Professor Simon O'Leary

Director of University Research Centre for Entrepreneurship & Family Business

Professional Biography

Professor Simon O’Leary focuses on enterprise, particularly its economic and broader role in society, and has published widely, especially on the impact of entrepreneurial learning and experiences in developing management attributes and enhancing graduate employability. Director of the Research Centre for Entrepreneurship & Family Business at Regent's University London and Chair of the British Academy of Management's Entrepreneurship Group. Experienced business and management academic and executive, with extensive international experience in higher education, as a lecturer and researcher, and in industry, as a professional scientist and engineer. Teaches and supervises in the Business and Management Faculty, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels up to PhD, specialising in enterprise-related topics. Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, active researcher successfully publishing and presenting in academic journals and at international conferences, founding Editor of the Regent’s Working Papers series, raised research funding and active reviewer for numerous academic journals, books and conferences. Chairs HEA Fellowship Panels, Subject Cluster Head, former Member of University Senate and Programme Director.

Qualifications

Professional Development

  • PGCRDS, Postgraduate Certificate in Research Degree Supervision, University of Northampton, 2018.
  • PGCHE, Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, University of Kent, 2011.
  • PTLLS, Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector, Canterbury College, 2009.
  • MBA, Masters Business Administration, School of Management, University of Cranfield, 1990.
  • CDipAF, Certified Diploma Accounting and Finance, Chartered Association Certified Accountants, 1981.

Full-time

  • PhD, Science & Management, University of Manchester, 1984.
  • BSc Hons, Fuel & Energy, University of Leeds, 1980.

Relevant Past Employment

Higher Education:

  • 2011-2020: Lecturer to Professor, Faculty of Business & Management, Regent’s University London.
  • 2006-2010: Lecturer, Kent Business School, Canterbury & Medway campuses, University of Kent.

Business & Industry:

  • 2005-2009, Professional Services sector, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Solvik Consulting.
  • 1999-2005, Life Sciences sector, with Pfizer and Steris.
  • 1983-1999, Oil, Gas and Chemicals sector, with Burmah Castrol, Exxon and British Gas.

Publications

Academic journals:

Book:

  • O’Leary, S., Swaffin-Smith, C. and Fakoussa, R. (2017), Entrepreneurial transitions in Family Business: Organic Model, Governance and Succession. Transnational Press London. http://tplondon.com/books/organic

Book chapters:

Other Outputs

Regent’s Working Papers series:

  • Swaffin-Smith, C.  and O’Leary, S. (2020), Walking that family and business tightrope; the relationship between Family Business Adviser and the Family Business, RWP2003, Regent's Working Papers, Regent's University London.
  • O’Leary, S. and Hirt, S. (2020), Profiling a niche market and establishing an entrepreneurial strategy for a niche brand; the costume jewellery sector in Switzerland, RWP2001, Regent's Working Papers, Regent's University London.
  • O’Leary, S. (2019), Migrant entrepreneurs’ views on the potential impacts of Brexit on their UK businesses, RWP1903, Regent's Working Papers, Regent's University London.
  • O’Leary, S. and Swaffin-Smith, C. (2019), Walking the tightrope between family and business; the owner-manager transition towards a sibling partnership, RWP1902, Regent's Working Papers, Regent's University London.
  • O’Leary, S., Fakoussa, R. and Lawal-Solarin, A. (2019), Exploring the growth challenges of social enterprises: Identifying staffing, earnings-generation and communications as critical success factors, RWP1901, Regent's Working Papers, Regent's University London.
  • O’Leary, S., Fakoussa, R., Boccacci, A. and Salem, S. (2018), Influencing decision-makers as the next step for Entrepreneurship Educators: Lessons from entrepreneurship education in challenging economies, RWP1805, Regent's Working Papers, Regent's University London.
  • Carlotto, F. and O’Leary, S. (2018), Mapping the geographies of luxury cognitive “purity”, RWP1802, Regent's Working Papers, Regent's University London
  • O’Leary, S. (2016), Disciplinary and gender variations in employability-related support across higher education, RWPBM1605, Regent's Working Papers in Business & Management, Regent's University London.
  • O'Leary, S. and Swaffin-Smith, C. (2015), Organic model to reflect the transitional nature of family firms, RWPBM1501, Regent's Working Papers in Business & Management, Regent's University London.
  • O’Leary, S. & Denton K. (2013), Problem-solving skills and employability traits amongst Generation Y and Millenials in developed economies, RWPBM1305, Regent’s University London & Missouri State University.
  • O’Leary S. and Swaffin-Smith, C. (2013), An appraisal of family enterprise advisors as enhancers of both group performance and individual family member employability profiles, RWPBM1307, Regent’s University London.

Conference Contributions

Peer-reviewed papers, presentations, workshops and posters at international conferences include:

  • O’Leary, S. (2020), Leadership Forum: Leading at a Distance - Top tips, good practice and learning, Virtual Teams Meeting; April, Regent’s University London.
  • O'Leary, S. (2019), Annual General Meeting, Special Interest Group, Chair, British Academy of Management’s Entrepreneurship Group, September, University of Aston.
  • O'Leary, S., Fakoussa, R. and Lawal-Solarin, A. (2019), Exploring the growth challenges of social enterprises: Identifying staffing, earnings-generation and communications as critical success factors, Academy of Marketing Conference, Regent's University London. https://www.academyofmarketing.org/conference/conference-2019/  
  • Carlotto, F. and O’Leary, S. (2018), Consumer perceptions of delocalisation and the impact on future luxury production and brand equity, Luxury Research Conference; Market Research Society, London. https://www.mrs.org.uk/event/conferences/luxury-research
  • O'Leary, S. (2018), International HE Panel: How Universities Foster Entrepreneurship, International Partners’ Conference, Regent’s University London.
  • O'Leary, S. (2018), Examination of the efficacy of the family business Organic Model to signal appropriate roles and responsibilities for family business owners and advisers, International Family Enterprise Research Academy Conference, Coping with Disruptions: Family Firm Continuity and Sustainability in Times of Rapid Change, Zwolle, Netherlands.
  • O’Leary, S. (2018), Entrepreneurship as a platform to enhance management attributes, Horizons in STEM (Sciences Technology Engineering Mathematics) HE (Higher Education) Conference, University of Hull. https://ukstemconference.wordpress.com/
  • O’Leary, S. (2018), Entrepreneurship as a platform to enhance management attributes, Learning and Teaching Conference, University of Chichester. https://www.chi.ac.uk/about-us/who-we-are-and-how-we-work/mission-and-vision/core-strategies/learning-and-teaching/learning-and-teaching-conference-2018
  • O’Leary, S. (2018), University Research Centre: Entrepreneurship & Family Business, British Academy of Management, Special Interest Group on Performance Management, Regent's University London. https://www.bam.ac.uk/sigs-performance-management
  • O’Leary, S. (2018), Entrepreneurship as a platform to enhance management attributes, Learning and Teaching Conference, Regent’s University London. https://www.regents.ac.uk/academic-skills
  • O’Leary, S. (2018), Entrepreneurship as a platform to enhance management attributes, Understanding ModernGov, London. https://www.moderngov.com/about-us/
  • O’Leary, S. (2018), Entrepreneurship & Family Business Research Centre impact opportunities, British Academy of Management Leadership and Leadership Development Special Interest Group Event, Could we…Should we?: Aligning and sharing leadership research between academic and managerial communities, London. https://www.bam.ac.uk/civicrm/event/info?id=3354&reset=1O’Leary, S. (2017), Entrepreneurship in challenging emerging economies and the role of enterprise-related education, Institute Small Business & Entrepreneurship Annual Conference, Belfast. http://isbe.org.uk/isbe2017/
  • O’Leary, S. (2017), Entrepreneurship overview for the Global Entrepreneurship Week video, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands. https://youtu.be/O6hp8eGsgLc
  • O’Leary, S. (2017), Using enterprise-based modules to enhance graduate attributes and employability, Horizons in STEM (Sciences Technology Engineering Mathematics) HE (Higher Education) Conference, Heriot-Watt University.
  • O’Leary, S. (2017), Enterprise-related activities as a flexible learning platform for developing graduate attributes, Learning and Teaching Conference, Regent’s University London.
  • O’Leary, S. (2017), Using enterprise as a flexible learning platform for developing graduate attributes, Learning and Teaching Conference, University of Chichester.
  • O’Leary, S. (2016), International Jury President’s address at the Global Entrepreneurship Week, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands.
  • O’Leary, S. (2016), Experiences and attitudes of graduates towards employability-related support in degree programmes, Dean’s Research Seminar, Faculty of Business & Management, Regent’s University London.
  • O’Leary, S. (2016), The experiences and attitudes of graduates towards employability-related support in undergraduate degree programmes and the potential role for externally-facing student projects, Conference on Employer Engagement in Education and Training, Education and Employers Taskforce, Government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, London.
  • O’Leary, S. (2016), Developing entrepreneurial and employability attributes through marketing projects with SMEs, Academy of Marketing Annual Conference: Radical Marketing, Northumbria University, Newcastle Business School.
  • O’Leary, S. (2016), The opportunities and challenges for employability-related support in STEM degrees, Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference: Making Connections and Sharing Pedagogy Conference, University of Leicester.
  • O’Leary, S. (2016), Developing graduate employability attributes through projects with external partners, Enhancing Student Learning Through Innovative Scholarship: How Teaching Focused Academics are Driving Teaching Excellence Conference, University College London.
  • O’Leary, S. (2016), The opportunities and challenges for employability-related support across the academic disciplines, Learning and Teaching Conference, University of Chichester.
  • O’Leary, S. (2016), Embedding employability into degree programmes using consultancy projects that embrace entrepreneurship and innovation, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Conference, Loughborough University London.
  • O’Leary, S. (2016), The opportunities and challenges for employability-related support in arts and humanities degrees, Higher Education Academy Arts & Humanities Conference 2016, Brighton.
  • O’Leary, S. (2016), Embedding Employability in the Curriculum, Cohort dissemination event of the Higher Education Academy Strategic Enhancement Programme 2014-2015, Birmingham.
  • O’Leary, S. (2015), Economic governance and enterprise-related activities in higher education, Jean Monett workshop presentation on Economic Governance in Eastern Europe Conference, Charles University, Prague.
  • O’Leary, S. (2015), European perspectives for Internship Abroad 101: Best practices to design an internship abroad programm
  • Co-host for pre-conference workshop, Internships and Employability: Building a Global Portfolio, Global Internships Conference, Dublin.
  • O’Leary, S. (2015), Variances in graduate attitudes towards employability support such as internships during degree programmes, Presentation at Internships and Employability: Building a Global Portfolio, Global Internships Conference, Dublin.
  • O’Leary, S. (2015), Weaving employability into the curriculum; an evaluation of an employer-based case study, Presentation at Association of Business Schools 4th Annual Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Conference, York.
  • O'Leary, S. (2014), Consultancy projects as an alternative to dissertations; an example of good practice in higher education, p.33 in the HEA’s Examples of good practice in HE publication, Owens, J. and Tibby, M. (eds.), launched at Successful students: Enhancing employability through enterprise education conference, Cardiff.
  • O’Leary, S. (2014), Embedding Employability into Degrees via Consultancy Projects as a form of Enterprise, Presentation, Institute Small Business & Entrepreneurship Annual Conference, University of Manchester.
  • O’Leary, S. (2014), Views of graduates on employability and enterprise education as a platform for delivery, Presentation and workshop, Employability Conference: Developing globally competitive graduates: Opportunities and challenges for employability, University of Ulster.
  • O’Leary, S. (2014), Incorporating employability into degree programmes by using consultancy projects as a form of international internship, Presentation at Global Internships Conference: Internships, Co-op, Experiential Education - Where next?, University of Toronto.
  • O’Leary, S. (2014), Developing employability attributes by using consultancy projects as a form of problem-based learning in degree programmes, Engaging with Problem-Based Learning: Project LeAP, University of Leicester.
  • O’Leary, S. (2014), Entrepreneurship education as an enhancer of graduate employability, Presentation at Faculty Research Seminar Series, Regent's University London.
  • O’Leary, S. (2013), Enterprise education as a means of enhancing graduate employability, Presentation at Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services Biennial Conference 2013, University of Exeter.
  • O’Leary, S. (2013), Case study: MA in Luxury Brand Management, Presentation by video at Scottish Higher Education International Enhancement Themes Conference, Glasgow.
  • O'Leary, S. (2012), Using entrepreneurship to enhance the employability of scientists and engineers, Poster at the 1st Annual Conference on Aiming for Excellence in Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics STEM Learning and Teaching, Imperial College London & The Royal Geographical Society, Higher Education Academy.
  • O’Leary, S. (2012), MA Luxury Brand Management Consultancy Projects, Poster at the Teaching with Team Projects: Best Practice for developing Employability Skills workshop, University of Salford & Higher Education Academy.
  • O'Leary, S. (2012), The employability benefits of student consultancy projects rather than dissertation reports at Business & Management Masters level, Higher Education Academy's Employability Special Interest Group Workshop on Sustainable Employment, University of Winchester Business School & Higher Education Academy.
  • O'Leary, S. (2012), Potential student employability benefits of undertaking client-focused business projects, Presentation at the Assimilate conference ‘Assessing students at Masters' level’, National Teacher Fellowship Scheme, Leeds Metropolitan University & HEA.
  • O’Leary, S. (2012), Student employability issues in business and management teaching, Learning & Teaching Forum, Regent's University London.
  • O’Leary, S. (2012), Business Environment & Employability, Postgraduate Open Evening Taster Lecture, Regent's University London.
  • O’Leary, S. (2012), Research Publications, Poster at Research Training Day, Regent's University London.
  • O’Leary, S. (2012), Research Publications, Poster at the Staff Conference, Regent's University London.
  • O’Leary, S. (2012), Study Skills & Learning Resources, Presentation at the International Partnerships Office Exchange and Study Abroad Undergraduate Student Induction, Regent's University London.
  • O’Leary, S. (2011), Teaching entrepreneurship on science and technology degrees in developing economies: Egypt case, Science & Technology Track, Institute Small Business Entrepreneurship Conference, University of Sheffield.
  • O’Leary, S. (2011), Impact of entrepreneurship teaching on employability of scientists and engineers, Enterprise Education Track, Institute Small Business Entrepreneurship Conference, University of Sheffield.
  • O’Leary, S. (2011), Study Skills & Learning Resources, Presentation for International Partnerships Office Exchange and Study Abroad Undergraduate Student Induction, Regent's University London.

Research Interests

Research interests encompass entrepreneurship and family business.

Public Outputs

Published in academic journals and books, including the Journals of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Practice and Evidence of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Terra Economicus, Education and Work, The Marketing Review, New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences, Higher Education Academy, Economics and Sociology, Enhancing Learning in Social Sciences, and International Online Marketing. Published peer-reviewed conference papers for the Institute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, Academy of Marketing, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, Global Internships, Chartered Association of Business Schools, Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and several pedagogic University and Higher Education Academy conferences and events. Presented at events across the UK and internationally, including England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Ireland, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Canada.

Academic Journal Editor and Reviewer

Editorship roles:

  • Founder and Editor of the Regent’s Working Papers series: The series expanded from its Business & Management staff base to include students, Languages & Culture and Humanities & Social Sciences.
  • Member of the Advisory Board and former Associate Editor: Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities - Border Crossing.

Editorial Reviewer for academic journals, books and conferences:

  • Academic Journals: Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship (publisher Emerald Publishing); Education + Training Journal (publisher Emerald Publishing); Industry & Higher Education Journal (publisher IP Publishing); Enhancing Learning in the Social Sciences Journal (publisher Taylor & Francis); All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (publisher All Ireland Society for Higher Education); Studies in Higher Education Journal (publisher Taylor & Francis); International Journal of Management Education (publisher Elsevier); International Journal of Business Performance Management (publisher Inderscience); Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research (publisher Emerald); International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy (publisher Emerald); Migration Letters Journal (publisher Transnational Press London); Journal of Sustainability (publisher Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute); Journal of Youth Studies (publisher Taylor & Francis); Journal of Further and Higher Education, (publisher Taylor & Francis); Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity (publisher Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, MDPI); International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (publisher Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute).
  • Books: Rae, D., Opportunity-Centred Entrepreneurship (3rd edition, Springer); & Higgins, D., Jones, P. and McGowan, P., Creating Entrepreneurial Space: Talking through Multi-voices, reflections on emerging debates (1st edition, Emerald).
  • Conferences: British Academy of Management (Chair Entrepreneurship); EuroMed Conference (The EuroMed Research Business Institute); Global Internships Conference (The Academic Internships Council); & Institute Small Business Entrepreneurship Annual Conference (ISBE).

Research Management

Undertaken a series of research management activities by self and with others, including the Regent’s Writing Retreat at Great Missenden; Member of Research Ethics Panel for the Regent’s Institute of Languages and Culture; Member of the Regent’s University London Senate Research Committee; and active supporter of colleagues’ research initiatives.

Research Supervision

PhD Supervision

  • Completed the University of Northampton’s Postgraduate Certificate in Research Degree Supervision, leading to potential role as PhD Director of Studies.
  • Approved as PhD Supervisor by the University of Northampton.
  • Supervisor for several PhD students on entrepreneurship-related topics, 2020.
  • External supervisor for student at Anglia Ruskin University, 2019. 

Masters and Bachelors

  • Examined numerous Master and Bachelor dissertations and projects at Regent’s University London 2011-2020 and at the University of Kent 2006-2010.

Examining

  • 2014-2020: Member of the Energy Institute’s Accreditation and Approvals Panel for academic programmes across the UK and internationally.
  • 2014-2018: External Examiner in the Faculty of Business & Law at Leeds Beckett University, with a focus on their franchised portfolio.

Grants Awarded

Success in securing £50k of research funding:

  • £14k from the HEA over 2014-2016: This included £4k to lead a cross-university staff and student team to develop a tool to help engage students and staff in enhancing employability, having already successful joined the HEA's Strategic Enhancement Programme on Embedding Employability into the Curriculum, a programme that provided consultancy support worth £10k.
  • £1k through the EU Jean Monnet fund 2015-2017 to participate in its Centre of Excellence event on Economic Governance in Eastern Europe at Charles University Prague. The workshop facilitated debate about policy lessons and led to publications in the European Journal of Economics and Sociology and in the Russian Journal Terra Economicus.
  • £4k through the EU’s Erasmus+ scheme & Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences 2015-2017 to establish overseas teaching and research collaborations. Links formed at our International Partners' Conference led to teaching at RUAS School of Commercial Management, assessing student projects during their Global Entrepreneurship Week, hosting RUAS students at Regent's, as President of the Jury for international start-ups and offers of places for Regent's students at entrepreneurship events.
  • £10k of institutional funding from 2011-2020 for research leading to publication in a series of academic journals and presentations at international conferences across the UK, Europe and North America.
  • £15k of institutional seedcorn funding for the Entrepreneurship & Family Business Research Centre approved by the Senate Research Committee in 2018.
  • £6k through British Academy of Management from 2018-2020 in role as Chair of Entrepreneurship Special Interest Group, for collaborative events involving delegates and representatives from national and international higher education institutions.

Professional Affiliation(s)/Accreditation

  • Energy Institute, Council Member, 2018
  • Chartered Management Institute, Fellow, 2018
  • British Academy Management, Member, 2017
  • Higher Education Academy, Principal Fellow, 2016
  • Royal Society of Chemistry, Fellow, 1996
  • Energy Institute, Fellow, 1992 & Winner McAndrew Award, 1980
  • Engineering Council, Chartered Engineer, 1987

Teaching & Course Development

Academic Leadership

  • Regent’s representative on the PhD Supervisor Forum with the University of Northampton in the period 2017-2019; initiated the first-ever Forum held at Regent’s and participated in the first Forum at Northampton’s new Waterside Campus.
  • Faculty Head Learning & Teaching; engaged colleagues in Regent’s PGCHE programme, and promoted graduate attributes for Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy.
  • Programme Director, MA Luxury Brand Management; established foundations for success.
  • Module Leader; entrepreneurship specialist, along with strategy/marketing modules. Led Learning & Teaching workshops/seminars.

Degree Programmes

  • Programme developments and validations include development of Enterprise & Innovation pathway in undergraduate programme review (BAM); Chair of PGCHE development phase; Panel member for validation of MSc Marketing Psychology; Chair for validation of Post Graduate Certificate Mediation & Dispute Resolutions (HASS); Panel member for validation of Post Graduate Diplomas Fashion (HASS); Management Team for MSc Oil & Gas Trade Management (BAM) validation and professional accreditation; and Programme Director for revalidation of MALBM (BAM).

Innovations:

  • Established MALBM Consultancy Projects alongside Dissertations, this option then being extended across the postgraduate suite. Used Flexible Learning pedagogy for undergraduate (New Ventures) and postgraduate (Business Projects) modules.

Learning & Teaching:

  • Chaired the PGCHE development phase, and subsequently support colleagues and Chair HEA Fellowship Panels for applications through the Regent’s Enhanced Academic Practice (REAP) scheme.