Portrait of Oliver Mansell

Oliver Mansell

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I completed a BA in English and Sociology and an MA in Twentieth Century Literature at the University of Leeds.

After spending some time in customer banking (mainly as a credit counsellor) and in public sector audit, I re-joined the University as a Governance and Corporate Affairs Officer. My chief responsibilities involved servicing two key governing committees of the University, as well as investigating and resolving formal student complaints.

I later became a School Manager for the University, and am now a Policy and Project Manager for NHS England.

What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?

In my job I frequently find that I'm called upon to make judgement calls after having had to weigh a set of competing claims or arguments. I think this course will help me to think more clearly about these types of issues, and I hope it will enable me to come to more decisive conclusions in this regard and defend them well.

I'm also inherently interested in the subject matter: I enjoy the fact that in philosophy there are no easy answers, and that it deals with fundamental questions which affect everyone.

How would you describe your experience of studying at Leeds?

The best thing about the course was the fact that it balanced intellectual rigour with a teaching style that was accessible. I also appreciated having the chance to interact with fellow students from a wide variety of backgrounds, who were based in different countries.

As someone with no prior experience in philosophy, it was good to enrol on a course that was wide in scope while also remaining cohesive in its aims; it drew on both ancient philosophy and contemporary theories of management, for instance, and I liked the fact that neither was emphasised more than the other.

The course has given me a much broader perspective on what it means in practice to manage (or lead) in an ethical and responsible manner, and I have been able to draw on these insights in my professional life.

More generally, the process of contributing to discussion online – and the need to keep initial answers brief! – has helped me to summarise complex discussions (for example in formal Minutes) much more succinctly and concisely, and this was a positive development picked up on by colleagues and managers.