The annual gathering of senior professional services staff working in, and for, UK business schools

Group Booking Discounts available

The Professional Managers' Annual Conference (PMAC) is a unique opportunity for senior professional services staff to come together to reflect on common challenges, share best practice and develop new networks.

The conference is a mix of plenary sessions, breakouts and professional development workshops.

Themes for PMAC 2024 include:

Recruiting and developing professional services teams

How business schools are adapting to the changing employment market and flows of professional services staff by evolving their approach to recruitment, professional development, and succession planning.

Delivering a positive experience for all students

How business schools are using data to build a better picture of the student journey to identify and reduce disparities in experience and outcomes; and how they are balancing the need for growth with the capacity to deliver a positive experience to all students.

Nurturing staff wellbeing

How senior professional services staff are supporting their teams and nurturing wellbeing against a backdrop of ‘doing more with less’; and how business schools can nurture a sense of community and belonging for staff.

Leading through change

How senior professional services staff can confidently lead and support teams through periods of change; and how to work effectively with Deans and senior leadership teams in the business school and in the centre.

Embracing AI as an opportunity and a tool

How business schools can use generative AI as a tool to redesign systems and improve efficiency; and how professional services can contribute to improving the AI literacy of staff and students.

The in-person conference taking place on 27 February is complemented by the online event which will take place on 18 April. The online conference is designed to support the development of professional services teams at all levels through interactive and practical workshops and discussions.

08:50 - 09:30 

Registration and refreshments

09:30 - 09:40

Welcome address

09:40 - 10:05

Keynote address

10:05 - 11:00 

Delivering positive student outcomes in challenging times

In this opening session, a high-level panel will explore the twin priorities, and the tensions that can exist between them, of driving income growth through student enrolments; and supporting the progression and attainment of all students. Attention will be given to how funding models might adapt to reflect the challenges facing UK universities; and about the role that professional services staff play in enabling business school strategy.

11:00 - 11:30


11:30 - 12:30

Breakout sessions

Student recruitment: trends and future planning

In this session, we discuss current and future trends in student recruitment, particularly of undergraduate and international students. Our panel will share their approach to future planning based on these trends, and how they see student recruitment contributing to universities’ income in the future. 

Navigating university reorganisations and restructurings 

In this session, we will explore how professional services staff are affected by reorganisations and restructurings within universities, which create ‘flows’ of  staff to and from central university teams and schools, department and faculties. A panel will discuss why universities undergo such restructurings, and how to approach their implications and challenges for professional services staff. 

Fostering support for managers

This session will address the specific challenges faced by managers, who typically act as a buffer between senior leadership and staff. Faced with increasing financial pressures, managers are often stretched between finding ways to 'do more with less' and preserving their teams' morale and wellbeing. The panel will discuss how to effectively support this group and ensure their own wellbeing at work.  

Nurturing the professional development of business school professional services staff

This session will address the main barriers to professional development provision for staff, from resourcing and budget allocation, to individual motivation. With increasing financial pressure, we will explore how senior professional services staff can make the case for their team's development, unlock budget, and encourage their teams to upskill. 

12:30 - 13:30


13:30 - 13:40

Afternoon opening remarks

13:40 - 14:05

Keynote speech

14:05 - 15:00

Staff recruitment: Getting the right person for the right role

This session will address how senior professional services staff can adapt their recruitment strategies to ensure they attract and secure the right profiles, in light of the recent evolutions in the employment market and business school context. The panel will consider what 'good recruitment' looks like, which processes can be put in place or updated to support recruitment, and how to attract quality candidates.  

15:00 - 15:30


15:30 - 16:30

Breakout sessions

Creating learning environments that cater to diverse student needs

Business school student cohorts are typically very diverse (origin, age, etc.), leading to a wide disparity in student needs, wants and experience. In this session, we consider how best to cater to a broad range of student profiles and foster more inclusive schools, and how this translates into positive student outcomes and supports a business school’s NSS scores.  

Doing more with less: Using emerging technologies to increase efficiency

This session will explore how emerging technologies, including AI, can be used to improve staff efficiency against a backdrop of 'doing more with less'. The panel will share examples of redesigning, transforming and/or automating processes using new technologies, and will consider how to manage the opportunities and challenges that these changes create for their teams. 

Creating communities: Fostering a sense of belonging in staff

This session will explore the role communities play in cultivating supportive and inclusive working environments and promoting staff wellbeing. The panel will discuss how to foster a sense of belonging in staff, and will consider strategies to balance the need for community building with the demands of hybrid and remote working. 

Leading through change: Supporting teams in challenging times

In this session, we discuss how senior professional services staff can best support their teams as the business school landscape undergoes important changes. The panel will consider the impact of change and increasing financial constraints on teams' morale and wellbeing, and will share best practice on leading through these changes to come out on top. 


Conference close

Participants have the option of joining the dinner organised the evening before the conference, on 26 February. This is a great opportunity to connect with fellow senior professional services staff in an informal setting.

The details of the venue will be provided soon.

Early Bird Discount expires 16 January

Bring your colleagues and save 20% on each additional ticket!


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

  • Full conference with Dinner - £345
  • Full conference without Dinner - £275
  • Two participants for full conference with Dinner - £630 (save 20% on the second place)
  • Two participants for full conference without Dinner - £495 (save 20% on the second place)
  • For groups of 3 or more participants or for bespoke combinations of tickets please contact for a quote.


Universities, public sector, commercial

  • Full conference with Dinner - £449
  • Full conference without Dinner - £358
  • Two participants for full conference with Dinner - £808 (save 20% on the second place)
  • Two participants for full conference without Dinner - £644 (save 20% on the second place)

Important: Non-member organisations are are allowed a maximum of two tickets. If you wish to bring more people to the conference please contact Oliver Lowe to discuss sponsorship opportunities

Transfers, Cancellations and full Terms & Conditions - click here

This years’ conference takes place at:

The Great Hall at the Sutherland Building
Northumbria University Newcastle
Ellison Pl
Newcastle upon Tyne

Click for directions

If you have any operational queries then please contact

Participants are responsible for making their own accommodation arrangements.

Here are some options of nearby hotels:

Holiday Inn Newcastle – Jesmond
Jesmond Rd, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 1PR

Premier Inn Newcastle City Centre (The Gate) Hotel
95 Newgate St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 5RF

Staybridge Suites Newcastle, an IHG Hotel
Buxton St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6NL

Travelodge Newcastle Central
Forster St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2NH