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Maths and Management alumnus reflects on his career and student experience

Marcus Seldon

I completed a thin sandwich placement course at Brunel. This work experience greatly helped me to get a good idea of what I wanted to do, and not do, after I graduated.

Marcus, Alumni, Undergraduate

Maths and Management Studies BA - 1983

From UK

Tell us about your educational and/or career journey since you graduated from Brunel?

After graduating from Brunel in 1983, I joined Data Logic - a software house based in Greenford, then Harrow - although I spent a fair amount of my time working away from the office as a programmer for companies such as ICL (International Computers Ltd), British Aerospace, the British Transport Police and a year working in Australia for Fujitsu. I went freelance in 1992, programming and team leading for various large companies and government departments until 2001 when I accepted a job with EDS - a large US based software giant - working through them (and subsequently HP, HPE and DXC Technology) for the Department of Work and Pensions in several software development management and computer security roles.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

I retired myself in 2018 but occasionally help out at my local pharmacy doing deliveries. My last significant role was managing a team controlling access to the Department of Work and Pensions computer systems, basically making sure that those that needed access got it and those that didn't, couldn't get in. Lots of emails and meetings but good team spirit across two main offices.

What’s been the highlight of your career journey so far?

The most interesting and exciting role was spending a year in Australia, assisting Fujitsu in the development of what was at the time, cutting edge computer systems. Work was for police forces, the federal government, Royal Commissions and running training for Fujitsu staff. Fortunately, I was flexible and unattached at the time, so travelled all over Australia, plus fitted in some holiday trips to New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore, staying in some interesting places and meeting some great people.

How would you say your Brunel experience has helped you to get where you are today?

I completed a thin sandwich placement course at Brunel (in those days all courses were) and I was lucky to get industrial training with the National Coal Board, British Aerospace and the Ministry of Defence. This work experience greatly helped me to get a good idea of what I wanted to do, and not do, after I graduated. Plus it was invaluable in getting my CV noticed when applying for jobs.

Why did you choose to study at Brunel and why would you recommend Brunel to others?

I chose Brunel as it offered courses with industrial training as part of the course, plus I liked the idea of being close to London whilst not being in the middle of it. I would recommend Brunel to others as it has consistently demonstrated innovation (e.g. industrial training as part of courses wasn't the norm in my day), and the expansion and diversification of the university since has been impressive.

What is your best memory of studying here?

As mentioned previously, I enjoyed and benefited enormously from the work experience but my best memories on the sporting side are playing football, squash, tennis, cricket, darts and 10-pin bowling - the highlight being the Brunel Football Club tour to Malta over the 1982-83 New Year.

If you could give one piece of advice to current Brunel students, what would that be?

Take any opportunities to broaden your experience, be it work, travelling or just meeting new people.

What would be your top tip or key advice for new graduates as they begin their career journey after leaving Brunel?

Travel broadens the mind - if you get the opportunity to work abroad take it, most people are friendly!

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