Alumni Profiles

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What have you gone on to achieve since leaving Anglia Ruskin? Our alumni give us every reason to be proud and we’re always delighted to hear how former students’ careers have progressed, so let us celebrate your success by sharing your news with your fellow alumni. Share with us your experiences by filling out our Alumni Case Study form and we’ll put your story on our website.

Image of Chris Mitchell, alumnus

Dr Chris Mitchell
Founder, Audio Analytic

Today, Chris has a PhD from Anglia Ruskin. However, he had to endure a slow start: without the maths A-level required to do the Audio Music Technology course he wanted, he had to begin with a Science Foundation course before doing a BSc Audio & Music Technology (2002) and then his PhD (2007). Towards the completion of his PhD, Chris was shortlisted by the National Council of Graduate Entrepreneurship in their search for future entrepreneurial talent. As a result, he was one of only 15 people selected to spend six months in the USA in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Chris now runs his own Cambridge-based high technology start-up company, Audio Analytic, which he started after realising the difficulties of detecting sounds. As part of his PhD, Chris had developed a now patented technology which detects music genres, and so his company developed a ‘black box’ computer which listens to sounds and, by analysing and identifying their audio signals, automatically labels them for classification. Which means they can be identified – anything from glass breaking to babies crying. Highly adaptable, it can even assist smart home security systems in detecting and responding to incidents and is used by world leading consumer companies all over the world in their products.

Hilary Collins

Hilary Collins
Founder & Managing Director, Big Wave PR

While still studying for a BA (Hons) in Geography at Anglia Ruskin, Hilary saw an advertisement in the window of Campus Travel in Cambridge: they were looking for someone to stage events and write articles about independent travel. She knew this was the job for her, and made sure she got it. Hilary was paid to travel across Mexico and, more importantly, stumbled upon her ideal career: public relations.

After 10 years in PR and the birth of her daughter, having worked her way up to associate director at a top-150 consultancy, Hilary became keen to start her own business. She had led award-winning campaigns for Greene King and had directed PR for BAA Stansted, BT and Youth Music, but it was time to go it alone.

She set up Big Wave PR in 2007 to provide consumer PR campaigns for clients including Carlsberg; property portal getagrip.co.uk; a chain of opticians; hair and beauty manufacturers; and a renewable energy company. Despite only ever trading in a recession, Big Wave PR managed to achieve rapid growth: the business was named a major player in the Eastern Region by industry journal PR Week [note italics] in 2009.

Alessandra Caggiano
Founder and Managing Director, e-Luminate Festivals

Stuck in traffic one day with her very young yet very successful boss, Alessandra decided she wanted success, too – but to get there, she also needed more confidence as well as strategic and business skills. She decided then and there to go back to university.

Alessandra’s previous studies in Italy had focused on the conservation of cultural heritage and arts management, but she now wanted to develop some business skills. Therefore she chose a brand-new Anglia Ruskin MA course called Cultures and Organisational Leadership. During her studies, she also began volunteering with Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club, and got the entrepreneurial bug: she started her first company just three months after handing in her MA dissertation!

Her businesses include e-Luminate Festivals, a community-interest company which creates collaborative events on the theme of light, making innovative technology and art accessible to all. e-Luminate was one of the first UK adopters of Kickstarter, the crowd-funding platform.

Alessandra also started Cambridge Event Management, specialising in corporate events and conferences which enable people to connect and sow the seeds of long-lasting business relationships.

Nicholas Juett

Nicholas Juett
Artist

Nick now divides his time between teaching children and painting. He began his career in art by taking an unusual combination (at the time) of A-levels in art and computer science at Cambridgeshire College of Arts & Technology – now Anglia Ruskin University. He stayed on to train as a sculptor before studying painting at Reading.

The government’s Enterprise Allowance Scheme helped him to start Studio Nicholas, designed to echo Athena by selling art in a shop environment, rather than the traditional gallery. However, lack of capital forced a move to New York, where studio rents were cheaper. Nick went on to enjoy a 14-year stint in the USA, including studying at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Returning to the UK in 2001, he rented a studio at Wysing Arts Centre, in his home town of Cambridge, and completed a PGCE at Cambridge.

Today, mobile phones and a laptop help Nick, who is dyslexic, to multi-task using a wide range of software for all aspects of marketing, exploring, documenting, and creating 'one-of-a-kind paintings'. Nick says the only ‘company’ he has is himself – and the best thing is that he works for the business, and the business works for him.

Lindsey Watson
Automotives

Lindsey began her automotive career in 1989 as an engineering apprentice at Ford. After two company-sponsored mechanical engineering degrees, Lindsey – by now an Account Manager - decided to boost her business skills with a self-funded MBA from Anglia Ruskin where the flexible study times suited her personal and work lives.

During her studies, Lindsey had a ‘eureka moment’ when she found out the importance of setting priorities and focusing on core business rather than tempting (but risky) sidelines.

Since her MBA, Lindsey’s career has flourished: she has handled five-year deals for automotive components worth millions of dollars. She became a Resident Engineer and then a Launch Engineer for the new Land Rover Freelander and new Ford Fiesta; she has been a Manufacturing Business Planner (looking at strategy for European manufacturing locations), and a Facilities Engineer. She has travelled extensively, and now advises the company board on health & safety and environmental impact. She deals with litigation and strategy for all of the company’s UK sites. And all of this was completed with the same employer!