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10 minutes with... Dr. Will Darler

We caught up with Dr. Will Darler, Lecturer in Marketing, and Deputy Impact Lead (CSSAH) at the University of Leicester...

Q. If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing with your career?

A. Running my own business helping technology-focused companies increase their performance - Or raising awareness of good business practice through the publication of interviews with successful business leaders (that’s still my future plan). I have the opportunity to do a lot of this through my work with Leicester Innovation Hub but I’d like the satisfaction of running my own business too.

Q. What is the biggest stereotype, myth, or misinformation about your business sector that you want to put straight?

A. Lecturing is a small part of a lecturers job. Public perception is that we spend the most of our time lecturing but this typically take up less than 60% of our working week. I only have 1.5 days allocated to lecturing (including preparing lecture material, responding to student enquiries, and supervising dissertations). The rest of my time is spent creating an enterprise strategy for the university, engaging businesses through Leicester Innovation Hub, Training businesses on the Government-funded Help to Grow Management programme, coaching business leaders (working my way towards a business coaching qualification), and leading various UK and EU-funded projects (currently focused on AI in finance, and User experience).

Q. What is your proudest achievement?

A. Obtaining a Distinguished Teaching Fellow award for my work getting businesses involved in the curriculum (across a range of modules).

Q. Can you tell us a business skill or subject you’re working on mastering?

A. Professional coaching - I currently spend one day a week coaching business leaders from companies such as IBM, Deloitte and British Gas. I enjoy finding out what makes people succeed in business and three of my clients have recently got promotions.

Q. What are you most excited about at this time in your career? (and don’t say retirement!)

A. I have recently started a new position where I will create a business engagement strategy for staff across multiple departments at the university. I am excited that I have the chance to increase the impact that staff beyond myself and University of Leicester School of Business have on local and national organisations. Eventually, I’d like to scale this even further and have the chance to influence the way that UK universities interact with organisations creating a positive economic impact.

Q. What’s the most unbelievable fact about you?

A. I fractured my back snowboarding when I worked at a dry ski slop in the UK. Then travelled to Canada for a ski season shortly afterwards.

Q. What is your biggest fear?

A. Being stuck in front of a computer in my office. I love to be out and about, interacting with businesses and external organisations!

Q. Name three things you can’t live without?

A.Deck shoes (versatile, and can take me from a country walk, to a bar or restaurant), watch (I don’t feel dressed without it), internet connection (I’m a tech geek and I need to stay up to date on new technology/innovations).

Q. Best way you relax when not at work?

A. Playing guitar (badly), or more recently gardening (am I too young for this?)

Q. One app you can’t be without?

A. Whatsapp - My best childhood friends live in the US and Australia so it’s great for staying in touch, video calling and sharing photos.


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