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Ian Adams

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Ian Adams graduated from the University of Bradford’s School of Management in 2002, with a Distinction in his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). This spring-boarded a broad career in communications, at the BBC, BECTA, The Pensions Regulator, and now promoting patient safety in the NHS as a Director of NHS Resolution (the legal arm of the health service).

Alongside his incredibly successful senior career in communications, Ian has also served as a high-profile Councillor for Westminster City Council, became the first openly gay Lord Mayor of Westminster, and has worked tirelessly as a social inclusion and equalities advocate and LGBTQ+ role model.

This is Ian’s story.

“I loved returning to formal study in my early 30s.”

"I was lucky enough to secure a place on a BBC-funded MBA at Bradford. It was, and still is, one of highest ranked executive MBA programmes globally.

"The BBC was my employer at the time, and had a partnership with the University of Bradford. It meant I could continue to work and earn a salary while studying – I used to go into my office at BBC Television Centre when it was quiet on a weekend to do my MBA work.

"I found the experience of studying highly immersive. I was exposed to topics that I’d never before had the opportunity to get up close to, such as finance, marketing and operations management. All three areas have featured highly in my professional life since then."

“After my MBA, I left the BBC to take up an Executive Director role at BECTA.

"At BECTA, I helped roll out new technology to all state schools and colleges in England, as part of a national schools’ modernisation programme. It remains one of my career highlights.

"I was the Executive Director for Marketing and Partnerships, and that role helped to cement my senior career within the communications field at a national level, something I continue to do today for the NHS."

My MBA from Bradford has genuinely contributed to my personal social mobility.

“I’m proud of the work I’ve done.”

"I’ve worked on some important projects during my time as an equalities advocate, providing safer services for homeless people, for example; at the time, one in four young adults sleeping rough on the streets of Westminster self-identified as LGBTQ+, so I introduced specialist training for the council’s frontline housing support staff, to give them the understanding to have meaningful and respectful conversations with LGBTQ+ people presenting as homeless.

"I also pioneered a community volunteer outreach service called Soho Angels, involving hundreds of volunteers who were trained by the LGBT Foundation in techniques to engage with visitors to Soho, which has a high number of LGBTQ+ bars and clubs.  The scheme diverted people away from unnecessary ambulance call-outs. 

"And when I headed up London Pride in 2017, I recall meeting some younger members of the LGBTQ+ community there who told me they regarded me as a role model. It was feedback like that that made me want to use my position more consciously, and to promote inclusion and understanding on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community."

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“There are many challenges affecting social inclusion and equality today.”

"From a UK perspective, the cost of living crisis is likely to worsen social inclusion over the medium term; there will be reduced opportunities to study or progress in careers due to the deteriorating economic situation; and I’m fearful of the potential negative impact arising from social media, through a lack of proper dialogue and understanding. It’s essential for people with different viewpoints to come together constructively to engage, share ideas, evidence and lived experience."

“I’m passionate about social inclusion and promoting equality for all.”

"It’s a core purpose that runs throughout my career in communications, and in my political work and voluntary roles in the community.

"It’s been a great honour to be named as an LGBTQ+ role model, be awarded Freedom of the City of London in 2018 for public service, and work on some really enriching, life-altering charity and community projects during my life so far, and I’m very conscious of the privilege that my seniority and profile represent, both in work and outside of work."

Profile shot of Ian Adams, Director of Membership and Stakeholder Engagement at NHS Resolution

“I share my lived experience and advocacy to fight for change.”

"I’ve been openly gay throughout my career but I know a lot of workers aren’t as fortunate. Many graduates go back into the closet when they enter the workplace, after being supported to be themselves at university. Employers need to work harder.

"I want to expend the currency of the roles I occupy, both at work and in the community, to help advance social mobility, and I see promoting inclusion as a key element of this, which I personally do represent. 

"I don’t have all the answers, but I am a strong advocate for encouraging engagement and building connections between members of different communities. And I will continue to try to drive positive changes in the world, especially for excluded members of society."

Find out more about MBAs at Bradford.

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Watch our interview with Ian Adams

Ian Adams is an MBA graduate from the University of Bradford. He is now a Director of Membership and Stakeholder Engagement at NHS Resolution. In this interview, Ian shares the story of his career journey and work to further social inclusion and equality.