CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Alan Manly, CEO of Universal Business School Sydney

Alan Manly is the CEO of Universal Business School Sydney (UBSS), an independent MBA business school, currently the seventh largest in Australia.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

My career began as a postman. Thankfully I later did an apprenticeship in electronics that morphed into being a computer engineer and then to the marketing department.

The last twenty years I have been working in the education export industry where I am currently the CEO of an independent MBA Business School, Universal Business School Sydney, which is currently rated the seventh largest of approximately forty in Australia.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

It starts with breakfast whilst reviewing and answering emails. Later I continue in my home office (where the coffee service is excellent), until I feel the peak hour traffic has abated and head to the Sydney CBD.

I then practise management by walking around and see what’s happening on campus. The new norm is of course a Teams meeting with staff who are working from home.

I- person meetings are scheduled with staff who are on site to keep face to face contact when possible. This is all interspersed with more coffee. I enjoy coffee.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

I enjoy flexible working in that I can work when I feel like it, which usually commences at breakfast and finishes about 9pm. This is interwoven with meals, driving to and from the office, where I am free to use the mobile phone, and of course other vital chores as decreed by higher domestic authorities.

What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
I enjoy the freedom to work as much as I like. I love working on any challenge therefore work, to me, is life.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

COVID improved the technology available that allows people to work from home. Zoom and like services have freed many from unproductive activity of driving one hour to log in to the company network. I have also benefited from that change.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I am a current affairs enthusiast and am a constant viewer of history documentaries.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I love my car and iPad. I like the many Apps that run our home. Hard to imagine how we ever controlled the swimming pool cleaner, the air conditioner, the garden lights , the home security system without apps. Whether I could live without them I would have to Google the answer!

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Vladimir Putin. He has a most interesting career and still seems to have a strong sense of humour. I like his interviews where he speaks and sings in English.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I love to work. I have had some wonderful experiences working and travelling the world. I should thank all my bosses for paying me to have so much fun. Find a job you like or love and just do it.
If you aren’t making enough money or having fun – stop. Life is too short.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.