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Grant Thompson – Alumni

Why did you choose Strathclyde in the first place? 
Strathclyde was the right choice for me because the Electronic and Electrical Engineering department at Strathclyde has distinguished itself as one of the best in the world. They are also the only engineering department in Scotland to be included in the Power Academy, which offered internships to the right students. I applied through the scheme in my first year to the MAST (Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak) which is the UK’s fusion energy experiment, based at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. I got through the first several rounds and managed a tour and a very intensive interview at the reactor. I didn’t actually get the internship, but to get as far as I did was amazing.
 
Why did you choose your degree?
I have always been particularly gifted with electronics, electricity and computers. I just ‘get it’ and my knowledge of electronics coupled with programming limits my products only by my imagination. When starting out on a project I always like to imagine that the computer can do anything, I just need to tell it how. Its the same with electrical circuits, same basic principles with a few variations in ‘rules’ to take into account.
 
Nowadays many graduates are finding themselves on different career path than their chosen degree, how did you find yourself in computing?
Having been repairing computers from the age of 12, software was a natural progression for me. I never really felt the need to go to university to learn computing, as everyone will always have a slightly different style of programming from everyone else. It’s like writing a book. So instead I decided to learn something that I was still good at, but that perhaps I didn’t know inside out. I guess I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life at that point, and university was a good excuse to have all the advantages of being a student, in a course that I liked, which gave me more time to decide what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life.
 
How did you go about starting your own company? 
I’ve never really been very interested in working for anyone else. I have always has some sort of “business” since I was 12 years old. I was asked to help out with the computers at secondary school and taught a course of programming classes at my local community center. All the time building computers for people in the know, or repairing computers that suffered form a variety of ailments. Currently my business partner and I are starting a company called LDV Systems. Things are looking good for us at the moment as well and the company looks set for success.
 
If you went back would you change anything or do anything differently?
I think one of the most important things in life is not to have any regrets. Sure, like everyone, it would have been ideal if the road was easy and absent of wrong turns and potholes, but you cant be angry about it or regret anything. After all, your here today, able to laugh, dance and love! I think you just have to be happy and grateful for what you’ve got!
 
Is there any advice you would give to graduates either about starting their own company/ life after university?
Don’t live your life for anyone else apart form yourself. Do what makes you happy, keep trying, never give up, and eventually you’ll be exactly where you want to be. If you always do exactly what you want at the time, how can you look back and have any regrets?
 
Carly Ramsay3rd Year Undergraduate StudentStudying Geography and Law 
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