I was 19 when I founded Open Study College with my father. We identified a gap in the market for fully supported distance learning and 13 years later, our business offers more than 650 different courses. It’s a real family affair with my mum, sister, brother-in-law and fiancé all part of the business’ growth.

Samantha Rutter

Samantha Rutter

My typical day starts at 7am. I check my emails and social media to catch up on what’s happened overnight. Whilst my team takes care of the day-to-day running of the business my priority is developing the growth strategy and looking at how we can enhance the experience for learners.

I spend a lot of my time developing and maintaining business relationships with key stakeholders and catching up with my leadership team on priorities and future planning.

My day can often be overrun by meetings so I try to manage my diary as much as possible to ensure I get a couple of hours each day to refocus and at least once a week blocked out to check in on student feedback – with many of our learners choosing to study with us for personal reasons, it’s so important to us that they are at the heart of our decisions. We feel fortunate to have helped a lot of people through some really dark times in their lives by giving them something else to focus on and a new opportunity. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning!

You’ll often find me and my team sitting with our student services or enrolment departments - this is the crux of our business so understanding pain points and hearing first-hand student feedback is really important.

Once or twice a week I check in with my dad, the Chairman, to update him on performance but also to seek his advice. He’s always been a mentor to me, so I use this time to not just update him on things going on, but as a sounding board too.

As a family business with family values at our core, my team is really tight knit. I’m a great believer in a business being the sum of its parts, we wouldn’t be where we are today without each one of our team members and our almost 100,000 students! We love to get together for team socials however, this year we had to be a little more creative with our get-togethers so we’ve supplemented virtual gatherings with plenty of treats – it’s important to me that each one of our team feels valued. I’m lucky to have a team of great people around me - finding passionate people you can rely on isn’t always easy so growing our team has probably been one of my biggest challenges.

The gym is my solace, so I try to go at least 3-4 times a week but given the current pandemic, I’ve adapted my routine at home. I’ve also started using the headspace app for mindfulness and to help reset each day.

When the buzz of a typical day eases, I like to check in on pressing emails and then it’s family time!

A successful day for me is hearing about how people have transformed their lives through learning and knowing that we have made a difference and been a part of that journey.

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