John Dunn is Operations Manager at British Airways but is about to change job & company to become SAP Systems/IT Service Delivery Line Manager for Hewlett Packard. He graduated in 1992 with a BSc in Physics & Applied Physics.
After graduation, I became an Air Traffic Controller with the Civil Aviation Authority for approximately 2 years; I then took a year out to work/travel to Hong Kong, S.E. Asia and Australasia. On my return to the UK, I worked for BA Reservations in Glasgow before relocating to Heathrow, and latterly Newcastle. My roles within BA have mostly focused on Operational Management for Sales/Reservation Telecoms and IT systems, and also for helping drive future exploitation of technology within the business (for example, Speech Recognition systems. try their Flight Arrivals and Departures number!). At present, I manage a department responsible for a range of operational and management projects covering key business and technology systems. It is supporting and delivering changes within the business that I know help make BA the success it is today that gives me the most satisfaction from my job.
I chose physics because I was interested science and technology at school and wanted to know 'why things were the way they were'. Although I never went on to explicitly have a career in Physics, I have used lots of skills that I learned at Strathclyde to take my career to places that I would have struggled to reach otherwise. This is especially true of my ability to quickly understand and master a large range of complex business/IT systems and requirements, exploit mathematical formulae (using spreadsheets, and/or writing Visual Basic programs) to quickly analyse a vast array of business data (which allows good decision making) and to automate processes where possible.
Apart from Beer, Girls and the Student Union, the things I enjoyed about Strathclyde were meeting new friends, having lots of fun, and getting my hands on to some really cool 'techy' equipment. Due to the way my mind works, I need to understand fully why something 'is the way it is' - I need to have a picture/concept in my mind and so the Applied part of the course (that is, practical Lab work) really made me 'tick'.
Away from physics, running the University Hang Gliding club gave me a taste for flying, and through Air Traffic Control managed to become a qualified private pilot. I still enjoy flying (although it’s too expensive now) as well as Sailing 34 foot Yachts, listening to and making music and DIY (I’m a very practical person, even the wife agrees!).
In the future, I want to continue into higher levels of management, both people management, and IT/systems management. I really enjoy being part of deciding business strategy, i.e. deciding on our next ambitious step to make our business more efficient, or take/keep us ahead of our competitors.