Meet Dr Emma Williams, Lecturer in Marketing and Consumer Behaviour, School of Economics, Finance and Management.
Tell us about your journey into academia…
When I was a student at university studying psychology, I never planned to be a university lecturer. Instead, I’ve taken a more roundabout journey in my career so far, following opportunities that arose and things that I was interested in, and here I am!
I’ve worked in many places, including hospital settings, Special Educational Needs contexts, and in behavioural and social science research roles in both the public and private sectors. In 2015, I decided to return to academia so that I could develop more specialist expertise, undertaking research to explore how people behave online, specifically how we can empower consumers and organisations to be more secure in online and digital contexts.
Last year, I became Programme Director for the MSc Marketing in our School of Management and have hugely enjoyed interacting with our marketing students this year, watching them grow in confidence, challenge their preconceptions and develop their interests and knowledge in relation to contemporary marketing.
What’s your favourite thing about teaching on postgraduate taught programmes at Bristol?
I love interacting with our students, discussing their ideas and critiques, exploring what they think about the various areas that we teach and how they consider this to apply to the challenges of marketing practice.
Within the programme, we very much focus on developing a critical view in students, understanding the ethical implications of marketing practice, as well as current global issues that marketers face, such as sustainability, social impact, and the responsible use of big data and other innovative technologies. In this way, we try and prepare students for the challenges that contemporary marketers may face in the future. This is something that we aim to continually develop on the programme, based on student feedback and emerging research, to identify the best ways that we can engage students and develop a supportive and friendly learning environment where they can work both with others, and with us, to learn about contemporary marketing.
Within the school, we also try and provide students with as many links to industry sectors as possible via visiting speakers and the opportunity to undertake an Applied Extended Project in collaboration with an organisational partner.
What’s your number one top tip for prospective postgraduates?
My top tip has to be: be open to exploring different interests, ideas and concepts throughout your postgraduate journey.
I was once told to constantly reflect on what it is you actually want to do with your life. Postgraduate study provides a unique opportunity where you’ll have the time and space to read a range of material, be encouraged to challenge and consider different views and experiences, and really explore what it is that you’re interested in and what kind of future you want to pursue. This is time that is often missing when we move into a full-time job! Within the MSc, we provide students with a number of opportunities to critically consider a range of different topics in relation to contemporary marketing practice and students are often surprised about what areas they actually find the most interesting. So, be open to the experience, curious about your interests, and ready to challenge your expectations…!