Ian Wilkinson

Ian graduated from Aber in 1984 with a BSc in Geology. In addition to his highly successful career, Ian also acts as Aber's unofficial ambassador in Brazil and he is willing to assist any Aber alumnus with locating and/or doing business there. Contact him at brazil@alumni.aber.ac.uk

What do you remember most about your time at Aber?

I spent many years after graduation living and working with Aberystwyth as my base, and it was only in 1997, 13 years after graduating, that I finally left the town for good. As a student, I remember most those walks back down Penglais Hill, when you could see the cold rain gathering and you just knew you wouldn't make the seafront before the squall hit... On a serious note, I remember the great atmosphere between students and staff, the slightly sedate pace of life and the chance to use that for the better. Can't also forget the pubs closing on Sunday (not any more, Ed.) endless fell-walking (again in that rain I mentioned), and that slow train journey back to (for want of a better word) civilization.

What are you doing now career-wise and how has your Aberystwyth Degree helped?

After an undergraduate geology degree, I then stayed on for a PhD in geology in North Wales and I was lucky to pick up a substantial volume of consultancy work that helped me into the oil and gas business at a bad time (1985) for the industry. I built that consultancy into my first business and have run service businesses in the sector ever since. A great career, as it has taken me all over the world, most notably into Russia (both before and after the fall of the iron curtain), Venezuela, and, for the last 14 years, Brazil. Indisputably the quality of my education at Aber, and more particularly the mentoring of my supervisors, were critical in getting me on the right road, and with the skill set needed to go forward. Even now, 27 years on, I still directly make my living based on what I learned at Aber. Can I say more?

What advice would you have for a student doing your course now?

I know that the course I studied no longer exists as such, but the basics stay the same. Take the studies seriously, and try to build on what you learn, principally because any course is always going to be just an overview which leaves a lot of interesting stuff there still to be found. Of course, learning doesn't stop at university, but that is by far the best chance you are ever going to get to absorb it. Aber gives you time to do that.