It all started when I was in the process of deciding which universities to apply for, with a view to studying business management. As this course is offered at almost every university in the UK I was determined to find one that could help me stand out from the hundreds of thousands of other graduates so when I found that the course at The University of Derby included a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management accredited by the Chartered Management Institute, this definitely helped me to narrow down my options.
One benefit of this accreditation is access to a range of regional and national CMI events. The first CMI event I attended was the Midland’s Conference in March 2016 which was held at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest, Nottingham. I was one of only a few students in attendance, surrounded by over 100 successful leaders and managers from the Midlands. It was then that I realised just how valuable this accreditation was. This realisation inspired me to want to get more involved with the organisation, so when the time came I began to network, and I was subsequently introduced to a number of both East and West Midlands Regional Board members, so I expressed an interest in becoming more involved and we exchanged contact details.
I was soon invited to a ‘volunteers event’ by the West Midlands Regional Board and meetings were arranged with East Midlands Regional Board members to discuss the different ways that I could get more involved with the CMI. Whilst attending the volunteers event in Birmingham brainstorming ideas on how to grow and improve regional CMI activities, it occurred to me that there was not a significant amount of engagement with the students that make up a large percentage of the CMI’s membership, and from experience this was also the case in the East Midlands. As a full-time university student, I felt I was perfectly positioned to bridge that gap and so discussions continued. The CMI Student Ambassador scheme is the route we decided to take, and it was within its infancy stage at this point, so I like to think that I played a significant role in its development, especially within the Midlands.
Following an induction from a member of CMI’s central team, as well as further engagement with the HE Champion on the East Midlands Regional Board, I now felt prepared to begin my role as The University of Derby’s first CMI Student Ambassador. I was invited along to the next East Midlands Regional Board meeting and it soon became clear just how valuable a student’s perspective could be on topics such as events, social media engagement, and the introduction of CMI accredited courses and the ambassador scheme to other regional universities – just to name a few.
Although my perspective was valuable, I felt that more than one student’s perspective would be even better, which is why I decided to form a CMI Student Board. I sourced recruits for the board from my peer group of fellow CMI accredited students. 7 new ambassadors were recruited from my year group and as I had already spent some time with them, I could therefore vouch for their strengths and proactivity potential, knowing that they would be able to represent the CMI and the university professionally when needed. Having formed a group of proactive full-time students all on a CMI accredited course, we became a valuable focus group both for the Regional Board and for new CMI Central initiatives which have since been piloted at Derby.
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