Aberdeen man hits hole-in-one with an MSc with distinction

An Aberdeen golf enthusiast has taken the negative of redundancy and turned it into a huge positive after graduating with an MSc IT for the Oil and Gas Industry with distinction and securing a new job.

Chris Cambell (33) had worked in various roles in the energy sector for 10 years and found himself as one of the many redundancies being made in 2015 as part of the ongoing downturn in the industry.

While spending some time on the golf course considering his options, he decided to look to what the Universities were offering and after speaking with RGU course leader, Dr David Lonie, he made up his mind, a decision which was further cemented by the offer of a fully funded place through the Scottish Government.

“I had been looking to do an MSc since 2010, however the courses on offer at that time were either too much on the IT or the engineering side,” Chris said.

“Then I became a statistic of the downturn and instead of dwelling on it, I decided to use my redundancy as an opportunity.

“I came across the MSc IT for the Oil and Gas Industry course which seemed a perfect follow on from what I had been doing collectively in the industry for the past 10 years. It offered a great balance between IT and Oil and Gas engineering and petroleum geoscience, while offering me new skills in software development, IT service management, and intranet systems development.”

Chris was kept busy throughout his studies, initially working part-time for a local service provider and then setting up his own business, but the focus was always on the MSc and graduation.

“Generally for the past year, if I wasn't studying, I was working and that included any of the holidays we had from Uni, but the course was always my focus. For me I felt the more I put into the course, the more I would get out of it.

“To be able to leave RGU 10 years after obtaining my first degree with an MSc and to do it with distinction is just the proudest moment for myself in my academic career.”

To make things harder, Chris was also suffering from an illness which affects around 200,000 people in the UK.

“I also had to manage through the course with a condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is a progressive form of inflammatory arthritis. It mainly affects the spine, but can also affect other joints, tendons and ligaments. For me it mainly affects my neck, which usually meant lots of stretching and painkillers to get through a lot of studying. It’s difficult to describe but it’ a bit like being the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz and not being able to find a tin of oil!”

And now after graduation, Chris is hoping, among other things, to have a bit of time to get back out on the golf course.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back into golf again next season! I've recently started working full time as a Principal Consultant with Wipro Ltd which is keeping me busy following the completion of my course.

“I generally hope we are starting to see a stabilisation in the oil and gas market, but I also hope that this will encourage more innovative, collaborative, and ambitious ideas to come to the fore to help drive the industry forward, particularly from a technology perspective.”


Release by Rob Smith
Communications Officer | Design and Technology
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