Aston University uses account management to develop strategic relationships

Aston University uses account management to develop strategic relationships

Aston Intro SoRAston has always been an applied University delivering exploitable research, employable graduates.

To take our relationships to the next level, the University has an innovative approach to employer engagement.

An account management project with key organisations has been developed. It identifies engagement as a crucial factor, ensuring the University is responsive to organisational needs. The concept creates impactful collaborations with organisations, leveraging value out of the relationships for both parties.

Key accounts have been identified that have multiple touch points with the University, the project features small, large, public, private, local, national and international organisations. Each account has a dedicated account manager, selected to be a contact point for the organisation and act as an internal conduit for members of the University. Together the company and University have mapped opportunities to work in partnership, putting business needs at the centre of the relationship.

This approach has been particularly successful with the BMW Group. Our account management ethos has developed a strategic relationship of importance to both the University and the company and is responsive to the business.

Martin Barker, Talent Management, BMW Group said:

"Engaging with Aston has enabled us to secure student and graduate talent in a seamless and efficient manner. It's also had follow on benefits of being able to develop research relationships with one of the leading Schools of Engineering in the UK. We are excited to see where the relationship will go next."

BMW recognise the benefits of early engagement and talent spotting. They are keen to be ahead of the game and support students so have developed a unique programme, BMW StartUp which includes: sponsorship, personal development, a mentor, a paid summer placement at the BMW UK Headquarters or MINI Plant, and the potential for a 12 month placement. The account management approach has grown these opportunities with 12 places available to Engineering and Business students this year.

Account Management is also facilitating research with sponsored PhD opportunities within the School of Engineering. The strategic partnership will extend talent development beyond placements and graduates covering PhD students and Master's thesis for the first time.

Aston was the first University in the world to embed climate change into its programmes through activities during Carbon Week. BMW played a key role in Carbon Week displaying two cars on campus. The BMW recruitment team were on hand to discuss career opportunities with students and provide guidance on being successful. Some of BMW's leading engineers explained the technology behind the cars on display.

The next stage of the collaboration is a project to measure the impact on numbers of student and graduate applications and the success levels.

"Aston University is delighted to work closely with BMW to support their needs.  The account management approach has seen the partnership go from strength to strength. Businesses tell us they find Universities difficult to navigate, our unique approach offers a single point of contact, putting business needs first." Professor Helen Higson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

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