Norin Arshed is a Professor of Entrepreneurship with a background as an economist (her undergraduate degree is in Economics and Sociology, and her postgraduate degree is in Marketing) and she joined the School of Business in 2017. As a direct result of her work in women’s enterprise, Norin was appointed as an Independent Government Advisor to the Scottish Government’s Minister of Business, Fair Skills and Work in April 2019. She has also recently been awarded a Scottish Parliament Fellowship to undertake a Scotland-wide research project on how women entrepreneurs are coping in the pandemic.
What does your job involve, what do you do at work? I am an active researcher and teacher. My job mainly involves ensuring I research the areas I love (enterprise policy, policy process, entrepreneurship and SMEs) and I also teach two great PG modules that I created, one is theoretical (all about entrepreneurship) and the other is a practical module where students set up and run their business for 10 weeks – and they have to make a profit!
I also work with the Scottish Government and the UK Government advising on enterprise policy and entrepreneurship. I advise on women’s enterprise policy. I am also a Scottish Parliament Fellow and hold external roles with numerous UK bodies as well as a Research Director role with the think tank London 89Initiative (London School of Economics).
How does the University of Dundee equip you for your work? The support from my academic and professional colleagues has been phenomenal since I joined the University three years ago. Everyone here is very friendly and are always on hand to collaborate, have coffee with and generally be supportive of my work.
What gives you satisfaction in your work? Students leaving my classes happy and coming back for more! Seeing my name in black and white when my hard work pays off, when a research article is published. Governments calling me to help advise or support them in the policy arena. Supporting the early career researchers in the Business School and in the wider University. Lots of things give me satisfaction in my job!
What challenges do you face and how do you deal with them? The time pressures and the different roles us academics need to do – teaching, research, impact, knowledge exchange, administration, etc. It’s a balancing act but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t feel passionate about my work. My time management skills have been fantastic since lockdown – I have really learned how to juggle work and family life without ever leaving the house!
Tell us the best thing about your work? My colleagues – I think without good colleagues work can be hard and lonely.
And the hardest? Never stopping!
WORKING DURING A PANDEMIC
How has the pandemic affected what you do? It’s helped me to manage my time and in some ways it has increased my productivity.
Have you found things more or less effective in the job that you do? I have found that I manage to do a lot more in less time as I no longer need to travel and I can juggle my work and family life without having to leave home.
Has there been a particular support to you during this time? My family and friends have been fantastic – I come from a very big family, so they are always there willing and ready to help.
Is there anything new within the current situation that you hope will continue? I hope there is some flexibility on working from home and coming into the office rather than having to be in the office all the time.
And is there anything particular you’ve missed? I do hope to see teaching becoming full-time face-to-face again because I miss the students in real life. Online is so very different.
What do you like most about Dundee uni? That it’s based on Perth Road with lots of great places to eat and meet. There are lovely green spaces all round the campus to sit outside when the sun shines, and the views of the river – gorgeous!
Any tips for current students? The University of Dundee is a fantastic place to study, socialise and do all the things you love. And don’t be shy in asking academics and professional staff for support, guidance or anything that will help you in any way.
Favourite spot on campus? My office! It is in the basement and I love it – I have lots of pictures on the wall and it feels like my second home.
How would you describe the University to someone who doesn’t know it? It’s a great university with lots of friendly people set in a beautiful city. Although I am Glaswegian and live in Glasgow, Dundee is one of my favourites cities.
What do you do outside of your work? I’m a family girl and a bit of a house hermit. So, I love being around family and nothing beats a good night in – that tells you I am getting old!
Tell us something we don’t know about you? I have a forklift licence.
Who would you invite to a dinner party? My family! Nobody famous or dead just my lovely family because they understand my little quirks and eccentricities.
Why Dundee? Why not? Dundee has everything that a big city can offer and is much more friendly.