Justine Greening

Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening

Cabinet Minister gives talk to Business School class on leadership

University of Exeter Business School students learning about women and leadership were surprised by the sudden appearance of a Cabinet minister in class.

The Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, who was visiting the University of Exeter, delighted first years studying women and leadership by giving an impromptu talk about her own path to Government.

The Cabinet Minister, who studied economics and worked in business before entering politics, popped into the class and gave an impromptu talk on the qualities needed to succeed. She then answered questions from students about what it takes to become a leader, including how to respond to rejections from City employers.

Greening told the first year business students that a key skill for succeeding was prioritising, and not being deflected from important goals. 

The Cabinet Minister, who used to be a Treasury Minister and  before being elected worked as an accountant for firms including for Price Waterhouse Coopers, spoke to students being taught by Professor Ruth Sealy, one of the UK’s authorities on women in leadership, who helped design the index of women on FTSE 100 boards.

“It was fantastic for students to see the role model of a female leader at the top of our game in the classroom,” Professor Sealy said.  “We had just been discussing women in leadership in organisations and politics and in walked a female cabinet minister who had also held senior roles in business. She gave all the right positive messages and says the sort of things undergraduates wanted to here. She spoke in a really down to earth way that the students could relate to. I think they got a lot out it.”

Matt Jackson, First Year Business School Undergraduate, who asked the Education Secretary about how to get a job in the city said: "It was really useful to hear Justine Greening's perspective on leadership and management., and great to hear about her experiences especially because it was so relevant to that module."

Greening held talks with senior figures at the University during her visit to the Streatham Campus on March 2. She also heard about innovative research from a group of natural science students, chemists and geographers and met the President of the Student’s Guild Toby Gladwin after taking a walk through the campus.

The Education Secretary  held talks with Sir Steve Smith, the Vice Chancellor, Janice Kay, the Provost, Jacqueline Marshall, the Deputy Registrar, and Deputy Vice Chancellors Tim Quine, Mark Goodwin and Nick Talbot.

Greening also visited Exeter Mathematics School, which is sponsored by the University of Exeter and Exeter College, and has just been rated Outstanding in all categories by Ofsted.

She met students at the school  - including those who had devised innovative maths projects - as well as head teacher Kerry Burnham, and John Laramy, Principal of Exeter College.   

Date: 3 March 2017

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