Supporting the development of professional services teams at all levels within UK business schools

PMAC Online brings together professional services staff working across the spectrum of activity within, and for, UK business schools.

Taking place via Zoom on 18 April, PMAC Online is an interactive, practical event that supports business school professional services teams through a series of engaging panel discussions, breakout sessions and professional development workshops.

PMAC Online is developed in conjunction with the in-person Professional Managers' Annual Conference (PMAC 2024) taking place at Northumbria University on 27 February. Click here for further details.

Speaker highlights:

Professor Nic Beech, Vice-Chancellor, University of Salford                                                

Professor Katie Normington, Vice-Chancellor, De Montfort University 

Shivani Bhalla, Head- International Student Recruitment, Brunel University London 

David Meech Mazumdar, Department Manager, London School of Economics and Political Science 


Participants connect to Zoom



Opening remarks and housekeeping

Conference Chair:

David Meech Mazumdar, Department Manager – Strategic Planning & Development, London School of Economics and Political Science


Addressing the challenges around widening participation in universities

This session will address the challenges around widening participation, with regards to both increasing recruitment of students from non-traditional backgrounds, and ensuring these students benefit from a positive experience. We will share best practice on improving recruitment numbers from non-traditional backgrounds, and on delivering positive experiences to a wide range of student profiles. 


  • Professor Katie Normington, Vice-Chancellor, De Montfort University 
  • Professor Osama Khan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Aston 




Breakout sessions

Supporting the wellbeing of professional services staff: from reactive to proactive support 

In this session, the panel will share best practice on how to support employee wellbeing, with a particular focus on integrating wellbeing into the day-to-day concerns and operations of universities. The panel will share examples of best practice and initiatives that can be implemented to provide adequate and proactive support.  


Dr Mazia Yassim, Head of School for Management and Marketing, Greenwich 

Bridging the gap: Using emerging technologies to improve the student experience 

This session will explore how emerging technologies such as AI can be used to build a clearer picture of the student journey and improve the student experience. We will discuss how emerging technologies can help reconciliate student wants, asks and experience, and help build a personalised learning journey as a result.  


Dr Susan Gottlöber, Interim Dean for Teaching and Learning, Maynooth University, Ireland  

International students' recruitment: trends and future planning 

In this session, we will discuss current and future trends in international student recruitment, with particular attention given to identifying high potential markets. The panel will explore how factors such as geo-political context, government policy and access to visa and sponsorship impact recruitment levels, and what measures schools are using to mitigate these effects.  


  • Shivani Bhalla, Head of Int Students Recruitment, Brunel 
  • Rosa Harrison, Head of International Recruitment, Liverpool John Moores University 

Vangelis Tsiligiris, an Associate Professor at the Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University 

Towards Net Zero: how professional services can make a difference 

 Professional services have an instrumental role to play in driving the implementation and adoption of environmental good practice within universities. In this session, we will share best practice from professional services staff who have effectively put in place new or improved sustainable processes, and consider what steps come next on universities' journey to net zero. 




Breakout sessions

The lived experience of international students 

This session will consider the experience that international students are receiving from living and studying in the UK. We will explore the role of professional services staff in enhancing this experience and in identifying and improving persistent challenges, such as the integration between international and domestic students. 



Professor Liz Warren, Faculty Head of International, Manchester Metropolitan University 

The role of professional services staff in driving students' AI literacy 

In this session, a panel will consider the role that professional services play in promoting AI literacy in students. The panel will explore how AI is changing students' reality of studying and working, and how to collaborate with academic staff to ensure students are equipped to use AI properly, at university and as they enter the employment market.  


Dr Christine O’Dea, Senior Lecturer in Management and Technology Education, Kings Colleague University 

Sam Saunders, Educational Developer, University of Liverpool 

Dr Alison Purvis, Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching, College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences, Sheffield Hallam University 

Engaging with local and small businesses  

In this session, we will consider what opportunities business schools have to collaborate with small and local businesses, and how to capitalise on these to increase their universities' impact. Within this, we will discuss how to include these businesses within universities' supply chains.  


Tim Nichol, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Faculty of Business and Law), Liverpool John Moores University 

Protecting education from the cyber security threat – the role of professional services staff 

Cyber security is a constant and modern threat to education and research. In this session, we will discuss the new cyber security guidelines created in collaboration by UUK, Jisc and NCSC, which aim to support the sector to prepare for and protect from external threats. The panel will explore how these guidelines impact professional services staff and will provide some guidance around best-practice. 


Lunch break


Welcome back and keynote address

Professor Nic Beech, Vice-Chancellor. University of Salford 


Personal development workshops

Building the skillset to confidently navigate uncertainty

The business school landscape is undergoing important changes, coupled with a fast-moving external environment. In this context, it is essential for professional services staff to be ‘change ready’ and to confidently work with uncertainty. This workshop will explore the skills and behaviours, such as resilience and critical thinking, which are needed to confidently navigate change, and provides insight into how to build these up.  

Skills and behaviours for a successful relationship with Deans and SLTs

This workshop will consider the challenges professional services staff may face when with Deans and senior leadership teams, and how these may be addressed to facilitate collaboration. We will consider the skills and behaviours which are needed to manage upwards.   

Mrs Merrill Jones, Head of Professional Services, University of Sussex University of Sussex Business School

Inclusive leadership for professional services staff 

Growing attention is given to ensuring universities provide inclusive environments for both their students and staff. This session outlines the principles of inclusive leadership, and shares guidance and starting points on how to include this in your day-to-day operations.  


Conference close

Shivani Bhalla, Head- International Student Recruitment, Brunel University London 

Commencing my journey as an international student in the UK 16 years ago, it now feels like a fulfilling cycle as I contribute back. Over the past 13.5 years, I have been actively engaged in the UK Higher Education sector. My initial role with Brunel began in 2010 as an Alumni Ambassador for India, swiftly progressing to Regional Manager (South Asia) in 2011, where I operated from New Delhi, India. 

In August 2021, I relocated to the UK, joining the campus team. I am delighted to announce a rapid ascent from Deputy Head ISR to Head ISR within a span of two months. Brunel takes pride in its remarkably diverse international student community, comprising individuals from 156 countries. Recently we were ranked the joint most international university by Times Higher Education 2023 ranking.  

With a background in business and a focus on branding for India and the UK, I find immense satisfaction working in the Higher Education sector. This role allows me to connect with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, contributing to the growth of the international student community and enhancing Brunel's global positioning. 

Professor Nic Beech, Vice-Chancellor, University of Salford  

Nic Beech is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Salford. Nic was previously a Vice-Principal of the University of St Andrews, Provost of Dundee University and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Middlesex. He is Chair of the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment, a Commissioner on the International Higher Education Commission and Treasurer and on the Board of the both UUK and the Academy of Social Sciences. Nic’s academic background is in business and management and his research focused on identity, diversity, change leadership and learning. He is the 2023 recipient of the British Academy of Management lifetime achievement award.



Professor Osama Khan, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic, Aston University

With a successful career in higher education for nearly 20 years, He is central to the development of Aston University’s academic strategy in line with the University 2030 Strategy and is strategic lead for the University's education agenda providing talented and motivated students from all backgrounds with an outstanding education that is inclusive, research-informed, technologically enhanced & professionally enriched with industry partnerships.

Prof Khan was educated at Independent University, Bangladesh, University of Surrey and University of Cambridge, and began his academic career as a lecturer (and then senior teaching fellow) at University of Surrey in 2004.

Coming from a BAME background, Osama believes in transforming lives through inclusive education and nurturing the power of equality, diversity and inclusion. He is part of various national initiatives related to student wellbeing, equitable attainment and BAME leadership in higher education. He was the Muslim Chaplain of the University of Surrey and Solent University and sits within an advisory group helping the Department for Education with the implementation of Prevent Duty.

Professor Timothy James Nichol, Pro Vice Chancellor BUS, Liverpool John Moores School

Professor Nichol has a degree in Jurisprudence from Oxford University and a PhD from the University of York. He is a qualified as a Chartered Accountant and has held or holds fellowship status with the Royal Society of Arts, the Chartered Institute of Taxation and the Chartered Management Institute.  After qualifying with Coopers and Lybrand as an accountant, Professor Nichol joined the Newcastle Business School in 1992 and held senior positions as Associate Dean Undergraduate, Associate Dean Teaching and Learning and Director of Northumbria University’s London Campus. In 1997 he was seconded temporarily to the UK Government’s Know How Fund and worked as a Resident Advisor at the Ukrainian central bank as part of a multi-agency team advising on the implementation of banking and reform measures.  

Professor Nichol joined LJMU in 2015, first as Dean of the Liverpool Business School and then as Pro Vice Chancellor for the newly created Faculty of Business and Law.  

Professor Nichol’s research interests are in the area of corporate governance, family company governance and power maintenance in multi-generation business families and family businesses. 

Professor Nichol holds a number of external academic and professional appointments including editorial and review responsibilities, non-executive and other board directorships and Trustee positions.  

David Meech Mazumdar, Department Manager – Strategic Planning & Development, London School of Economics and Political Science 

David Meech Mazumdar has worked in higher education management for 15 years in a number of roles. He has been working as Department Manager for Strategic Planning and Development at the London School of Economics since 2018 and has served on the Chartered ABS Professional Manager’s Committee since 2020, having recently been appointed as Chair.

David believes that the key ingredients to success across the business school sector are innovation, partnership and collaboration – working with each other and our academics to drive excellence and ensure we remain competitive and relevant in a world of change.

Professor Katie Normington, Vice-Chancellor, De Montfort University 

Professor Katie Normington joined De Montfort University, Leicester as Vice-Chancellor in 2021 from Royal Holloway, University of London, where she was Deputy Principal (Academic).

At DMU she launched the new strategy of ‘The Empowering University’ and implemented Education 2030, a programme that delivers the education of the future now through block-mode, flexible, stackable modules which focus on employability, sustainability and equality.

Under Katie’s tenure DMU became the first university to achieve a silver Race Equality Charter and the renewal as a UN Academic Impact Hub for SGD 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Katie is a Professor of Drama. Her research focuses on theatre history – in particular, medieval English drama and contemporary theatre practice. She has published six books in these areas and continues to write articles within the field.

James Norman, Director of Operations for Recruitment and Admissions at Manchester Metropolitan University.

James helps shape the strategic direction of student recruitment, outreach, widening participation, admissions, and data insight areas.

He was previously Head of Operations & Business Services at Essex Business School, and was a member of the Chartered ABS’ Professional Managers Committee from 2019 to 2023, becoming Vice and then Acting Chair. In November 2023, James was awarded a prestigious Chartered ABS Fellowship for his contributions to the UK business school sector.

In addition to his role at Manchester Met, James is also a member of the UK Council for International Student Affairs’ (UKCISA) Finance, Audit and Risk committee, and is a passionate advocate for the power of international education.

Dr Christine O’Dea, Senior Lecturer in Management and Technology Education, King’s College London

Dr Christine O’Dea (SFHEA) has worked in the higher education sector in the UK for over 20 years. Over the course of her academic journey, Christine has always been interested in using disruptive technology to foster an inclusive and dynamic learning environment, to engage diverse students, and to cater to various learning styles. She is active in research and her main interests include AI in education (AIED) with a particular focus on AI literacy, digital education, and digital transformation. Her academic contributions have been acknowledged (inter)nationally through publications in reputable journals (e.g., British Journal of Educational Technologies, Studies in Higher Education),  presentations at international conferences (BERA, SRHE), workshops (SRHE, QAA) invited speeches (Imperial College London, The Centre for Global Higher Education ) and publications in prestigious academic blogs (Times Higher Education, Wonkhe).

Christine is currently associate editor of two Journals - Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice; Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education. Christine has recently been awarded a grant (QAA) to work with a number of partner institutions collaboratively on a project, entitled “Supporting the ethical and equitable use of Generative AI (GenAI) for Formative and Summative Assessment: a transnational perspective

Dr Alison Purvis is an Associate Dean, Teaching and Learning at Sheffield Hallam University

Alison is recognised as a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) and a Senior Manager Member of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA). She is a Senior Editor at the Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice (JUTLP) and a director of the Open Access Publishing Association (OAPA). Alison’s research profile includes: the physiology of exercise; digital learning innovation; strategic and collaborative planning with academics and professional services; and anti-racist practice in higher education.

Dr Vangelis Tsiligkiris, Associate Professor, Nottingham Business School 

Dr. Vangelis Tsiligkiris (SFHEA, FCMI, CMBE) is an Associate Professor of International Education at Nottingham Business School (NBS), Nottingham Trent University. With 20 years of experience, he specializes in developing and managing Transnational Education (TNE) partnerships with several European universities. Vangelis is an active researcher, having published in academic journals and led more than 20 high-profile consultancy projects for renowned international organizations and governments. His expertise has informed policies and practices both in the UK and globally, engaging with countries including Greece, Vietnam, Malta, Georgia, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Pakistan, and India. Vangelis has championed global collaborative initiatives, such as the TNE IMPACT repository, which aims to capture the impact of TNE on UN SDGs. As the founder and convenor of the TNE Hub, he leads an extensive international network of over 550 researchers and practitioners from 20 countries. He also serves on the advisory boards and expert committees of notable organisations, including the International Committee of the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS) and the EdTech business accelerator, Supercharger. 

Professor Liz Warren, Professor and Faculty Head of International, Manchester Metropolitan University

Liz is a Professor of Accounting and Business Education. She is a member of the Executive Team within the Faculty of Business and Law at Manchester Met University as the Head of International. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and has the CMBE with the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABs). She has experience working with a vast range of Higher Education Institutions around the world. 

Outside of her day-to-day role, she is also on the research board for CIMA, The Chartered Association of Business School's Professional Standards board, and the United Kingdom Council for International Student affair's Finance, audit and Risk Committee.  

Dr Mazia Yassim, Head of School for Management and Marketing, University of Greenwich

Mazia is Head of School for Management and Marketing at the University of Greenwich.  She has worked to embed inclusivity in all areas of practice for both staff and students. Her research expertise is in pedagogy, inclusivity and developing socially responsible citizens through education. Mazia is part of the CABS Race Equality Action Group.  

Early Bird & Group Booking Discounts available

Members Early Bird Rates

Not sure whether your institution is a member? Full list available here.

  • One participant - £70
  • Two participants - £105
  • Three participants - £158
  • Four participants - £210
  • Five participants - £263

Group booking discount: Save 25% on each additional place.

Six to Fifteen Participants - £315 - Register up to 15 participants for the price of six!

If you are registering more than fifteen participants please contact for a Special Booking Code.

Non-members Early Bird Rates

  • One participant - £95
  • Two participants - £143
  • Three participants - £214
  • Four participants - £285

Group Booking Discount: Save 25% on each additional ticket

Non-member organisations are allowed a maximum of four tickets. If you wish to register more people please contact Afsana Shahajahan to discuss group sales and sponsorship opportunities

PMAC 2024 will offer a range of interactive, practical sessions that will explore ways that the professional services community can add value in their business schools. The conference will be of particular relevance to:

  • Senior professional services and team leaders
  • Learning & teaching support staff
  • Marketing, student recruitment and admissions staff
  • School administrators
  • Student experience and careers staff

Become a sponsor

Sponsoring PMAC 2024 is an excellent way of engaging senior professional services staff within UK business schools. If you are interested in supporting this year's event please contact Oliver Lowe.

Oliver Lowe
Director of Professional and Programme Development
Chartered Association of Business Schools & Small Business Charter
Direct: +44 (0) 207 634 9581  Main: +44 (0) 207 236 7678
Email:  Website: I

What platform will be used for PMAC Online?

The PMAC Online conference takes place via Zoom. Registered participants will receive the login details a few weeks before the event.

What if I register and then want to cancel?

If you register and decide that you cannot attend you can transfer your pass to a colleague free of charge. If you decide to cancel there may be a cancellation fee. Please refer to our Terms & Conditions for full details.

Transfers, Cancellations and full Terms & Conditions - click here