The University of Southampton

Oliver Blacklock MEng Information Engineering, 2000 PhD in signal processing, 2004

Technical Project Lead, Gill R&D Ltd

At Gill R&D I have been given various roles and responsibilities, including setting up a research team, taking responsibility for the company's patent portfolio, and taking the lead on major new development projects. These opportunities have all been very exciting, and each change brings new challenges and opportunities to learn.

Your few years at University are the most precious and privileged opportunity that you'll probably ever get. Use every moment of your time there to discover yourself and your potential.

My advice to current students thinking about their future careers would be that electronics can be applied in such diverse fields – from medical and meteorological, to telecommunications, media and military. Consider the way you want to shape the world, because you will. Don't be coerced into doing anything you don't believe is right. Be bold enough to set out on your own and create your own business if you get the opportunity.

My Southampton highlights
I really enjoyed the fourth year projects of my Masters degree, and my whole PhD was great. I met lots of amazing people who have had a profound and lasting effect on me. Also joining clubs was a great way to get into new experiences.

I joined a local sailing club (Weston) and got back into sailing. I joined a local folk/rock/bluegrass band (The Yokels) and we played regularly in Bevois Valley. I also joined the riding club, and the cricket club. And then I joined the University polo club and learnt to play polo, which was awesome!

Growing as a person at Southampton
Meeting people from so many different backgrounds and studying different subjects, with different interests, gave me a much broader and balanced perspective than I had when I left school. I got involved in many debates (though never a member of the debating society!) that challenged my assumptions, which is an essential aspect of personal development.

If you’re starting your degree at Southampton, I would say you should try to meet as many different people as you can, from different backgrounds, studying different courses, by joining clubs and societies. Your few years at University are the most precious and privileged opportunity that you'll probably ever get. Use every moment of your time there to discover yourself and your potential.

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