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Michelle Pepin - Directorate Policy Manager

From lecturing and PhD supervision to international secondments – we’ve given Michelle the variety and opportunities to thrive.

Michelle Pepin
There’s variety, and there’s challenge. No two days are the same. Today, I’ve got this fantastic view of the University and the whole HE sector: a view that’s bigger and far wider than the one I started out with, when I first arrived
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Michelle Pepin sitting at desk

I genuinely believe I’ve got the best job at the University.

There’s variety, and there’s challenge. No two days are the same. Today, I’ve got this fantastic view of the University and the whole HE sector: a view that’s bigger and far wider than the one I started out with, when I first arrived.

And best of all, I’m near an airport, which means I’m also near skiing. I’m from South Africa, and that’s pretty much the main reason I left in the first place!

I have this weird thing where I set myself five-year targets. Back home, I decided that by the time I was 40, I wanted to be living in another country. And I do mean living; not just holidaying. A job, a house, a car – a proper life. I then decided that by the time I was 45, I had to have my PhD. It was non-negotiable. Thanks to NTU, I managed them both.

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Michelle Pepin with building models

The University is really good at letting you do what you want to do, so long as you have the gumption to drive it through. The job I’m doing today pulls on all the friendships and connections I’ve made since I started here. It also draws on the same skills and qualities I developed as a student here – critical thinking, open-mindedness, and calmness under pressure. I can draw a direct line from my PhD in 2004 to my current job, and that’s a fantastic feeling.

I’ve been given the chance to take on so many different roles. I’ve lectured; I’ve worked in India on secondment; I’ve been back and forth to Malaysia. To this day, I’m still supervising PhD students. There’s this tremendous, institutional sense of excitement and support.

I’m not just here to pay my mortgage. I’m a naturally competitive person, and I want to see the University succeed. They trust me here – they value me, and let me get on with my work, whatever it is I’ve been doing. But they’re always available when I need them. That sense of balance is just perfect.

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