Getting to know the people behind the University of London: Reetu Kansal

In our latest behind-the-scenes interview, Reetu Kansal tells us about her role and combining her love of immersive games with her love for London
Reetu Kansal
"It is a great feeling to wake up in the morning and to be excited to get to work!": Reetu Kansal
I strive to maintain the high standards we have in place to provide excellent service to students throughout their experience with us

Tell us about your role within the International Programmes
I oversee the processing of exam question papers for International Programmes courses and the courses for the internal School of Advanced Study courses. Every student who is aiming to achieve a University of London award through the International Programmes sits an examination. This makes assessment the centrepiece of what the International Programmes does. In addition, I work on a number of projects for the Student Services Directorate. Overall, I strive to maintain the high standards we have in place to provide excellent service to students throughout their experience with us.

What do you like about your job?
I like that each and every task or project I am working on in some way touches the journey of an International Programmes student. I enjoy the variety and I love the possibility of working with different colleagues on these projects. It is a great feeling to wake up in the morning and to be excited to get to work!

You previously worked in Institutions Assurance.  Can you tell us a little more about that, and did the experience help lead you towards your current role?
I worked in Institutions Assurance for over seven years before I joined the Student Services Directorate. As Head of Partners and Institutions Assurance, I liaised with teaching institutions, regulators and accreditation bodies on a regular basis. My strong foundation in quality assurance, connections with internal and external stakeholders around the world and my experience of interacting with students from all walks of life prepared me to take on the role of Project Manager: Assessment Tasks. I just wanted to give more and do more, and this was a great opportunity.

Are you originally from London?
London is my home, I love London and I have been in London for over a decade and a half. I am originally from Berlin, Germany, and I spent a significant time living between Germany and India before I moved to England.

What is your favourite thing about working in Bloomsbury?
Everything! I love the iconic architecture - I notice something new every time I look around me or up at the buildings. Bloomsbury houses beautiful museums and lovely gardens for a mid-morning stroll or a sit-down for an afternoon coffee. I am particularly fond of the British Museum, as Senate House was built in exact alignment to the museum in anticipation to create a corridor of knowledge. I feel very fortunate to have all of this at my door step.

"Speaking with our graduants at the Graduation Ceremony particularly moves me as it reminds me of the immense courage and achievement of our students."

Have you been tempted to study through distance learning?
Absolutely. I am especially inspired by our students who study alongside their jobs, while looking after their family. Speaking with our graduants at the Graduation Ceremony particularly moves me as it reminds me of the immense courage and achievement of our students. It reminds me how much I would like to give it a shot too.

What insider tip would you give to someone visiting London?
London is an amazing city to walk around. Grab the free Rick Steves Audio Europe app for some great guided tours of Bloomsbury, the City (another one of my favourite parts of London) and much more. We have a reputation for being an expensive city, but you can book a free tour to the top of the Sky Garden up to three weeks in advance. And if you are in London, do visit Senate House and feel free to look me up. I would love to show you around!

Reetu KansalWhat do you like to do in your spare time?
I devote time to champion women and young professionals aspiring for management and leadership roles through the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). One of my most recent involvements has been with the CMI’s Missing Middle campaign for women. I am very fortunate that the University of London champions similar causes. For instance, next year we will be commemorating and celebrating 150 years of offering women the possibility to study with the University of London.

In addition, I do a multitude of other things for fun. I am a bit of a film buff and love going to the cinema. I also play immersive games that involve dressing up as a secret agent and solving puzzles. It is like being on a “real life mission” in different parts of London and it helps me to tap into my acting and problem solving skills. I like to try different types of cuisines and most recently tried Peruvian and Ethiopian food - and loved both. London is a melting pot for different cultures - a lot like the International Programmes!

What movie or novel character would you most like to be?
Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, particularly as played by David Suchet. This 1980s series was filmed in Senate House which feels like a second home to me, and perhaps makes me even fonder of the show.

What was the first thing you ever won?
I won a prize for playing a stork in my primary school play. I still have a vivid memory of wearing bright pink leotards and standing still on one leg for what felt like hours. I see it as one of my earliest lessons to being a resilient person - it clearly has had its rewards!

What is the prettiest place you have ever been to?
The Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica.