Over the years I have studied at many leading educational establishments in the UK and in all cases I have taken the courses to progress my career and also to provide myself with some personal challenges outside of my work career. As you will see over the years I completed numerous projects ranging from designing my own 2D CAD package through to defining a business plan for a small company to enter the emerging space tourism market. So you could say I have always pushed myself to successfully achieve more difficult projects, and I succeeded.
Master of Business Administration, Warwick Business School: November 2002 – June 2006
After nearly ten years in a presales technical role at PTC and Computervision I decided to self-fund an Executive MBA course at one of the UK’s leading business schools. The aim of doing this course was to provide a way for me to make the transition from a technical role in to one that could lead to a management role later in my career. I found the course incredibly intensive but with it being self-funded it added a certain amount of pressure and focus for me to complete to a satisfactory level. My main study areas on the course were marketing, entrepreneurship, international business and business strategy.
My dissertation for this course was conducted in partnership with Starchaser Industries, a leading developer of sub-orbit space systems. Starchaser wanted to enter the space tourism market and this dissertation was written to help Starchaser understand what they would need to do to achieve this. The dissertation looked at the future potential of the space tourism market and the sounding rocket market and performed a competitive analysis with Virgin Galactic who have now become the leading player in this new market sector.
The dissertation also reviewed Starchaser’s operations and brand presence and what they would need to do to grow their business and position themselves in a market that is likely to grow exponentially over the coming years. I performed both qualitative and quantitative surveys to try and understand the general population’s perception and understanding of the space tourism market. If you would like to download a copy of my dissertation then please CLICK HERE. After submitting my dissertation I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to join GXS, one of two companies I applied to join following the completion of my MBA.
Master of Science in Computer Aided Engineering, Cranfield University, September 1990 – June 1992
Early in 1990 I realised that my career at GEC Avionics was not going in the direction that I was hoping and just before GEC announced a round of redundancies, that would have included me, I registered at Cranfield University to do an MSc in Computer Aided Engineering. I first heard about this course whilst I was studying at Bournemouth University and I always said to myself that I would complete this particular course one day. Little did I know that I would be presented with an opportunity to undertake this course so soon after finishing my Higher National Diploma at Bournemouth University.
Cranfield is one of Europe’s leading post graduate universities and many of its courses are focused around the manufacturing sector. As with the MBA course, the MSc was self funded through a professional development loan, again an example of how keen I was to better myself by taking an industry leading post graduate degree course. The course itself focused heavily on all aspects of how computer aided engineering systems were used and deployed across manufacturing operations. During the course I had a particular interest in Computer Aided Design and it was this interest that led me to join Computervision (CV), who at the time were one of the largest CAD software vendors in the market.
Prior to joining CV, I had to complete my thesis which looked at engineering design environments of the future. For example how could virtual reality and rapid prototyping (now known as 3D printing) systems be deployed across design and manufacturing environments. The dissertation gave me some strong insights into technology areas that are really only entering the mainstream markets today!
High National Diploma in Computer Aided Engineering, Bournemouth University, September 1987 – June 1989
This course introduced me to the world of computer aided engineering and how various technologies were applied to automate the production and design side of a manufacturing operation. At the time we covered subjects such as production engineering, engineering design, advanced maths, computer programming and computer aided design. This course provided me with my first introduction to computer aided design, using Autodesk AutoCAD to undertake numerous design related projects.
In the first year of the course I wrote my own CAD software in the programming language Pascal, quite an achievement in those days especially as I had to learn Pascal from scratch in order to actually build the software routines for the CAD package. Looking back, this CAD package was very basic in nature but it did what I set out to do in terms of developing my own 2D drafting package.
The second year project involved designing a fixture for a flexible manufacturing system (FMS) FMS environments became very popular in the late 1980s as manufacturers looked to reuse machining jigs as much as possible to speed up the manufacturing process. I had to design a machining jig which could perform five different machining operations from the same jig. Even though the project was more conceptual in nature I still had to pull together all the engineering drawings to show what the final jig would look like. My one memory from this university, having access to some of the very first Apple Macs to complete assignments on!