Meet the Chartered Manager: The self-made manager

15 July 2016 -


The latest in our series where seven stand-out chartered managers tell dramatic tales of personal reinvention, and explain how they’re energising and professionalising their organisations

Matt Scott

Climbing to the top of the career ladder after starting from the bottom rung is no mean feat.

Infectious optimism and a commitment to professionalism have underpinned Laura Beswick’s remarkable rise. When she first applied for her administration role at professional and academic education provider BPP in 2007, Beswick was not excited by the job description.

But after just a few minutes, she was swept up by her interviewer and future manager: “The lady interviewing me was great, and she would become my manager, so I was very inspired by her. She is extremely enthusiastic about her job and that came across instantly.”

It’s difficult to understate the power of a passionate manager. Beswick used this early experience as a template for her own management style: “I’ve always tried to emulate her during my time at BPP. Passion and enthusiasm are so important, because if you’re leading a team and you can’t get excited about things, how can you expect anyone else to? You need to be excited about your role to make a difference and do it successfully.

“My management style is to get involved and lead by example. I’m just very passionate and enthusiastic, which I hope is contagious, because you want to get everyone involved.”

Her outlook has stood her in good stead in her career at BPP.

After joining as an administrator in BPP’s professional development division, Beswick soon stepped up to a management role, running a portfolio of 1,500 law courses and managing 70 freelance course presenters.

From there she took the leap to managing director, eventually taking responsibility for the commercial and operational performance of three BPP offices: Liverpool, Glasgow and Newcastle. “That was a huge step up,” she says.

Today, she’s head of professional services apprenticeships for BPP.

Beswick credits her success to a keen appetite for learning and a constant desire to better her management abilities. Becoming a Chartered Manager has helped her professional and personal development significantly.

“I enjoyed the process of becoming a Chartered Manager because of the reflective nature of the assessment,” she says. “How often do you sit down and reflect on what you’ve actually done? We don’t do that enough as managers. The Chartered Manager process forces you to sit down and think, actually, what have I achieved? What have I been good at? And what would I do differently if I were to go through this experience again?”

Beswick says that the process was made even easier by the way CMI allowed her to plan for the accreditation process around her personal life. As she’d just become a mother, this was crucial.

“I’d just come back off maternity leave with a very busy home and work life, and I really liked the practical nature of the assessment – it was very flexible. I could fill out a report, a submission and then have a telephone interview that could fit around my schedule.”

Achieving Chartered Manager status has also given her confidence and belief in her abilities to manage: “Sometimes, I think, ‘how did I get to the position I’m in now?’ I was a managing director of three of our centres and now I’m heading up the professional services apprenticeships for BPP. But actually, I did deserve to get to this point, because I’ve got all of these experiences.”

Hear Beswick’s story in her own words here, where you can also find other inspirational stories from more of CMI’s Chartered Managers

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