"I loved that I studied with like-minded individuals and that we remain good friends to this day"
Studying Business Information Technology at MMU gave me a real insight into the business world, given many of the lecturers had previously worked in the industry. The combination of real world insight from them, coupled with relevant industry-related modules, meant I felt a step ahead when searching for my first job. This then helped me through the early years of my career and gave me a definite advantage over other graduates!
My placement year was invaluable to me in terms of putting into practice what I had learnt on the course. It enabled me to make mistakes and learn from them in a relatively safe environment. If I had my time again, the one thing I would not change is the placement year as it really did open my eyes to the real world I would eventually step into after graduation.
After graduating, I worked for a Management Consulting/Systems Integration company called Syntegra (who in later years became BT Global Services). I applied for the role while in my final year at MMU and started as a technical graduate. In that role, I was involved in mainly systems implementation work for various clients. I then quickly moved into the area of project management.
I spend a lot of time presenting and talking to external audiences all over the world. I find myself using skills gained from the presentation skills module we did as part of my degree all these years later. I also have to negotiate difficult situations – that could be negotiating terms and conditions with a potential vendor or negotiating with customers on implementation strategy, through to negotiating with the team to work the weekend to meet a deadline! Students and recent graduates should never under estimate the power of the human and their ability to move people to get things done – much of which has to be done face to face as opposed to over email!
As a graduate, I think you have to keep an open mind and be prepared to try things out in order to understand where your niche lies. I think it took me about two years in my first job to see where I wanted to be within the IT industry and I only worked that out through having the opportunity to try different roles and build different skills. This concept has stood me in good stead throughout my entire career.
One member of staff stands out very clearly in my mind as inspirational and that is Dr Mark Stubbs. He came with a very fresh perspective and was not worried about challenging the status quo – he constantly encouraged us to think outside the box. The fact he had worked (and been successful) within the industry was of immense value.
I loved that I studied with like-minded individuals and that we remain good friends to this day.