Ruth Mcintyre

Deputy Chief Executive at Aspire Housing and Personal Development Services
MBA 1998

2019 Ruth Mcintyre 680

Why did you decide to go to GCU and what did you study?

I did my Masters in Business in 1994 as a part-time course, so I finished in 1997. Before that I’d been working in America for four years, and prior to that I was an intensive care nurse in Glasgow. In America I was at Little Rock in Arkansas, then worked in Miami, but came back to Scotland to do my MBA in management. I felt that there’s only so much you can do at the bedside to positively affect people’s lives so that’s why came back and wanted to get into management.

It’s a different skillset; you can’t just assume that because you’re good at doing something practically that it will translate to management. The MBA was a generalist MBA, not sector specific, so it was good because there were people from all sorts of different industries.

Did you come out of your three years of study with a clear idea of what you wanted to do?

I think so – at first I thought this is all very complicated, and there would be a lot to get my head around, but once I got into it I realised it was just common sense. Fundamentally, when managing people, you need to be able to listen, which is a massively underrated skill, but also being able to confidently challenge people, as we all have different agendas to pursue.

I finished my MBA and briefly managed a recruitment agency but it wasn’t a job suited to me. I went back into health in a different kind of role, more of a strategic role, so I could use my qualification to help turn around failing systems within hospitals, and I did that for around 13 years.

Simply put, I like fixing stuff. There’s fixing a person broken in intensive care and there’s broken systems – I’m always asking ‘Why is this not working?’ It takes an awful lot of time and energy to create change but I like being challenged and I don’t like being bored.

And you’ve spent time working abroad as well?

I was looking around for different opportunities and a job came up in Qatar. I was in a very small team with two American colleagues to design a trauma mass casualty hospital with a starting cost of six billion pounds.

At Aspire we provide a range of different support for people, such as homeless people in Glasgow, drug and alcohol addictions, as well as helping people in their own homes who might have physical disabilities or mental health difficulties. We work with various local authorities in the central belt of Scotland so we’re doing well with that and have a good reputation. I think the values of Aspire are my values.

Would you recommend travelling to GCU students who might be considering it but perhaps find it a bit daunting?

It is definitely scary – there’s nothing truer than that, but I would encourage anyone to do it. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got in Scotland until you go away. For me in the health sector, the NHS and the public sector is far from perfect but it’s not until you go away that you realise just how lucky you are. We have a lot going for us. Scotland had a bad habit I think of looking internally all the time and not looking externally for smart solutions and smarter, better ways of doing things.

In a competitive business environment, how do you end up doing something in tune with your values and motivations?

Everybody’s different. There’s definitely people who think ‘I want to earn X amount of money by this age and I want to be in this position by that age’ and to be honest there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not what drives me and it’s not what ever has to be honest.  Ultimately I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror in the morning and think that I’ve done the right thing. It takes a lot of energy and effort and resilience to make change and you won’t get there overnight but for me integrity and honesty are really really important. 

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