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July 2021

James Tyrrell

James Tyrrell

BA (Hons) Business Administration 2002

1. Tell us about yourself

I grew up and attended school locally, and now live in Chelmsford with my wife and daughter.

I read a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration at Anglia Ruskin University when it was known as Anglia Polytechnic University back in 1999, graduating in 2002. Following a few years working as an HR Officer for a local company, I joined the British Transport Police as a Police Constable and was initially stationed at London Liverpool Street. I enjoyed working with people and the excitement and career diversity of policing attracted me to the role.

During my career, I progressed through the various promotion exams and board processes, eventually reaching the senior rank of T/Chief Inspector. I had a wide and varied career in the police service working across London and Essex. My last posting was as a Force Incident Manager and Tactical Firearms Commander before deciding to leave policing in 2018 for career advancement reasons.

I am now a Senior Network Delivery Manager for Network Rail, covering the South East. My current role is to assume strategic command of the railway as a Rail Incident Commander (Strategic/Gold Command) during significant incidents and direct all decisions and the operational response until the incidents are resolved.

Outside of work, I am actively involved in local politics (something I couldn’t do while serving in the police), community volunteering and charity work.

2. What is your fondest memory of Anglia Ruskin University?

Attending Marketing lectures with the energetic (and sometimes unpredictable!) Ray Wright. His lectures were always so energetic, and his passion for the subject he taught was infectious. He took the term lecture ‘theatre’ quite literally and always put on an impressive performance. Wonderful!

3. What has been your favourite job?

Not a job per se, but a function within a job – I loved being a Police Public Order Commander, policing large scale events and protests. Each deployment presented unique challenges as a leader. The mental demand of having to problem solve and develop fast-time solutions, whilst operating under extreme pressure was often exhilarating.

4. In one word, how would you describe Anglia Ruskin University?

Captivating. Being surrounded by lecturers and subject matter experts who were so passionate about what they were teaching was captivating.

5. How did your time at ARU help you?

Anglia Ruskin University gave me a solid foundation to build upon and various tools to take into the workplace to carve out a successful career.

6. What did you love about your chosen course?

The broad range of topics within the degree syllabus.

7. What advice would you give to current students as they’re preparing to graduate?

The workplace can be challenging, overwhelming and competitive at times. Find a good mentor or coach and work with them to help build on your university foundation and navigate your way forward to achieving your goals.

But… and there is always a but…. when you can, remember to give something back. Leave the ladder down for others to climb and strive to become an inspiration to the next generation following in YOUR footsteps.

8. What do you know now that you wish you had known whilst studying?

I wish I had known more about further higher education at the time. Once you enter the workplace, get a mortgage and start a family the dynamic changes – the required time and investment to study further can often be a big obstacle to negotiate.

9. Who was the biggest influence on your career?

My first Police Sergeant. Despite being incredibly busy he would always find time to mentor, listen and guide me. I worked with him over many years in different roles and ranks and learnt a lot about leadership from him. He was always there in my corner if I needed him. People like that are special and don’t come along too often.

10. What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t get comfortable. If you want to keep growing academically, professionally or personally you need to step outside of your comfort zone. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

11. Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.

Today most people know me as being rather extroverted and relishing any opportunity to engage in public speaking – in fact, in recent years I have delivered numerous after dinner talks and speeches to audiences of several hundred people.

However, what most people don’t know is that when I was at secondary school, I was very introverted and struggled to even read out aloud in front of the class – anxiety would, quite literally, render me speechless. Anglia Ruskin University and my subsequent career helped me find my voice – and the rest, as they say, is history!

12. What’s next?

Now my daughter is a little older, my current goal is to embark upon an MBA programme – both to refresh my academic knowledge and equip me for further career advancement into Director / Executive level.