Chris Makemson

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Other Industries
Job title: Retired
Subject of study: Mathematics
Year of graduation: 1966
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name


What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

1) Employed by Ford Motor Company Engineering Centre in Basildon, Essex for 8 years in the IT department. 2) Employed by Computer Annalists & Programmers (CAP) for 12 years. 3) Worked as an independent contractor (self employed for the remainder of my career – 32 years.

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

My Mathematics Degree (Magna cum Laude) was most appropriate for the the IT industry. Working for myself was very satisfying.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

Living in Crossmead Hall was most enjoyable in terms of its social life. Being able to study on Dawlish beech was a bonus. Driving across Dartmoor was brilliant. I met my first wife Rosemary Rochester who studied French and was for two years at Barton Place (married in 1967).

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

By encouragement of my maths master at the Grammar School Dartford. (Yes, I was one year behind Mick Jagger!). Mr Harris had friends in Exeter, so I did not need an interview to be accepted.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

At Ford I was sent on a course run by Tony Buzan (sometime chairman of Mensa) before he became famous. The course was for Speed Reading. He also taught the use of Memory Recall Charts, later to be known as Mind Maps. I still use these skills today. At CAP I was sent on a marketing course and a negotiation course. The skills learnt on these enabled my career as an independent contractor. When at CAP, I was introduced to IT Standardisation and chaired a BSI committee on Virtual Terminals (MS Internet Explorer is an example of a VT introduced some 10 years later). I went on to represent the UK at ISO/IEC meetings on VT. When an independent contractor I was introduced by a member of the Cabinet Office to the standardisation work carried out by the Commission of the European Union within CEN/CENELEC and ETSI. Most famously ETSI promulgates worldwide standards relating to mobile phones. I worked in this arena for 10 years.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Take a gap year to work abroad. The experience gained will very very helpful in getting a job. Take a job within the industry where you wish to have a career. Take every opportunity to attend relevant courses. Do not be afraid to move around several employers. Obtain industry related qualifications.

What are your plans for the future?

Enjoy my retirement!


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