RIT and employability: Kingston University


Kingston University student Omar Gilbert interviewing Magnus Willis, founding partner at Sparkler

Employer Insights Module

A Kingston University course module is connecting teaching and research by bringing students in to the heart of industry. Associate Professor Dr Deborah Anderson devised Employer Insights which stimulates new undergraduate research through students interviewing leading figures in the world of marketing.

As part of their course, second-year undergraduate marketing students interview senior marketers in their work environment. The interviews are filmed and then shown to the rest of the class to stimulate debate and discussion. Interviewees during the past year have included: Magnus Willis – Founding Partner at award-winning brand strategy consultancy, Sparkler; Kate Howe – Managing Director of Gyro creative agency; Anthony Hopper – Chief Executive of direct marketing agency, Lowe Open and Steve Bell – Chief Executive of top advertising agency Iris.

The employer-based teaching approach enables students to link classroom theory with the practical realities of the sector. It provides them with industry skills to add to their armoury when approaching future employers.

Dr Anderson – who lectures in marketing and is a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy – created this module because she saw that marketing was such a fast-paced discipline that students could no longer rely solely on textbooks. “If we want our teaching to be as fresh and relevant as possible, we need the voice of the industry at the core of our courses,” she explained.

During the interviews, students touch on such topics as current trends in marketing communications and the attributes employers are looking for in graduates. “This gives them a first-hand understanding of how top marketers operate and what their priorities are,” Dr Anderson said. “My students have an edge in the workplace because they are put in front of some of the most important players before they even graduate.”


Anderson, J. & Priest, C. (2014). ‘Developing an Inclusive Definition, Typological Analysis and Online resources for Live Projects.’ In H. Harriss & L. Widder (Eds) Architecture Live Projects: Pedagogy into Practice Routledge: Oxford

Collis, B. & Moonen, J. (2011). ‘Flexibility in Higher Education: Revisiting Expectations’. Communicar. English Ed. 19 (37) 15

 Kettle, J. (2013). ‘Flexible Pedagogies: Employer Engagement and Work-Based Learning’ Higher Education Academy. https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/resources/ee_wbl_report.pdf [Accessed: 23/8/16]

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