Improving graduate employability is now a big priority – for employers, higher education and students alike. According to our research 75% of employers say that students should pursue professional qualifications, and 90% say that CMI has a high level of impact on student employability.

What Is The Relevance Of The Chartered Management Institute To Today's Business Students?

We partner with higher education to ensure qualifications are matched to professional accreditations. This enables students to further their knowledge of business and working life, and to develop those all-important 'soft skills'. We also provide students with career-boosting tools like checklists for creating a killer CV, how to prepare for interviews, as well as professional networking opportunities. All of which will ultimately make graduates a more attractive prospect for future employers.

An interview with Ann Francke - CEO of CMI

How Did You Become The Ceo Of Cmi?

Throughout my career I have worked for both good and bad bosses, so I understand the impact a boss can have on the morale of employees. I also worked at the British Standards Institution for 3 years, so have become familiar with standards of excellence in the workplace. So overtime, I have naturally become an advocate for creating better working lives.

You're Active On LinkedIn And Twitter. Why Do Business Students Need To Cultivate Good Social Media Profiles And What Are Your Tips For Doing So?

A professional social media profile is great way to prove to employers that you are business-minded. Through social media everyone now has a virtual presence which is visible to any person at any time. When recruiting employers will inevitably look at any candidate's online presence.

With this in mind, it is crucial for students to think "how would my future employer react to this post?"" Keep social profiles such as Twitter and LinkedIn professional and personal accounts private. Follow the influencers, professional bodies, icons of business, and journalists as a way of developing your knowledge and signalling your professional interests and commitment to self-development.

How Would You Define Success In Business?

More and more people are now motivated by contributing something good to society above earning money. Today, many successful businesses recognise social purpose as being at the core of what they're about, and the commercial mission as being the means to achieve it. Such an approach is essential to inspiring and motivating staff, and is becoming increasingly commonplace.

What Does A Typical Working Day Look Like For You?

There is no such thing as a typical day at CMI, which is why I love my job. On Monday I could be talking to a group of students, and the CEO of a global corporation on Tuesday. Also, I love that this is an ongoing role. There is so much opportunity to make a difference to a variety of organisations and people.

How Can Business Students Ensure They Are Employable When They Graduate?

We partner with universities and business schools to ensure that graduates are leaving education with work-ready skills. Qualifications are essential – but so are the so-called 'soft skills'. Students need to start creating their own professional networks, learn from experienced professionals who can share their experiences and wisdom. For example, we offer an online mentoring service.

Having work experience prior to graduating is invaluable as it shows that you've gained experience of how to work in a business environment. In a survey taken by employers, 67% said that communication was the most desirable skill for a graduate. Plus, CMI-backed qualifications and accreditations are highly regarded by employers signal that you have the practical skills to thrive in the workplace.

What Has Been The Proudest Moment In Your Career?

My career is long and winding road made up of many proud moments. I have had great moments at each phase of my career. However, I am particularly proud of CMI for being ranked within the top 100 best companies in the UK.

One Of Your Interests Is In The Challenges For Working Women. What’s The Landscape Looking Like For Young Female Graduates And What Do They Need To Do To Create Great Careers In Sometimes Challenging Work Environments?

Today is a great time for women to start their careers in management. The gender pay gap still exists, but it is closing. Right now, we see a picture of more women than men filling entry-level management roles, but an imbalance the higher up organisations you go – the so-called 'glass pyramid'. But employers recognise now that gender balanced organisations perform a lot better.

While businesses are doing a lot more now to open up the talent pipeline for women, there are plenty of things individuals should be doing to advance their careers. Finding a senior mentor or sponsor is a great way to gain guidance and advice, and to build a professional network. Studies show how women have not been encouraged to be as confident as men. So break the mould. Plus, always keep learning. Gain all the qualifications and accreditations you can.

Find out more about the Blueprint for Balance, and join CMI Women now.


Jess Lloyd

Northerner in London. Dog lover. Beyoncé super-fan. Univeristy of Hull class of 2016. PR and Campaigns Executive @cmi_managers

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