Mark Hurrell, Development Manager at Cambridge Assessment English, talks about his global role and the importance of tenacity to reach the next level of your career.
What is your role and how would you describe your typical day?
I’m an experienced business development manager in the Global Recognition Team at Cambridge Assessment English. Working within the wider Business and Marketing Team means I have a varied role which includes international account management, strategic planning and promotion.
There’s no ‘typical’ day here but yesterday I had calls with colleagues and academic institutions in New York, Dubai, Mexico and Beijing about Cambridge English qualifications, and today I’m working on a high-level review of our markets and messaging.
I have particular responsibility for Canada where higher education is our focus, but I also do a lot of work to increase our visibility with private companies who rely on our exams and qualifications as proof of English language ability to recruit good job applicants.
What opportunities are there for career progression?
There are countless opportunities for progression within The Cambridge Assessment Group, if you have the desire to learn and a healthy dose of ambition. That doesn’t mean striving for success at all costs. It means taking advantage of the myriad of development opportunities offered here and the huge range of potential roles available, which come with working at such a large, multi-disciplined organisation.
‘Ambition’ is sometimes seen as a dirty word, but it’s time that changed. With the right attitude, it’s a positive thing to be driven and to want to do good things. It’s okay to put yourself out there and say you’re interested in a new role or work area. I’ve only ever had a positive and supportive response when I have taken the responsibility to carve out my career path.
Where has your career path taken you?
As well as international travel, the organisation has provided me with many opportunities during the 10 years I’ve been here. I was on the pilot programme for Aspiring Managers, which then helped me get a new role, and I then trained to become an ILM Level 5 Accredited Coach which was seen as a positive attribute when I applied for my next promotion.
Now the organisation is funding my CIM Diploma in Professional Marketing which I’m really grateful for. These types of opportunities are open to everyone here as part of the Group Learning and Development Policy.
I’ve also found some fantastic informal mentors who have been invaluable as sounding boards and showed me how they deal with workloads and work with senior managers. I now try to provide the same support to colleagues too.
What are your future plans?
I don’t see a glass ceiling here and have no desire to leave, so I’ll keep looking two or three career steps ahead in terms of where I’d like to be in a few years’ time. I’m confident that there will always be progression opportunities but, for the moment, I’m happy and challenged in my current role within a fun and collaborative team. It’s important that you enjoy being with the people you sit next to in the office and my colleagues have become good friends.
What would your advice be to others?
- Have a plan and look to proactively build your skill-set to help get you there. Then take responsibility for making this happen – remember it’s okay to be ambitious!
- Being passionate and enthusiastic will always help, as taking that extra step to do something above what’s expected will get you noticed and respected among your peers and managers.
- Find a mentor and be a mentor to someone else. Mentoring opportunities can come along naturally if you have the right chemistry with someone or you could ask for something more formal. Learn as much as you can from these relationships and share your experience and advice with others.