Mark Hickson – BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences graduate

Current employer: Self-employed at thebestof Winchester

Current job title: Marketing Consultant

Current location: Winchester, Hampshire

“…you can’t beat Plymouth for location, location, location.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

After graduation, I went on to Cranfield University to complete a masters in Marketing and Product Management. These courses provided great opportunities to expand my career prospects, with both a technical science degree and a more applied masters for business applications standing me in good stead. It also allowed me to take my first job into sales and marketing at John Deere, the green tractor company!

Has your career path changed since graduation?

Careers always change: it makes life fun. I started off in the agricultural sector with John Deere, having developed a specialism in agriculture and biology at Plymouth, plus strengthening this with my masters, it was then through networking with old student friends that I became aware of new job opportunities, and this took me into the world of telecoms in the mid 80’s. I have not looked back since starting with BT, or in my subsequent careers with Motorola and other technology companies. Then, in 2015, having travelled the world and worked long hours, I took stock of my career. So, now I work for myself running a marketing consultancy business in Winchester.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

Work will always create a series of challenges and typically this is what makes business interesting. My own challenges have been varied, and the biggest was moving into self-employment.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

Fun can be delivered in many ways, from having the opportunity to meet customers in many different countries, experiencing the different cultures and locations, to the work behind creating new products and launching them in different markets. On top of this, there is also the excitement of managing a company’s success over a number of years. More recently, fun comes in the form of running my own business: it’s an old cliché, but I wish I had made this move years ago.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

Make sure that you have no regrets about anything you do in life. There is nothing I would do differently because every decision has been fun.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

The only advice I can give to students is to grab opportunities as they come, and if it doesn’t work out then adapt. University education will always help teach you how to adapt, so just take that skill forward with you.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

I think the best bits were the friends you make. I also loved the sports clubs I joined, from canoeing to surfing and badminton. Plymouth is just fantastic for the city life, the coast, and Dartmoor. What is there not to love? I remember bivouacking on the beach in Newquay for the night, and surfing during the day; it was cold but what memories.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University, and why?

I have been down to Plymouth in recent years with my kids and they love it. If the course is right for you, which should be your first tick, then you can’t beat Plymouth for location, location, location.