University of Surrey 

For Alumni and Supporters

Benjamin Gisvold
BSc Business Management, 2012
Project Manager at First Clarity

What attracted you to choose Surrey and to study your course here?

I chose Surrey primarily because of its good reputation as a university and the course itself had a history of turning out high-calibre students. The business degree offered the opportunity for real-world experience during the course itself (placement year) as well as the chance to integrate a language with degree.

What is your strongest memory of your time at Surrey – what do you picture first when you think of being here?

My strongest memory for my time at Surrey has to be spending summer lunches with friends by the lake.

What is the one thing you would say about Surrey, or the course you studied, to someone who doesn’t know anything about it?

If I were talking to a prospective student, I would tell them to ensure they chose a placement year with their subject wherever possible. It has helped me considerably to get to where I am today.

How did you change as a person during your time as a Surrey student, and how has your time here influenced your life and career since then?

During my time at Surrey, I learned a great deal with regards not only to academic study, but also things such as, time management and public speaking by giving presentations in lectures and tutorials. I also learned a lot about other cultures due to Surrey's links with the international community.

What do you find most enjoyable about your line of work and why?

I work as a digital project manager at an online consultancy, which provides advice and software development to companies such as The Telegraph and News UK (The Times/The Sun). I love the opportunities I'm presented to interact with people in all levels of an organisation, from all over the world. I lead a multi-cultural, multi-disciplined development team in a fast-paced environment where you learn something new every day. There's always a challenge to overcome and finding out how to get around a problem is always fun. I've also learned a great deal with regards to communication in the sense of managing expectations and sometimes giving bad news. All in all, a new experience every day.

What are your top tips for students aspiring to work in your profession?

  • make sure you’re organised
  • get as much work experience as possible - any is better than none
  • do a placement year if you can
  • get as much public speaking experience as you can
  • make sure you know your facts before you convey a message
  • always be willing to learn

Why are you involved in the Forever Surrey Volunteering Programme?

I have been a Scout Leader for six years and volunteered on many projects outside of scouting, which has showed me that it is not always easy to get people to help out, so whenever I can help, I will. Alongside this, a new volunteering opportunity lets you meet new people and as an Alumni Ambassador, I can help prospective students make the right decision about coming to the University.