Andrew Downie graduated in 2003, having read Mechanical Engineering. Andrew is the founder of the website development company NetBop Technologies Ltd. In 2008, Andrew was profiled by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) as one of the UK’s top six most talented young entrepreneurs.
Why did you decide to study at Swansea University?
On paper I was very impressed with the facilities in the University and the concept of the Student Village. Then having visited Swansea, I really liked the small city feel and of course being by the coast!
What did you enjoy most about your course at Swansea?
I found the Mechanical Engineering course to be really interesting as the modules were varied. I liked the fact that not only did we cover several Engineering disciplines, but also a mix of IT, programming, business and even a basic accountancy module. All of which helped to encompass a well-rounded degree.
What are you doing now career-wise?
I am the Managing Director of NetBop Technologies Ltd, which is a website development company offering a range of internet and e-commerce services to clients across the UK
How has Swansea University and your course helped you with your chosen career path?
I had always had a strong interest in IT and was confident I wanted to run my own business, but wanted to have a degree to fall-back upon should the worst happen. After graduating successfully with a 2:1, I put my plans into place to start my own business and was very grateful for the programmes Swansea University had to help assist with this.
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
The challenges of running your own business are endless and especially so in a time of recession, but continual innovation and out of the box thinking is what can keep you ahead of the competition.
What are the most rewarding parts of your job?
I am always being faced with taking risks, but ensuring they are calculated risks are what I enjoy the most. Seeing things go in the right direction after months of planning is what I find most rewarding.
What was the best careers advice you were given?
At the stage where I was setting up the business a family friend, who was a retired bank manager, used to tell me that he saw lots of people with big dreams, but they were all afraid to pursue them. He then told me a quote from an American naturalist: John Burroughs “Leap and the net will appear” I found it inspirational and the lesson was not to encourage recklessness, but that you must eventually act, believing that the resources you need, will show up when you need them.
What advice do you have for current students and new graduates?
It is important that you plan what you are looking to do after you graduate, ideally before your final year! You want to be first in line for an opportunity of work experience in your chosen sector and planning ahead can really make a difference. If like me, you want to setup your own business, plan ahead whilst still in University so you’re not starting from scratch when you graduate.
What are your plans for the future?
The plans are to continue to grow the business further and ultimately step back and spend a day or two a week to become involved in a new venture.
What have you done that you are most proud of?
Since moving the NetBop offices to Swansea City Centre a few years ago, I have been slowly dedicating time to keeping fit. Over time I now run 3-4 times a week and ran my first Marathon last year in Liverpool. Having enjoyed it so much I am now running the Edinburgh Marathon in May.
What are your favourite memories of your university years at Swansea?
The Spring/Summer months are always what I have always liked about Swansea. On a warm evening being able to go for a run/walk or have a BBQ on the beach is magical.
And finally, describe yourself in 3 words…
Driven, Enthusiastic & Easy-going
Find out more about NetBop Technologies Ltd