Current employer: Erhvervsakademiet Lillebaelt
Current job title: Associate Professor
Current location: Denmark
“Perhaps the best part was the friendships I made. Some of my friends from the course became lifelong business partners and I still work with some of them even now.”
Tell about your career path since graduation.
During my placement year I had a great job in Toronto, Canada, where I was working at a virtual reality company, particularly on skyscrapers. I had the time of my life and made some lifelong friends and had great fun. My placement really helped me with my career objectives, and it even inspired a few chapters in my book, The Awesome Department.
It was a crazy ride after graduating. I went in to business with some other graduates and we basically kept on doing the same crazy stuff we did at university but for money! I set up a company Hardcore Monkey Crash with three other friends from MediaLab Arts. We grew quickly and hired lots of other great MLA graduates. We worked with companies like MTV and got to travel around the world, making TV programmes, designing things for theme parks, and just going wild with technology. As the company grew we became one of the UK's top ten technology showcase companies by UK Trade and Investment, and after loads of hard work and insanity we sold the company to Plymouth based TwoFour. I then took some time out for a bit of (very) early retirement and moved to Denmark to become Associate Professor teaching concept development, innovation and entrepreneurship.
What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?
I think it has to be talking about my master’s project on the sofa with Richard and Judy, which was a really surreal moment.
Other than that, I love lecturing at the Royal Institute of Science. I love it every time I meet a class of new students for the first time. Perhaps my favourite moment was taking 17 of my students and giving a lecture at Venice Beach in California, on the sand, and we all ran into the ocean afterwards.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?
Get involved at university! I won the “Being Digital” award in 2003; the Submerge Award for Commercial Value in 2003; the Submerge award for innovation in 2004 for a cybernetics project on my MSc; and a special commendation for Business in 2005 from Submerge for a company I set up with fellow MLA graduates. Also, in 2004, I won the Europrix Top Talent award for Content Tools and Interface Design in Austria for an MSc project. I have since been awarded as Europrix Festival President, so that went well! It just shows what you do at university has a direct impact upon your future career.
Also, there is no excuse for a boring job: do something amazing. Don’t wait to be asked. If you think it’s awesome then it’s awesome, so do it.
How did studying at Plymouth help you?
I think that it really fostered a ‘can do’ attitude, and really helped with my presentation skills. On the course we worked a lot on developing ways to get people to believe in an idea. We would have to do anything and everything in our power to get our ideas across. This really is a skill that set the MLA class above other competitors in the industry.
What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?
The MLA course was pretty fun in itself, and every lecture felt like a social activity anyway. The most memorable activity was the “Apollo Space mission” project: every two weeks something completely weird and wonderful would happen. I also took part in the student-run “Submerge” festival. Not only was it fantastic for launching my career, but my team and I won three awards in three consecutive years.
Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?
I came straight from A levels. I was going to take a “gap year” but decided to cancel it because the MediaLab Arts course had a placement year in the middle. I made the placement year my “gap year” and lived and worked in Canada and had an amazing time. This is a great way to spend some time abroad, gain valuable experiences, and not have to spend the money you would on a gap year!
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