Smart Thinking with The Brain Exchange

Cass Business School News , , , , .

jeanetteJeanette Purcell is a Cass MBA alumna, graduating with a Distinction in 2001, and Managing Director of The Brain Exchange, an invitation-only problem-solving network for business professionals. She is also Managing Director of Jeanette Purcell Associates, a leadership and responsible management consultancy and a guest lecturer for Cass MBA and MSc programmes in London and Dubai. Previously she was the Chief Executive of the Association of MBAs (AMBA). She sat down for a quick chat about how The Brain Exchange came about, the problems facing leadership today, and cheese.

Tell me about your Cass MBA experience!

“Doing the MBA was an intense year where all other life interests had to fall by the wayside. I really threw myself into it, especially the group work. In fact, getting involved with the group was the key, making sure that it was harmonious and productive. We spent a lot of time together. All in all it was a life-changing experience – a brilliant thing to do in terms of all-round business knowledge, expanding my network and gaining inner confidence. It’s also much easier to exude that confidence in job applications when you can say you have an MBA from Cass.”

Do you participate in Alumni events?

“I have my own alumni network from my MBA and I have quite a few students that I keep in touch with from my guest lectures – in fact, one of them is now a client! I also go along to as many of the alumni events as I can.”

What gave you the idea for The Brain Exchange?

“When I moved on from my role as Chief Executive of the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and into consultancy work, I realised very quickly that I was missing having a team around me to bounce ideas off and to help with creative problem solving. Most people decide things by talking them through with people they trust and respect, and this is what The Brain Exchange does for people without that inbuilt work team. It provides a business person with a forum to discuss business problems.

“With a colleague I set up a trial event, inviting 10 business people from different walks of life, including accounting, architecture and journalism. At each Brain Exchange, one person takes the hotseat, putting their issue to the group. There is then a moderated discussion for an hour, sticking to specific ground rules, and at the end of the hour the person in the hotseat should have ideas, potential solutions and actions to go away with.

Of those initial 10 people, each invited 10 more each, and The Brain Exchange flourished, holding one event per month since October 2013. It’s just been launched as a limited company, separate from my consultancy business. From September 2015 there will be an increase in the number of events, and the Brain Exchange idea is also spreading to organisations, for example the event at Cass, and to a charity which has members that will benefit from this forum.”

What is the biggest leadership challenge for companies today?

“My immediate reaction to this question is change management. It used to be that companies could go through a programme of change and then settle into the same business practices for years at a time. Now change is constant and significant. Companies need to be flexible and adaptable to the changing environment and to new technologies, to stay on top of the developments, and most importantly of all, bring their staff with them as the change happens.”

What is your most rewarding experience?

“Apart from doing an MBA? For me, rewards at work come from a feeling that you have accomplished something and that there is a noticeable impact from that change. As an example, when I was at AMBA I had a clear mandate for change and a huge challenge to go along with that. My goals included a strategic review, a desire to change the organisation’s priorities, and the wish to expand accreditation internationally. I achieved complete success in all three of these areas. Looking back on such a gruelling, difficult and controversial time, I’m happy to be able to say “blimey, we did that!” – and that’s the reward.”

Finally – it’s the quick-fire question round!

Favourite place in London: “Greenwich Park – it’s right by my house!”

Favourite place in Dubai: “The Old Town – it’s got a lovely marketplace and feels authentic.”

Must-check-everyday Website: “BBC News….or ebay!”

Dream travel destination: “Australia.”

Cheese or chocolate: “Can I pick cheesy chocolate – is that a thing?”

If you want to see The Brain Exchange in action it’s happening at Cass Business School, Bunhill Row on 14th July 2015. Price is £5. Click here for more details and to book your ticket.

Focus on #citylis Alumni: Kathryn Drumm

Arts and Social Sciences News.

Kathryn-Drumm-1b7fd6jPosted on 14/05/2015 to by Ernesto Priego – part of “Focus on Alumni”, a series of blog posts written by #citylis alumni.

This post is by #citylis alumna Kathryn Drumm, Graduate Librarian Trainee at City University Library.

“I am currently eight months through a year’s graduate traineeship at City University Library. I had embarked on my MSc in Information Science at City after nearly 20 years in the broadcast industry but with no previous experience of the traditional sphere of libraries. Having seen the role advertised via the Jobs, Opportunities and Internships message board on the #citylis Moodle, I was keen to put the theory from the course into practice. I applied thinking that at the very least it would give me some valuable interview experience and was delighted when I was offered the post.

I spent the first six months in the library at Cass Business School. This is a much smaller site than Northampton Square. As such, it was a great introduction to library work as I did a little bit of everything – working on the front desk and helping with student enquiries, adding and withdrawing stock, processing memberships, collecting and collating statistics and helping out with promotions.

Having been a student at City was an advantage, as I was already familiar with using the library catalogue, Moodle and RefWorks. Answering queries from students is definitely easier if you have just been one. But there was a lot of “behind the scenes” processes that I wasn’t aware of as a student to learn about, as well as getting to grips with the range of financial databases available.

Of course there are the kinds of skills you can only pick up on the job, such as unjamming the printer and fixing the stapler!

After my six months at Cass, I have now moved to the main site in Northampton Square and am part of the digitisation and copyright team. At present, we are part of the way through a major project to copyright check PhD theses so that they can be digitised and made available via the British Library EThOS website and City Research Online.

I had started the course thinking that I would aim to find a position within industry, however my time here in the library has persuaded me that academic libraries may be my niche and I hope that at the end of my year here I can move on to a similar permanent position.”

Kathryn is on Twitter @dourgirl and City University Library @CityUniLibrary.

City Doctoral Student Publishes First Book on Horticultural Therapy in the UK

Arts and Social Sciences News.

Author Photo Outside Karnac Bookshop“Working with veterans really ignited my interest in trauma”, says Joanna Wise, author of the recently published ‘Digging for Victory: Horticultural Therapy with Veterans for Post-Traumatic Growth’, “and the Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology here at City has allowed me to develop this interest both clinically and as the subject of my research”.

“Through the Doctoral programme I’ve had access to cutting edge research on the neuroscience of trauma, and I’ve been supported to put this new knowledge into practice and increase my confidence and expertise with a variety of relevant clinical placements with a broad range of client groups”.

“I chose Counselling Psychology, and City University in particular, to further my career as they are sufficiently confident and forward looking to support diverse views and encourage the exploration of what might constitute effective, accessible, mental health care for hard-to-reach client groups such as veterans. My doctoral research here will follow on from the evidence base I set out in my book: I’ll be flying out to Belfast next week to visit a PHA-funded Horticultural Therapy project that is piloting a combination of mindfulness and nature-based methods to improve the mental and physical well-being of veterans with PTSD. This is a really exciting time to be involved in research that explores effective ways of helping people cope with trauma, and I couldn’t do this without the support and expertise of the Department of Psychology and the facilities available here at City.”

“If readers are interested in the work I am doing on Horticultural Therapy with veterans, please visit Karnac Books.

See your future in health care? Start here

Health Sciences News, New Courses and Scholarships.

HealthCity’s School of Health Sciences offers a range of Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) degree courses for alumni who have a first degree from a subject non-related to healthcare, but wish to work in the healthcare sector.

Our PG Dip courses are funded by the NHS for home students and on successful graduation students gain registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), providing an internationally recognised professional qualification, allowing them to work in the healthcare sector in the UK and overseas.

Find out more about our courses:

Postgraduate Diploma Nursing / Adult

Postgraduate Diploma Nursing / Child

Postgraduate Diploma Nursing / Mental Health

Apply Now

We have limited places available to study on our PG Dip courses this September, so if this sounds like the next step for you, check out our course pages and apply through UCAS undergraduate today.

For further information on all our courses please contact our Admissions Team via phone 020 7040 5000 or email