Meet the shortlist: Dr Ant Bagshaw

Name: Dr Ant Bagshaw

Job title: Senior Advisor, Global Education Practice

Institution: L.E.K. Consulting

Essay title:
‘Make higher education institutions places of joy’

What is your higher education history?

I started working in the sector at the National Union of Students before moving to professional roles in universities supporting senior management teams. I then worked at Wonkhe before finding my way into consulting. Before NUS, I was a students’ union officer and, in that role, I was privileged to work with Jonathan Nicholls.

What does your current role cover?

I lead L.E.K. Consulting’s education practice in Australia working with universities, business and governments on strategy projects. It’s varied, I get to travel a lot, and I work on interesting problems.

What do you find most enjoyable and/or challenging in your role?

Consulting is both a science and art. I love finding creative solutions with clients, working with great people, and navigating complex organisations. Living in Sydney is awesome.

Why did you choose your essay subject?

I worry that marketised higher education focuses too much on short-term measurable outcomes and little on intangible benefits. In making the case for systemic joy within institutions, I am arguing for longer-term returns from happier and healthier workplaces.

What was the biggest challenge in writing your essay?

Joy can be an elusive concept. The essay question challenged us to think about how implementation could work which is difficult unless you establish what joy really means. Part of the answer comes from recognising that joy is a deeply personal concept and that institutions need to work on supporting all colleagues to find their own joy.

What key message/s would you like readers to take from your essay?

Higher education is a people business. We need to look after our people and to find ways of making universities joyful places of work. That might come at a cost (by some conceptions of performance) in the short term but could pay off in the long run.

Meet the shortlist

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