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Martin Lister

Career Path: Co-Founder, Sekana Group
Location: UK & USA

After graduation I worked in the energy industry for 10 years on projects in twelve countries from Singapore to Tunisia. After specialising in Risk Financing I moved into the City of London before heading out to Sydney, Australia for 5 years. In 2010 I returned to the UK in a role heading risk for a well-respected FTSE100 company.

What are you doing now?

I run a portfolio of seven investment companies along with being the Co-Founder of Sekana Group, a boutique risk, human capital, brand and reputation consultancy.Martin Lister

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

When I was selecting a university my focus was always on life beyond, and how I would be equipped to get into a great and challenging career. Northumbria promoted and valued its ties to business and the practical aspects of the course. Not a particularly easy thing to achieve for a maths department!

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

Northumbria was a great place to study. A vibrant community of students full of hope and determined to achieve things, and staff that allowed you to find out about yourself whilst making sure that the expertise was there for you to soak up.

How connected was your course with industry?

Every student in my year undertook a placement - the department had such good connections that no one was left without one.

What was the best thing about your course?

The focus on the development of analytical skills which are applicable across many disciplines along with the vibrancy of the student body.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

As well as highly tuning the analytical skills, the climate of the course also developed the personal qualities of self-discipline and self-reliance. Whether the latter was intentional or not I'm not sure.

Which skills/ knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Without doubt the analytical problem solving skills. When faced with mathematical problems the solution is often not obvious at the outset instead it can be trial and error, trying a route, seeing if it works and if not look for another way until the solution starts to take shape.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

I enjoyed the intellectual challenge, the opportunity for personal development and the friends I made. To this day those friends I made remain some of my closest, 26 years after graduation.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Northumbria provides a great environment to learn about something, but just as importantly to learn about yourself. Be open to it, embrace the journey and commit to getting as much as you can from it.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Fun, challenging and enlightening.

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