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Alumni

Chris Nixon

Career Path: Project Director, FOOTY.COM
Location: Durham, UK

Ever since I turned on a computer for the first time - a BBC Micro at infants school - I immediately had an interest in computers and technology. Having also worked in my grandfather’s retail store most Saturdays during my early teens, I developed an interest in business. I knew from these experiences that I wanted to have a career in a field that combined my two interests.

What are you doing now?

I currently run a start-up company called FOOTY.COM in the North East of England. FOOTY.COM allows followers of ‘the beautiful game’ to compare prices for football kits, boots and related merchandise from a wide variety of well-known sporting brands, retailers, and club shops. The football space is enormous and we have huge plans to develop the brand and platform dramatically over the next few years.Chris Nixon

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

I've always had an affinity towards the city of Newcastle. As many people are aware, it is a really vibrant city crammed with lots of friendly people. So, when my careers adviser recommended Business Information Systems at Northumbria to me, the stars aligned and my decision was made.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

I really liked the variety of modules available on my course and the opportunity to work with others from different backgrounds on collaborative projects. After all, the ability to communicate with peers and colleagues is an important part of daily life when working in business.

How connected was your course with industry?

When it came to seeking a role for my industrial placement, I felt the resources available at Northumbria University were very impressive. The roster of small, medium, and large multinational organisations available via the online jobs portal was extensive. After attending interviews at several companies, I ultimately found a perfect match in the North East. Communicator Corp was my placement organisation of choice, whom I worked with in various guises for seven years of my working life.

What was the best thing about your course?

The best part of my course was the availability of the lecturers and departmental heads to provide guidance and advice at a 1-to-1 level. This was especially critical during my dissertation year, which I personally found quite stressful. I must give a nod to Philip Oliver and Paula Brumby here who were both pivotal in this area.

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

The two key elements from studying at Northumbria that helped to get me to my current position were the invaluable industrial placement year and the variety of course modules available to select from. The industrial placement was key to getting immediately hired upon completing my course, and the array of topics I chose to study have allowed me to be extremely versatile in every role I have worked in to date.

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

Although I'm not a software developer by trade, actively partaking in software modules such as VB, Borland Delphi, and PHP throughout my university career provided me with a healthy appreciation of how web-based technologies are written. This understanding has consistently helped me throughout my working life and continues to develop to this day. Additionally, the blend of business centric topics I studied, such as the entrepreneurial and project management modules, have definitely paid dividends throughout my career as I have used the knowledge accrued for over 10 years.

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

Other than the excellent learning aspect, my most notable takeaway from studying at Northumbria was the diverse people I studied with, ultimately making some lifelong friends from many different backgrounds and cultures.

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

I can only advise based on the course I decided to study, but I would make sure you carefully appraise the modules on offer to ensure they align with your interests. My course had a nice blend of technical and business centric topics, which is why I chose it. I’d also suggest considering the ratio of exam and assignment-based modules. I personally enjoy researching, analysing, and writing, so I favoured a course with a greater ratio of assignments to exams. It all comes down to making a choice based on where your strengths lie.

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

Enjoyable, stimulating and memorable.

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