Andy McDonald graduated with a degree in Geography in 1972. In addition to his successful career, Andy also acts as Aber's unofficial ambassador in the eastern USA and he is willing to assist any Aber alumnus with locating and/or doing business there. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
What do I remember most about my time at Aber?
As with all the most enjoyable experiences in life, the thing that stands out most for me are the friendships that I formed while at Aber. Most of these were through my participation in sports, in my case - football. Finding out that I had so much in common with people from such varied backgrounds was a real learning experience for me and helped to broaden my horizons tremendously. It probably provided me with a level of comfort that helped me to be willing to accept new opportunities and to be mobile. From growing up in a small town in Yorkshire I went on to work in London, travel extensively in Europe and the Middle East and, ultimately, to emigrate to New York.
What am I doing now career wise and how has my Aberystwyth degree helped?
Nobody was more surprised than me that, after graduating with a degree in Geography (and a Masters Degree in Hydrology), I found myself working in banking! I probably had a fraction of the career knowledge and ambition that the average undergraduate student is armed with nowadays but, fortunately, I found that I loved the profession that I had somehow stumbled into. After a number of years working in international banking I took an opportunity to move into private banking. I now manage the New York and New England private banking business for a major U.S. bank. I love the business; it's fast paced, always changing and our clients are so varied that every day brings something different. It certainly may not be obvious as to exactly how my degree helped me in my career, but I found my background in science to be a great learning experience for me. It gave me discipline, a grounding in research and fact finding and a belief in analysis which has proved invaluable.
What advice do I have for a student doing my course now?
The world of career opportunities has changed dramatically since I graduated; in my era, employers were looking more for a generic graduate than someone who was partially trained in their particular business line. The world has become more specialized now but I still think that college students should study what they are academically interested in. College is a time to stretch your intellect- in whatever direction you choose. Your various experiences at university will gradually lead you towards your natural areas of interest and, from that, where your talents lie. Worry less about your career and simply pursue your interests.