Written by Ola Szaran

Chief Marketing Officer

The AMOSSHE and NASMA conferences in 2018 were a busy few weeks for us at Blackbullion. Our CEO Vivi and Head of Partnerships Jock had the opportunity to speak to a lot of universities, attend a lot of events, and send some Blackbullion pigs to great new homes!

With the benefit of a little bit of rest and reflection, they were able to really look back on the experience and what, in particular, is on every university’s mind in 2018.

Here are their 7 takeaways from the AMOSSHE and NASMA summer conferences, plus a little more on what Blackbullion got up to…


The future is impact


Management thinker Peter Drucker famously said ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’. Of course what Drucker means here is that you can’t be sure of success unless your criteria of success is well defined and tracked.

The idea of measurability and impact was high on the agenda in both NASMA and AMOSSHE conferences this year. When it comes to EdTech efficacy is key – otherwise how do you know if the investment you made is actually getting results?

Determining a baseline and comparing it to the end result is one of the most important ways in which data can inform students of progress.


A holistic approach to the student experience


Gone are the days of focusing in on one area of “success” when considering the student experience. Universities are increasingly moving towards a more holistic approach, reflected by the high volume of chatter on the subject throughout both conferences.


Wellbeing is for life, not just a buzzword


Wellbeing is not just a phrase. This year there was a lot of talk of student mental health struggles and challenges. More and more, this concern is being brought to the front and center of the university agenda as institutions gradually realise that mental health and physical health underpin the wider student picture.

This year we ran a free, 3-day digital wellbeing bootcamp with attendees of AMOSSHE and NASMA conferences to help improve physical, mental and financial health in higher education.

If you missed it, you can still join the digital bootcamp here.


Benchmarking and best practice


The rooms were abuzz with benchmarking chatter this year. Benchmarking strengthens an institution’s ability to more successfully implement new practices or to more effectively set targets.

By looking at how others perform and implement a university can get a sense of where it is performing well, or poorly, compared to others.

In a time of doing-more-with-less, learning from peers is an effective way to skip over periods of trial and error and reach efficacy faster and more efficiently.


Tech should support, not replace


This year the message was loud and clear: technology is a complement, not a replacement, to the work universities have to do.

Well deployed tech can augment existing practices, remove some busywork, and wipe repetitive “low value” tasks, but it cannot and should not replace professionals.

While embracing technology where it can help is valuable to progress, we should equally value the professionals that are the heart and backbone of what universities do.


Diversity and inclusion are not the same


This year there was a clear emphasis on the difference between diversity and inclusion, over both conferences.

Diversity is when everyone is represented in a particular space. Inclusion is when everyone feels valued and included.

Recognising and respecting these differences creates an all-inclusive atmosphere, enabling all staff and students to feel welcome


Blackbullion Represents


And what were we doing throughout the conferences? We’ll, we had a busy few weeks to say the least! Empowering students with financial education to ensure they have the best chances possible is not light work.

First up, we released our latest student report on financial expectations and spending habits, which leaves a lot to think about, particularly the ‘systemically low’ percentage of students who budget and the proportion of students coming to student services as a last resort, rather than as a preventative measure.

Here are some key data highlights from the report itself:

Highlights from Blackbullion's latest student report, released at AMOSSHE and NASMA conferences
Highlights from Blackbullion’s latest student report, released at AMOSSHE and NASMA conferences

You can read a summary in our blog, or read the full report here.

Plus, during the events, we had a few ‘pignappings’…So at AMOSSHE, we decided simply to let the pigs roam:

And roam they did! All across Liverpool:

Fortunately, after all was said and done our little #MoneySmart piggies found great homes:

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