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RGU

ALUMNI MAGAZINE

2018 ISSUE THREE

“Become leaders and mentors supporting or helping others”

Catch up on campus news

Manage career transitions

Read unexpected stories


Comment Thousands of our students celebrated a significant achievement at this summer’s graduation – and are now ready to add to the success of your global alumni community by contributing their knowledge and skills to their professions. Some may forge ahead as entrepreneurs, or shift career focus entirely, and many will become leaders and mentors supporting or helping others through their own professional journeys. All transitions we’ll talk a bit more about in this edition of RGU Alumni Magazine. We’ll hear from an expert witness and hostage negotiator. A few of your fellow alumni share their story from RGIT to RGU. And, you’ll read about and international alumnus’s journey from engineer to CEO. At RGU, recent graduate degree shows for Architecture and Art showcased the talent of graduating students. RGU also demonstrated its commitment to community and culture by co-organising the Aberdeen Youth Games with North East Scotland College; and bringing the Look Again Festival to the city, partnering again with Aberdeen-based art curators SMART. And, your university has been lauded again for its excellent standing in graduate employability. For alumni, we are expanding engagement by bringing our supporter communities together in areas such as Beijing, Houston and London. I look forward to sharing more details of expanded programming in the Northeast, offers for some of our larger alumni communities across the UK, and overseas and, of course, expanded service in the digital realm. Lastly, we’ve recently completed a major alumni study and calling campaign. For those who were contacted, a big thank you for your willingness to share and play your part in the university’s efforts. And, to all alumni, thanks, as always, for your ongoing support of RGU. We sincerely appreciate it.

Mark C. Sollis, Vice-Principal for University Advancement

CONTACT US Mail: RGU Alumni Robert Gordon University Garthdee Road Aberdeen, AB10 7QB Email: service@alumni.rgu.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)1224 262285


In this issue Reconnect NIBlets Career transitions Accelerator

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Graduates Get socially connected From bricks to insulation Focus on a benefit Alumni snapshot Building RGU’s community Then RGIT; now RGU Save the date

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14 16 18 19 20 22 24

Unexpected The expert witness The global difference Research Did you hear?

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NIBlet links News in brief from the RGU campus Finding future leaders

RGU has teamed with the Energy Industries Council (EIC) to recognise future industry leaders. The EIC and RGU Rising Star MBA Award was created to develop leaders of tomorrow and will see the winner receive full tuition fees for the MBA Oil and Gas Management course at RGU. The initiative was launched last year and Daniel Gear, of Petrofac, who is studying the course on a part-time basis, was the first recipient of the award.

Has evolved a highly successful and contemporary niche course Countering terrorism Dr Moira Bailey and Anne Stevenson from RGU’s Aberdeen Business School headed to Scotland Yard to receive a commendation for their work on the Protect and Prepare: Securing Your Business course. “Through this partnership has evolved a highly successful and contemporary niche course, which aligns well with the objectives of the university and ABS,” said Dr Moira Bailey.

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Photo by Martin Parker

Biggest Aberdeen Youth Games Around 1,400 pupils from 45 city primary schools converged on Aberdeen Sports Village this summer for the biggest ever annual Aberdeen Youth Games. Dame Katherine Grainger DBE said: “Huge credit to the coaches from RGU and NESCol, who have inspired so many young people and helped them with their passion for sport.� Pupils participated in a number of team-based sporting activities such as rugby, basketball and tennis. Each activity used the skills they have learned from coaching by RGU and NESCol.

You can find out more about Aberdeen Youth Games on our website. You can also follow the link behind the image above to see Dame Katherine Granger DBE talk about the event.


Borrowed Existence

Photo by Jade Gilbert

Innovative resomation Talented Architecture student Sophie Perrott has designed a resomation complex and memorial gardens to tackle funeral poverty in Scotland. Resomation is a sustainable, harmless and environmentally beneficial method of ‘water cremation’. Sophie said: “The development helps maintain memories of loved ones immersed within the architecture”

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The Gray’s School of Art Degree Show was sponsored by BP for the fifteenth year running and showcased the work of more than 150 graduating students. Among them was Jade Gilbert, who was highly commended in the BP Fine Art category for her Borrowed Existence piece and has since become an alumna with a first class honours degree in Contemporary Art Practice. Jade benefitted from the support of the Access to Creative Education (ACE) programme and a scholarship from Baillie Gifford & Co. “Without them, I don’t believe I’d have as much confidence as I do now, or the determination to push myself,” said Jade. “I’m so grateful for all the support they’ve given me.” Jade discovered her passion for art in her first year at secondary school, receiving A’s throughout. However, Jade’s school didn’t offer the course that would take her to the next step, so she even contacted the Scottish Qualifications Authority, structured the coursework and taught herself Advance Higher Art. You can see Jade talk about her highly commended degree show work on RGU’s YouTube channel.


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The wedding planner The university invited five alumni speakers onto campus for the Inspiring Entrepreneurship and Innovation at RGU programme. The five local entrepreneurs shared insights into their journey and how they got to where they were today. Emma Douglas (BA Hons Management with Marketing 2011) is the business owner of Timeless White Wedding Planning Scotland – one of only two wedding planners to be listed in the global five-star wedding directory. “Timeless White Wedding Planning was an idea in my head while I was studying third year Management and Marketing here at RGU,” said Emma. “The idea was, everyone is working in oil and gas, no one’s got time to do this themselves, everyone is spending loads of money on them – I’ll get involved. “The idea has evolved a lot since then and now, actually, the vast majority of my customers are international couples coming to Scotland for their wedding.” Emma advised upcoming entrepreneurs to truly learn about the business they’re looking to launch and recalled volunteering with a wedding planner at the age of 19 for 18 months. “I’ve been involved in 400 weddings to different levels,” said Emma. “Some of them, I’ve just turned up and provided decoration. Others, I’ve been involved with from start to finish. “I also work with a number of venues in the Aberdeenshire area. It’s about aligning yourself with people who are likeminded. That’s been a challenge I’ve had to overcome. I’ve had to readjust myself because I was suddenly serving businesses instead of consumers.”

Photo by Anne Edgar


Promoting lab science

CELEBRATING PHILANTHROPY The Annual Donors reception in June gave supporters of RGU the chance to celebrate the impact that their funding has had on individuals, research and society. Staff from RGU’s School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences partnered with NHS Grampian to celebrate Biomedical Science Day. Organised by the Institute of Biomedical Science, scientists, staff and students from across the UK opened their laboratory doors to the public or organised events in their hospitals and local schools.

Extending opportunities

More than 100 secondary school pupils have been recognised for their commitment to learning and skills development by RGU as it celebrated the fourth year of its Northern Lights programme. Northern Lights helps S1 and S2 pupils explore further and higher education opportunities by giving them the chance to experience university life.

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BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS A team of RGU students made it their mission to educate their peers on empowering people with learning disabilities through the Breaking Barriers conference.

DIGITAL & ENTREPRENEURSHIP A regional hub for digital and entrepreneurial activity is being developed by Opportunity North East (ONE) in partnership with CodeBase and RGU.


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Top for employment

RGU ranked top in Scotland for employment according to figures released by Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education. 97.6% of graduates are in work or further study six months after leaving RGU.

First for class experience RGU’s online MBA programme is ranked first in the world for class experience. RGU also came second for its faculty out of 50 online MBA programmes from around the world included in this year’s rankings, and its teaching was ranked joint 15th globally.

Ground-breaking study

The results of a ground-breaking project into the body sizes of UK offshore workers on board various helicopter crafts has been recognised with an award for outstanding contribution to ergonomics. The study will help advise seating logistics, which maximises the probability of successful escape following concerns about window egress in an emergency.

Dissecting architecture A group of the country’s leading architects took part in a special public Q&A organised by RGU’s Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment. The event was a pre-cursor to The BIG CRIT, which took place the following day.


Career transitions When the time is right to move on Story by Helen Scott, Careers Consultant There may come a time in your career when you’re ready to move on from your job and go into another field. This can happen for a variety of reasons, like your current role no longer provides the challenge and interest it once did. Perhaps you’ve worked alongside someone, seen what they do and feel that their role would be a better fit for you. You could even be in a company or job you really don’t like and just want to jump ship. If this is your situation, the first thing to do is to acknowledge that it’s normal. At some point in their career, everyone feels like this. These days, people move on from jobs more frequently than they ever did, and it’s usual for people to move between jobs, employers and sectors that often seem quite different. Unfortunately, many of us are still brought up with the idea that there’s one ideal career for everyone, with family members asking ‘What are you going to be when you grow up?’ This puts considerable pressure on us from an early age to choose a career and stick to it for life, even when we know we’ve made the wrong choice or just want to try something else. It’s important to distance yourself from the outmoded idea that you’ll have one career for life. With people living and working longer, together with the

10 Photo by Bram Naus


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of competence. Make a list of the skills you’re particularly strong in and the projects you’ve worked

Employers rarely find applicants who match every desirable criteria revolution, most of us will have a very diverse C.V. by the end of our working lives. There will be twists and turns, sideways moves and even complete career changes along the way. So what are these ‘transferable skills’ and how can you identify the ones you have in order to help you transition into a more satisfying job? There are a number of generic skills that are crucial, which appear on most job descriptions. These include high level written and verbal communication skills, the ability to work in a team, leadership experience, personal organisation and time management, the ability to use IT competently — with PowerPoint, Word and Excel being commonly used in most work environments — research and analytical skills, and a good level of numeracy. If you’ve been working for some time, it’s likely that you’ll possess most, if not all of these skills, albeit at different levels

on where you’ve made use of them. When you see a job opening that interests you, read the job description and person specification to find out what skills the employer is asking for and identify where these overlap with your own. If you can meet over 75% of their criteria, it may be worthwhile applying for the role. Employers rarely find applicants who match every desirable criteria on their list and sometimes, even if such a person exists, the employer might feel they are not the right ‘fit’ for the company. If you decide to make an application, highlight the skills you’ve got which ‘overlap’ and explain why these would help you in the career transition you want to make. Mention that you are happy to undertake further training and the employer will see that you’re willing to develop new skills — an important attribute in today’s ever-changing career landscape.

Visit the ‘Identifying and Selling your Skills’ presentation on Campus Moodle for more details.

Photo by Hugh Han

transferable skills we develop in the contemporary workplace and the challenges presented by the fourth industrial


Accelerator £10k for start-ups RGU has launched the first funded start-up accelerator programme in North East Scotland to support recent alumni, entrepreneurial students and staff in creating new businesses with up to £10,000 of funding each. This new initiative, funded by the Wood Foundation, is open to alumni who have graduated within the last three years. “Entrepreneurship is now a career choice for many graduates,” said Gordon McConnell, VP of Commercial and Regional Innovation and lead of the new accelerator. The university’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator competition will launch in September of each year and an external peer panel will choose the final start-up teams later in the autumn. Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students enrolled at RGU can take part alongside alumni, as well as full time or part time staff. At least one member of each team must be from one of these groups at the time the team’s proposal is submitted.

The teams can also comprise of students, staff and alumni from other institutions in the region. Individual teams may submit a variety of venture concept proposals from a range of industry areas including technology, food & beverage, sustainability, creative industries such as fashion or architectural solutions, healthcare, engineering, social enterprise and digital solutions. Sir Ian Wood, Chairman of The Wood Foundation said “This project aims to support entrepreneurial activity within our student, academic and graduate communities. It is directly aligned with the regional economic renaissance agenda, led by Opportunity North East, which includes growing our entrepreneurial environment to enable more business creation and growth across all industry sectors.” The accelerator will also link with the recently launched Innovation Skills programme, where students will get access to extracurricular courses in a range of innovation topics.

Please contact innovation@rgu.ac.uk for the most up-to-date information on the entrepreneurship accelerator competition.

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Get socially connected This issue’s Get socially connected takes its cues from the recent alumni survey. You asked to hear more about individual school news and that will be the focus of this feature. You can stay connected with RGU Alumni on the social media channels highlighted below, but you can also follow the university’s different schools in their own unique ways.

To the nines. The ninth edition of our fashion magazine is now available to view online.

Find us on Facebook with RGU Alumni

Follow us on Twitter @AlumniRGU

“To all those that have supported RGU’s extraordinary people, places and projects through donations to the RGU @RGUFoundation thank you!”

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Search LinkedIn for Robert Gordon Alumni


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“Check out the new and exciting Scott Sutherland School yearbook, showcasing innovative projects and some thought provoking position articles.”

“A very special day on campus as we bid farewell to future leaders from the University of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia who have taken part in two weeks of intensive learning at RGU.”

“Getting under the skin #SimMan3G @ Laerdal_UK Workshop #SGASPiH15 @ SimGHOSTS @ASPiHUK”

Graduate in a Twitter Moment Social media channels filled with the hashtag #RGUGrad as thousands of students became alumni at graduation. There’s no shortage of selfies online with gown-clad graduates launching their mortarboard-like caps skyward. There may even be an occasional StageClip to view. But, the best bits have been collected into a Twitter Moment by @AlumniRGU for everyone to enjoy.


From bricks to insulation Q&A with Mentor Tom Stewart The Architecture Mentoring Programme aims to give first year architecture students an early taste of the professional industry and the chance to develop professional relationships by learning from chartered architects who are also alumni of RGU. Tom Stewart is one such alumnus, pictured above, who graduated with a Master’s of Architecture in 2012 and now works for Camphill Architecture & Development. We interviewed Tom to find out why he wanted to take part and what his hopes are for the programme. Why did you want to take part in the Architecture Mentoring programme? It’s a good opportunity to get back and be involved with RGU. I feel like they were a great help to me in building my confidence throughout my time at university. One of the things I think could have been even better was getting more early involvement – from a student perspective – with professionals to humanise it a bit more. For me, I was quite fortunate that my uncle was an architect. I got to spend the odd week in the summer in his office. It’s still quite daunting to go into an office environment, as a student, on your

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placement. It’s a good opportunity to show that we’re all human and we’ve all been through the same processes. What do you think of the idea? I think it’s great, and I’m glad there’s been folk keen to do it as early as first year, as well because it’s scary enough just trying to take in the course. I think it’s really encouraging. It shows that the things you’re learning are relevant. I didn’t have a clue what you actually did day-to-day as an architect when I started university. I just knew I was interested in buildings and how they were designed. What is the first thing you are going to show your mentees? I’ve brought along some examples of early stage projects to show that what


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they’re learning does relate and that there’s a similar process that happens as well, and to give them an idea of what I’m working on moving forward. What are your hopes for the programme? It’s the pilot, so I’m really keen to see how it progresses. I think the guys have done a great job so far in getting people to engage and hopefully, we can learn a few things on how to improve it if it keeps going.

Did you visit your mentor’s practice? The interesting thing was that every one of us went to a different practice, so everyone got a different experience. It wasn’t just about us gaining experience from the mentor, it was also about us students meeting and sharing the experience between us. Tell us about the site visit. It was probably the most interesting part of the whole programme because you can actually see the result of what

“I know what I’m going to do now and I’m excited to pursue my studies.” Tell us about your job. Camphill Architecture specialise in design for people with learning difficulties. That’s what I focused my Master’s thesis on because my younger brother, Jack, is autistic. I’ve known about Camphill since before I started uni. It’s only the last year I’ve been working with them. I got chartered elsewhere and I managed to get a job with them eventually. They’ve given me so much creative control. Post mentorship with Mentee Dalibor Baran What do you think of the programme? It basically takes seven years to become an accredited architect. If you’re studying such a long course, you want to know that what you’ll be doing at the end of it will be worth it. I know what I’m going to be doing now and I’m excited to pursue my studies.

you will be doing. You’re designing something to be changed or built and we were able to go there and see it happening and see all the building requirement being put in place – everything from bricks to insulation.


Focus on a benefit Get alumni discount from RGU Sport RGU Sport has a history of helping to develop world class athletes, and it’s been the training ground for many Olympic competitors and medallists. Graduates can gain membership to the centre at a discounted rate by using their RGU Alumni Network Card. Included in a full alumni membership is access to the gyms, pool and a number of classes for all fitness levels. You can crunch those abs at Abs Blast, step-it-up at Body Pump or return to form with some chair based yoga. To benefit from the discount, you’ll need to have an Alumni Network Card. The card also allows access to many other benefits, like library membership and discount from the on-campus physiotherapy clinic. Get your RGU Alumni Network Card by emailing service@alumni.rgu.ac.uk with your name, date of birth and current address. If you’re not near campus, RGU Sport will still encourage fitness transformations with its workout word-of-the-week. By following the facility on social media, you’ll see that each letter of the alphabet is assigned a different exercise and intensity. Use the letters of the word-of-the-week to get your full workout.

The latest membership pricing can be found in the RGU Sport pages of the university’s website.

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Alumni snapshot Helping OEMs access Indian markets Vaibhav Bode completed his Master’s of Business Administration from RGU in 2005 and used the knowledge and skills he gained to propel himself from Client Service Engineer to Project Manager and now to CEO of his own globallyminded business. Inventius Technologies works with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from the US, UK, the rest of Europe — and anywhere that next-generation software development is taking place — to help them explore the growing Indian market. Vaibhav said: “I was working in the UK for around 20 years in the oil and gas industry. For personal reasons, I had to relocate back to India to take care of family. When I was there, I noticed that there was a big push given to the

we thought we should explore those opportunities. “Slowly, we started tapping the OEMs in the UK, Europe and US and they wanted to

OEMs for ten totally different technologies, from artificial intelligence to robotics to security software. When asked about

have access to the Indian market, which has access to 1.3 billion people.” Over time, Vaibhav and his friends established a network of channel partners

entrepreneurial advice, Vaibhav said: “There will be a lot of times when you’re not sure if you have to jump in or if you should wait. Most of the time you are forced to take

“Don’t wait until that moment – you look for your opportunity and you take it.” digital India programme by the government. We identified a lot of gaps that could be turned into opportunities. Along with three of my friends,

and distributers that would take new technologies to the end-customer. Using their established network, they were able to sign off ten

that decision and only then do you make that decision. Don’t wait until that moment – you look for your opportunity and you take it.”


Building RGU’s worldwide community

Taking university to our global alumni RGU is proud of its almost 90,000 alumni spanning many countries across the globe. We hear regularly about the pride these alumni have in their university – and their eagerness to support and shape even greater success for the university in the future. We also know there is a great demand to connect back to RGU, and explore other ways in which people can stay connected. As part of an ongoing commitment to serve alumni

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across our global community, you may have noticed recently through LinkedIn or elsewhere a significant increase in alumni programmes outside of Aberdeen. We’ve spent time over the last few months bringing alumni communities together in Beijing, Shanghai, Houston and Calgary – and closer to home in London and the Central Belt. We’ve also worked closely with alumni groups in Zurich and Amsterdam, as well as initiated some work in Hong Kong. This

is all part of an expanded and focused global engagement programme – to explore the possible! Connecting our alumni in key centres outside of Northeast Scotland is part of much larger objectives: to foster alumni coming together more readily as a part of the RGU community, to serve our alumni as a core and lifelong partner of the university, and to expand the global profile and reputation of RGU. While there has been work


Mark speaking with China University of Petroleum’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Yao Jun, in Qingdao

done in the past, we are in the early stages of a revamped approach. As part of the university taking a more active role in serving the broader alumni population, our first step will be to establish a network of alumni leaders and communities. It is through this network that we can best serve people in their local regions, and build the global network. Next, we’re developing the

this content regularly to our alumni communities, and regularly seek ways to support alumni and university growth by showcasing and sharing excellence from RGU alumni and academic staff. And, we’ll support increased alumni connectivity – within communities, between communities, and across the larger graduate population. As much as we may like to, we also know we can’t be

we can extend services and the ability to connect more readily to all alumni – be they in Mauritius, Moscow, or downtown Manchester. RGUConnect will bring you closer to other RGU graduates – and bring more of the university to your ‘digital front door.’ Our commitment to alumni engagement is undergoing a big transition here at RGU. With a firm commitment to

Our commitment to alumni engagement is undergoing a big transition here at RGU range of programming we can offer – with the objective of delivering a collection of intellectually-stimulating content, professional enrichment programming and career support, and greater access to alumni communities. We’ll bring

everywhere, and there are alumni in many other locations equally important to us as partners and as members of the RGU community. To that end, we’re busily working on a number of initiatives – most notably a digital engagement platform – through which

also serve those folks who stay to work and live in Aberdeen and the shire, we know the new global programme will benefit alumni worldwide. Stay tuned for more announcements in 2018-19 including planned events in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.

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Then RGIT; now RGU A group of Dietetics alumna have met at each other’s homes every year since graduating in 1979. This year, they decided to return to campus to see what’s changed. At the time of the group’s studies, the institution was known as Robert Gordon’s Institute of Technology (RGIT).

Then, Lorna Walters: Our 4th year was a two term dietetic placement, plus a six week catering placement. We shadowed a dietitian for a week then were left to get on with it. Supervision was much more about debriefing at the end of the day and hoping that you didn’t get too much wrong in between. Now, Lorna McHattie: There is a fantastic clinical skills lab, which looks exactly like a hospital ward with CCTV. Students have ample opportunity to practice communications skills, review their own performance and learn before they actually start talking to real patients. In addition, there is now a system of expert patients who allow the students to practice their communication skills and clinical decision-making under the watchful eye of lecturers who can give quick feedback. Then, Barbara Yule: What I have gained from my time at RGIT is a great group of friends who have been there for life’s ups and downs and are still supportive to this day. I spent a week at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital for my paediatric experience, then it was off to Leicester’s Groby Road Hospital for my ‘complementary’ training and my introduction to SML profiles for classifying lipid abnormalities — never saw them in use again! Now, Barbara Joyner: I was so impressed with the preparation student dietitians now have before they are ‘let loose’ on patients in their placements. My dietetic career ended when I had my family; I realised dietetics was never really for me, but I used my experience and knowledge elsewhere. I trained as an NCT breastfeeding counsellor and sat on the local Community Health Council and Maternity Services Liaison Committee.

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Then, Irene Thom: My recollection of practical training was extremely positive. I had wanted to be a dietitian from 11 years of age, but really struggled academically in school and during my time at RGU — with many resits along the way. Turns out, that was due to lack of effort rather than lack of ability. However when I was let loose on patients, I just loved it and knew this was what I had wanted to do all along. Now, Irene Stables: I was so impressed by the new facilities RGU has to offer and the progressive approach to developing knowledge and skill. I think I would have fared far better during those college years if that type of training had been available to me at that time. Then, Jeanie Whitton: It’s true, we were thrown in at the deep end and were expected to hold clinics and see patients very soon after arriving at our main placement hospital, having had no clinical experience during our time at RGIT as it was then. Now, Jeanie Baker: When my children were small, I worked at local GP surgeries doing a few clinics a week: weight management, diabetic and cholesterol lowering advice mainly. I then did the first course of the Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Dietetics. I subsequently taught on the course. I then wrote to all of the football clubs in the area, which led to me working at Scunthorpe United for 22 years. Then, Alison Young: I did, however, get to spend time at Great Ormond Street — and spent some time in sole charge at Hackney Hospital when the basic grade dietitian walked out and the senior dietitian went off sick as a result. Steep learning curve! Now, Alison Davidson: Seeing around RGU the other weekend made me think it would be great to be a student now. It was wonderful to see the new RGU building and see how things have moved on. Then, Mandy Reeman: I don’t actually have many negative memories of clinical placements, though the girls know my memory is not good at the best of times. I loved my placements in Ninewells, Bristol and Truro — all completely different. Now, Mandy Reeman-Clark: What a great experience it was to get a guided tour of the current RGU. My overwhelming feeling was how exciting it must be to be doing this course now. It really made me want to come back and do it all again — without the hard work, angst and exams of course.

Next year will mark the group’s 40th get-together and they’re looking to add more alumni from the class of 1979 to the trip. Email ldm.mchattie@gmail.com to join them.


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Save the date

Photo by Anete Lusina

Head to RGU’s website for further details about upcoming programmes

SEP RGU Rainbow Film Nights

DAY

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TIME 17:00 20:00

Join us for a free screening of ‘The Comedian’ as part of the monthly RGU Rainbow Film Nights

OCT MBA Alumni gathering

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19:00 22:00

MBA alumna Sumin Kim is organising the third gathering event for fellow MBA students and alumni in Aberdeen.

AMBA Connect

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18:00 21:30

An evening for MBA alumni from AMBA-accredited programmes to meet, exchange insights and hear from business leaders

Innovation Masterclass: Dr Rick Shangraw

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17:15 18:15

A presentation with Dr Rick Shandgraw, CEO of Arizona State University Enterprise Partners

Innovation Masterclass: Charles P Skene A talk by entrepreneur Charles P Skene, Founder of the Skene Group

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17:15 18:15


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Global alumni map RGU is hugely proud of the achievements of its rich and diverse global alumni community who represent all cultures and backgrounds, and who are now making a positive impact all over the world. Our Global Alumni Map will be your connection to more than 85,000 alumni living in 168 countries.

You can view the full map on our website and see how many alumni we have living in different countries all around the world. Click the link below to add yourself to our Global Alumni Map and share a memory of your time at RGU. We will then include your profile in our bespoke map that will be launched later in the year.

You can add to the interactive map here


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The expert witness Andrew’s unexpected career journey Story by Andrew B Brown, Chief Security Officer of Jesuit Refuge Centre, Expert Witness and alumnus I came to academia after 25 years of operational policing, predominately over the Highlands & Islands of Scotland. My role in professionalising leadership training for the Police in

Scotland led me to a position at the Scottish Police College where, shortly after arrival, I quickly saw the benefit of an academic evidence base in policing. Inspired, I became an

Associate at the Scottish Institute for Policing Research to further my research on the role of hostage/crisis negotiators, dealing with the alarming rates of suicide in Scotland. Quickly enrolling into research studies at RGU, I immediately saw the benefits of my varied practical experience in academic study. Encouraged by this, I successfully applied for a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to further my research into hostage/crisis negotiation with the New York Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation. With cops, you need to be able to demonstrate your practical ability as well as your academic research, otherwise your credibility is shot down in flames. Undaunted, having proved my worth, I lectured and taught hostage negotiators from across the United States, before being invited to co-edit a book on Modern Piracy & Maritime Terrorism by my Professor in New York. Returning to Scotland and the ‘day job’ was a challenge, but one that encouraged me


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Taught hostage negotiators from across the United States to continue my studies and to undertake a Doctorate in Professional Practice at RGU on a part-time basis. Working full-time and undertaking study at this level is more of a marathon and a constant juggling act, but one that is very worthwhile. As I approached my retirement after 30 years of policing, I had a transition plan to take a year off, enjoy my hobbies and importantly relish being a Dad again at the age of 51, but life had other plans for me! With my combined academic study, publications and repute in the world of

Andrew co-authored Modern Piracy and Maritime Terrorism: The Challenge of Piracy for the 21st Century

hostage/crisis negotiation, I was commissioned to review the negotiators tactics deployed at the Lindt CafÊ Siege, Sydney (December 2014) for the coronial inquiry as an expert witness. Shortly after that I was invited to become the Chief Security Officer for an International Non-Governmental Organisation based in Rome, operating across 53 countries to help thousands of refugees in educational attainment — from primary schooling all the way through to university education. I continue to travel to the

United States to teach both law enforcement and the military in how to negotiate with some of the complexities that we face with Islamic State terrorism. My corporate work has led me to teach the skills used in hostage/crisis negotiation to business and sport at the highest levels. There is no doubt in my mind that my time at RGU, the study that I undertook and the support that I received, helped me to transition smoothly from a career in policing to having my own consultancy where I continue to help others across the world improve their lives.


The global difference In order to help our graduates who want to become expatriates, we asked alumni around the globe to tell us how their workplace culture differs to the UK’s.

in Muscat, Oman Insight from Maan Alasfoor, Business Development Manager and alumnus, BA Hons Mechanical Engineering (2000) We are generally a very hospitable society. I think most expats would be welcome, so far as they commit themselves to the sharing and transfer of knowledge. If they are committed to this and are active in local and Omani development, then I know for a fact that — almost always — they end up staying for a long time. In some cases, they will find that other opportunities become available for them. Whether they know Arabic or not does not make a difference. What matters most is being empathetic with the culture, the difference in work ethics and respecting differences in dealing with competency gaps and performance. For CVs, there is a huge dependency on the British system. The layout used is still the same as what I learned at RGU. There are a few large, international organizations that attract the best talent and offer meaningful placements. If the opportunity exists, seek advice, be knowledgeable about your material and present yourself in a positive manner. Who knows? Your opportunity might translate into a job prospect.

28 Photo by Ben White


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Research RGU Research magazine overiew by Professor Paul Hagan, Vice Principal for Research

Photo by Riccardo Annandale

RGU’s Board has endorsed an ambitious plan to support research excellence with the largest research investment ever made by the university. The phased release of up to £27m over the next ten years will be used to build critical mass in targeted areas where we have established research leadership. Building on the success of Professors David Gray (Sustainable Transport), Richard Laing (Built Environment Visualisation), Linda Lawton (Industrial Biotechnology), John McCall (Smart Data and Artificial Intelligence) and Derek Stewart

(Pharmacy Practice), the plan aims to stimulate excellence in interdisciplinary research by recruiting additional research leaders to strengthen their groups and add value and diversity to their ground-breaking research programmes. RGU’s research will remain focused on delivering innovative research solutions for business and industry that provide economic, societal, environmental and cultural benefits. The expanded research teams will be supported with cohorts of postdoctoral research assistants and postgraduate research

students. A ‘pump-priming’ fund will be available to support interdisciplinary projects and integrated training programmes for postgraduates and early career researchers will help embed interdisciplinary working in our next generation of researchers. The investment is expected to deliver an increase in the volume and scale of successful external grant awards, an increase in publications in quality journals and an improved international reputation. Follow the link in the image above to find out more about RGU’s plans for research..


Did you hear? Follow your curiosity “The [LGBT] history month attempts to celebrate the fact that gays, lesbians, bisexuals, they’re not something new that has popped out of the woodwork since 1981 in Scotland when consenting activities between men were legalised. It’s happened throughout history.”

Kandyce Powell, Executive Director “I am honored to accept this position in order to continue ground-breaking collaborative work with my colleagues at the Maine State Prison, the Maine Department of Corrections (MDOC) and Robert Gordon University.”

Dr Duncan Cockburn, Equality Champion

Since RGU offers an HRM degree, I wouldn’t consider doing it anywhere else. Ava Sim, recent graduate

“I’ve met amazing people, and had to work so hard, but had the best time.” Edward Pollock, recent graduate

“By discussing our ideas and believing in each other we have accomplished far more than we would have done as individuals. I thank RGU for welcoming us into their family and will always remember my time here fondly.”

Mohammed Al-Ghandi, University of Jeddah student

“Thanks to a lifetime of competing nationally in Highland dancing, and that’s brought me into contact with many professionals, such as chiropractors, physiotherapists and dance teachers.” Natalie Moir, recent graduate

RGU Alumni Magazine 2018 issue three  
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