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Debbie Hughes - Subject Area Manager, Accounting

Tell us a bit about the journey to your current role at LBS…

I’ve been at LBS for 15 years, and have been in my current role as Subject Area Manager in Accounting for all of that time. My role has certainly developed in that time, however, and grown significantly in response to developments within the School’s degree programmes, procedures and technology.

Prior to joining LBS I worked within the higher education sector, firstly at St Mary’s Hospital then at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and Imperial College respectively. At St Mary's I worked with junior surgeons – arranging and coordinating courses in basic surgical skills – before working in more of a programme manager role at QMUL and Imperial, interacting on a daily basis with students and faculty.

Can you tell us more about your job role, and take us through a typical day?

There really is no such thing as a typical day! At any one time I can be arranging campus visits for faculty recruitment interviews, organising our annual Symposium, managing our weekly seminar series, planning next year’s teaching and working with my team to ensure that faculty in our area is well supported in their teaching.

I may also need to find an office for a visitor, work out the best way to pay a research assistant, and co-ordinate the department Christmas lunch!  Although the work is largely cyclical, it varies sufficiently year-on-year to keep it interesting and to ensure there’s always a challenge to work on.

What part of the role do you enjoy most?

I really enjoy having a close working relationship with our faculty and PhD students, and feeling that my skills make a real difference to how the subject area operates.

I also thoroughly enjoy organising and overseeing our annual Accounting Symposium. I’ve been doing this for so many years now that the regular participants know me very well, and it always feels like a big family reunion when I see them each year. It’s always a great couple of days and I get a lot of positive feedback and compliments, which always gives me a buzz and a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.

I’m lucky to have a fantastic team of faculty assistants who are all incredibly hard-working and capable, so I always feel that the department is in safe hands even if I’m not around.

What has been the highlight of your time at LBS?

That would probably be organising and running the prestigious Review of Accounting Studies (RAST) conference which we hosted in 2015.

RAST is one of four top-tier accounting journals where our faculty are expected to publish their research, and it’s a big deal as an accounting academic to be invited to the conference. I managed all aspects of the organisation – liaising with the journal’s editor, arranging dinners both on and off campus and organising a tour of the Houses of Parliament as a social event. I also looked after all administrative aspects of the conference, and made sure that everything ran smoothly over the two days.

It was a lot of work but really satisfying when everything operated like clockwork.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Don’t make excuses, make time. If you want something enough, you will find a way to make it happen.

Which five celebrities would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Sir David Attenborough, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Paula Radcliffe, Chris Froome and Barack Obama.

I’m fascinated with survival and endurance – in life and in sport – as well as the power of the human mind over body and the adaptations that species make over time to ensure their continuation.

Tell us something surprising about yourself…

I've run 12 marathons to date, with all but two in under 3 hours and 45 minutes.

I plan to keep on running them until I’m too slow to qualify for an automatic Good for Age entry into the London marathon. I’m also considering branching out into ultra running, which covers anything over marathon distance. This year I ran the Paris, Brighton and London marathons over three consecutive weekends, and raised over £2K for the NSPCC - a charity which does a lot of incredible work around protecting children.

When I’m not running marathons, I run a youth football team and feel really strongly about safeguarding.