Dr Neil Keegan

"The course exposed me to the potential to create change and encouraged me to stretch and get out of my comfort zone"
About my career

The MA in Industrial Design at Manchester School of Art broadened my ambitions and horizons beyond the studio, and promoted the ability to reason, formulate ideas and plans, which has been the core of my professional activity for many years. We were pushed to learn through experience and to develop new ideas about old problems. The resources and facilities of the institution (then as now) were significant, and we were pushed to reach out to other departments. Working with people from different disciplines encouraged us to collaborate to reach our goals.

As part of my MA, I took a placement at BT Research in the Human Factors team. I then returned to BT Research Laboratories in a contract capacity to continue the work I started as part of my MA placement. It was valuable to apply my learning in the outside world, and I would recommend students do the same.

I learnt that designing is about responding to people’s needs, not forcing them to accept a novel technology. The reasoning and quality of thought that you bring to your designs to apply a technology is what makes a difference, not the technology itself.

A good team will always achieve more than one person in isolation and if you are leading a team, you have to be able plan,organise and impliment your ideas while guiding others. As a team member, you have to learn to communicate, share and support others while delivering what is required when it is needed. Learning to work with people is defintely a skill students should work on alongside their academic studies so as they can communicate and collaborate to achieve results.

My top tip for students is…

Getting interviews is hard and sometimes involves more than a bit of luck! When you do get an interview/job always prepare thoroughly, keep reports or meetings simple and concise, always try to communicate clearly, make sure you understand your projects thoroughly and never lie or self-aggrandise.

I’m inspired by…

Lots! I tend to admire teams who chase the big impossible things. I love the guys at CERN because the ambition is so great-they are looking over the edge of our physical universe! I also love Xerox PARC as they have already changed our world so much, and continue to do so.

Why I love Manchester Met

The course exposed me to the potential to create change and encouraged me to stretch and get out of my comfort zone.