Sam B.

Timetabling Manager
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Sam B.
Management, IT and Language
United Kingdom

My employment

Timetabling Manager
University of York
United Kingdom
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Timetabling Manager in the United Kingdom

Manager working in Higher Education with a Trustee role at a national professional body.

How I looked for work

A friend encouraged me to apply for a role at the University; the roles are usually open to anyone to apply for via the website and are often advertised on The application forms can take a while to fill in, but they're worth spending the time on!

How I found out about the job

Personal contacts

The recruitment process

I applied for a role in 2010 via a job advertised on the University website. The application forms are filtered down to a shortlist and there's typically an interview, skills test and presentation over an hour or so with a panel of 2 or 3.

My career goals when I graduated

I didn't have a solid career plan when I graduated; I stumbled into higher education really, but quickly decided it was where I wanted to be and I have an aspiration to continue moving up the ranks.

My career history

After graduating, I spent a couple of years in retail management before moving back to the University. I came in as a Timetabling Assistant, before a role managing operations in Accommodation Services and a timetabling project management role. I moved into my current role in June 2014.

What has helped my career to progress

I've built a large network of colleagues both within and outside the University who help me get things done. My work with the AUA, and professional qualification, have taught me a lot more about the sector and this broad understanding of HE has really helped me progress.
I've taken risks, and put extra effort in to help me reach my goals. I try to self reflect and ask others how I can improve in key areas.

Courses taken since graduation

I completed a PGCert in Higher Education Management in 2014. Additionally I've qualified as a workplace mediator with ILM, and completed the University's Leadership in Action programme to help improve my leadership skills.

How my studies have helped my career

Studying at York gave me some understanding of the sector (and certainly of the University) which has helped in this role. The links my course taught me between business management and the use of IT systems has been helpful too.
My PGCert, which I studied for part-time, gave me much deeper insight into how things work across the sector and this has been invaluable.

What surprised me about my career so far

The sector has changed hugely even over the past five years, and it's great to have been part of that transformation. I never expected to be at Board level in a large professional organisation like the AUA within four years of entering the sector - it's incredibly engaging and rewarding.

Where I hope to be in 5 years

I'd like to be in a senior role heading up a whole department or leading major projects. Beyond then, who knows?

My advice to students considering work

Your university degree here is valuable and you should consider how you can apply learning to your industry. However, what you learn around the taught content of your degree is just as important: how do you manage and interact with people? How do you organise yourself? How do your innate personal strengths help you in the workplace?
Be prepared to start at the bottom - a degree doesn't grant you access to senior level jobs. If you deserve to, you'll quickly progress.

My advice about working in my industry

You'll need to be collegiate and helpful, but still driven and ambitious, to really make a difference in the sector. There's lots of opportunities to learn and grow, and I'd recommend taking as many of these as possible.

Contacting me

I'm particularly keen to mentor any students who'd like to consider careers in the higher education sector, but I'm more than happy to help anyone who feels I could offer them something.

What I do

I am a Timetabling Manager at the University of York. I manage the team responsible for producing and maintaining the timetable for the Sciences faculty. I also support the Head of Space Management with general space-related work.

Alongside my main role, I am a College Fellow for Halifax College, and a University workplace mediator. I also volunteer with the Association of University Administrators, where I am a Trustee and also look after members throughout Yorkshire and the North East.

Skills I use and how I developed them

Organisation and planning
Staff management, development, and coaching
Strategic planning
Budget management
Customer service
Negotiation and relationship building
Project management

What I like most

The chance to make a practical difference to the lives of students at the University and allow our academics to deliver world class teaching.

What I like least

It can take longer to get things done than I would like; the downside to working in such a collegiate, friendly university where decisions are consulted on is that this builds in delays.

What surprised me most

How much resource the University has to put into timetabling and space management; it's a large back office team and critical to keep things running, but as a student I didn't realise the job even existed!

Next steps...

If you like the look of Sam’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Sam a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Sam to be your mentor.

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