Business coach and eMentor Roger Thomas, talks about his time at University and where his career has taken him including over 20 years at IBM.
|Year of Graduation||
Your time at the University
I chose the University of Edinburgh because I could take outside courses from across the Colleges, hardly any universities offered this back in the 1960s. My degree was in mathematics but I was able to study Astronomy (which was one ancillary subject I was particularly interested in and still am) History of Science, Computer Science, and Pure & Applied Maths. Non- academically I found time to captain the Edinburgh University Table Tennis Club (EUTTC) and the Scottish Universities, now part of Scottish Student Sport (SSS), Table Tennis team.
I had visited Edinburgh once before and really liked what I had seen of the city. Another incentive was that it was 250 miles from my hometown, and hence I would have to make new friends and begin a new lifestyle.
Training people is something I find incredibly rewarding so when I heard about the eMentoring program, a partnership between the Careers Service and Development & Alumni that gives students and graduates help in career development, I signed up!
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
Since leaving, I have done quite a lot because there has been plenty of time since I graduated. Firstly, I got married – we still are 47 years later, with two children and three grandchildren. When I graduated, I worked for IBM in Edinburgh and London in Sales and eventually management. That had originated partly as a result of two year's computer science as part of my degree. That employment lasted for 24 years and included responsibility for IBM's major customers in finance and government.
I then worked for myself in management consulting for a couple of years until I was recruited as sales manager for the then newly formed telephone company ScottishTelecom. When ScottishTelecom acquired a mobile phone company, I became the general manager. That was quite an "interesting" time; we negotiated a complex joint venture with an English company, we bought a chain of retail stores and we grew the business very rapidly to become a £50m and 320 people company. Then it was sold off to Vodafone, and I was redundant.
This important life change gave me the chance to think, "What am I any good at, and what do I enjoy - and do these overlap?" So, with a couple of like-minded contacts, I set up a company &Coaching that provides management training to businesses and school pupils. Training people is something I find incredibly rewarding so when I heard about the eMentoring program, a partnership between the Careers Service and Development & Alumni that gives students and graduates help in career development, I signed up!
People do what they think is right; no matter how wrong you may see it, recognise that no-one does what they think is the wrong thing at the time.