Running his own business
Mark did Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Electronics A Levels and graduated in June 2001.
"I put my attraction to Engineering down to my love of Lego! I did electronics for GCSE as well as A Level and I also enjoyed art at school. Engineering seems to combine all those things and it is an opportunity to apply science and maths in a useful way.
In my second year I won an Engineering Leadership Award from the Royal Academy of Engineering, which is worth £7500, and I used the money to go on a variety of training courses to enhance my engineering skills.
I stayed with electronics, taking Electrical and Information Sciences as my third and fourth year specialist course option. My fourth year project was to make a micro-motor based on magnetic forces. This had not been done before. These motors are smaller than the head of a pin, and I had to work in a clean room. Clean room facilities cost around £2000 a day, so it was a tremendous privilege to work on this project. Motors such as these could be put in an artery to stimulate blood flow and break up clots, so they have the potential to save lives.
I was also part of the team of students from Cambridge University who went to Japan to take part in 'Robocon', a TV show involving designing and building robots. I spent three weeks in and around Tokyo, and we had all our expenses paid, which was terrific. Climbing Mount Fuji to see the sunrise was unforgettable - especially as it was pouring with rain!
In my final year I was involved with the Cambridge University Entrepreneurs Society. During this time I prepared a business plan, to take part in a competition, for a company that I hoped to set up. I actually did set up the company a week after graduating, having found people who were prepared to invest in my idea through this society. I now have some office space and am employing another person to work on developing the technology behind my idea. My own focus is on raising money and attracting customers, all of which require a broad range of technical skills and knowledge.
I still visit the Engineering Department, as I am based in Cambridge and am keen to promote Engineering in the region. I may set up a research project within the Department, and I am very keen on encouraging other graduates to 'spin off' their ideas and form companies to exploit them as I have done."