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Jayesh Vekaria

Middlesex alumnus Jay VekariaHead of Health, Safety, Quality & Environmental, Arcus Engineering

MSc Risk Management, BA Business Studies & Human Resources Management

What made you choose Middlesex University?

My relationship with Middlesex began when I studied a BA in Business Studies & Human Resource Management at the university. I had a fantastic experience so decided Middlesex would be the ideal place for me to pursue a masters.

I chose Middlesex University for my postgraduate course as it has a great set of core values which the lecturers cascade down to students. The openness and honesty of the lecturers is really inspiring and helps students to build confidence and believe in themselves.

What attracted you to your course and made you apply? 

I selected a masters course in Risk Management as it is an area of specialism that applies to all aspects of business and day-to-day life.

The fact the course was taught by industry practitioners and the content was very balanced helped me to decide it was the right course for me.

What aspects of your course did you enjoy most?

I loved every part of my masters and the fact my classes contained students from all over the world. This cultural mix, alongside great course content offering practical application, and fantastic lecturers made my masters really enjoyable.

As part of the course, guest lecturers came and talked to us and we undertook site visits which were very helpful. Now that I am in industry, I am pleased that I am able to invite current students studying the same course on site visits and participate in being a guest lecturer to both under and postgraduate students.

What were the facilities like at your institution?

Very good. The lecture theatres and classrooms were very well thought of and there were also plenty of breakout areas in the library to hold group discussions.

What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?

Developing great relationships with fellow students and my lecturers. I truly believe Middlesex has a great culture and learning environment. 

I was also very proud of my thesis on driver distraction and risk perception. The thesis was well received and led to a formal article which was published in an international journal.

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?

Be passionate about what you study and do what you feel is right for you. If you love your subject area, the chances are that you will enjoy every aspect of your course and thrive in your career.

How did your course and time at Middlesex help you get to where you are professionally today?

I built my career as a result of the network I developed and the contacts I made during my time at Middlesex University. There were a number of mature students on my course who opened the doors to businesses for me and were willing to share their expertise.

Additionally, the course tutors, who are industry leaders in their own right, still keep in contact and give me great advice. Words can't describe how my life and career changed when I obtained my masters in Risk Management.

Can you give an example of a time when you put the things you learned at Middlesex to practical use?

I put the skills I learnt at Middlesex into practice every day. Risk Management and understanding why people take risk is my day job. One fundamental area I frequently refer to is the impact of risk communication.

What made you choose the industry you work in and what are its pros and cons?

Health, safety and risk management is a great area to work in as it is changing all the time and requires innovation. New graduates often foster this innovation as they challenge the industry norm and try to do things differently.

How did you get your first foot on the career ladder?

I got my first job through a mature student who I met at Middlesex and who was studying a similar course to mine.

What has been your defining career break or highlight to date?

Being appointed Compliance Manager at Tesco Property and Head of HSQE at Arcus Engineering – my current role. Both positions have allowed me to be creative and drive innovation in the way we manage risk.

What are the top three tips you would give to current students and recent graduates who are looking for a similar career to yourself?

Always try and seek out innovative ideas or new approaches to managing risk.

Broaden your horizons by understanding all aspects of the business you work for and the associated impact of different types of risk, e.g., financial, operational, people and customer / service.

Finally do what you are passionate about so you enjoy your work.

What one piece of advice would you give to the 17/18 year old you?

Never give up, there is always a way to succeed. Success is a journey with ups and downs so when there are good times, celebrate, and when there are down times, learn from these so that you continually improve yourself.

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