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Mark Gibson (MSc Project Management 1993)

Biography

I am currently a Partner with Ernst & Young LLP and the Leader Construction and Real Estate Advisory Services in the US. My previous career included British Army, major international construction company (Costain - Commercial Manager Far East), a large project management company (EC Harris - Country Manager Singapore), a US Fortune 500 corporation (NCR - Head of Real Estate), a larger outsourcing company (PwC - Head of US Real Estate Outsourcing) and President of an Architectural Firm (HLW). I currently reside new Low Angeles in California having previously lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Dayton, and New York. I also lecture on PM at Columbia University.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

The Reading MSc was the first choice for all aspiring professionals in construction project management. I was encouraged by my undergraduate lecturers to apply supported by my company at the time. The course had an impressive academic basis, real world lecturers, and some of the most gifted academics in the industry.

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

My fellow students and interacting with the faculty were the best aspects of studying at Reading. Having said that, I still refer to the academic content 20 years later.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Enjoy your time, be inquisitive, challenge and test where appropriate but most of all see this as a time when the foundation for your future success will be builtm and act accordingly.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

I lead the largest real estate and construction advisory practice in the US. See my biography for how I got there - certainly not a straight line! The Reading MSc has played a large part in that journey, giving me flexibility, academic skills and a great foundation for future life.

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

Spend some time at the sharp end of industry, on site, at the commencement of your career. There really is no substitute for understanding how things are built if you wish to work in construction.

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

The Reading MSc has been the foundation for my success. It gave me the knowledge base and confidence to go out and be successful. It has given me an appreciation of the industry, business practices, etc, which cannot be gained quickly in any other way.

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

Be ambitious and don't take no for an answer. Be tenacious and show initiative in finding the ideal position. Seek out networking contacts and be aggressive at seeking out the real decision makers. The best graduates will make themselves a rewarding career; it will not simply come to them.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

My favourite memory is working with professors such as Stuart Green and Ranko Bon. Listening to their intellect and ideas, absorbing, not always agreeing, but certainly listening. I also look back upon the people I was there with. There was only 20 people in the class (my class at Columbia is over 100 each year), and interacting with that group was also highly rewarding. I keep in touch with many despite the fact that we all scattered over the world upon graduation. 

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