Alumni Spotlight Series

Bite-size career tips from UofG professionals

Ken McCallum

Ken McCallum (Mathematics BSc 1996) is the Director General of MI5. Over his 20+ years career he has been responsible for keeping the country safe across key events in UK history, including the London Olympic Games and Glasgow Commonwealth Games. In this spotlight, we discuss early career drivers, from sporting leadership at University, to the political landscape he found himself graduating in. We learn what motivates him through an undoubtedly difficult role, and find out what kind of person you need to be to work at MI5 (spoiler: it might not be what you think!)

Ken gave the 2023 Bowman Lecture titled: Maths and MI5: The calculations that keep the country safe. Watch the full lecture here.

Mark Johnston

Mark Johnston (BVMS 1983) is Britain's most successful Flat Horse Racing Trainer of all time. Before setting up Johnston Racing in 1987, which today boasts over 5,000 wins, Mark qualified as a vet while studying at the University of Glasgow. Today, he runs one of Britain's most successful racehorse training yards, which he shares with his son Charlie. In the spotlight, we take a trip down memory lane as Mark recounts his early education, career, and favourite memories of Glasgow. We learn the (simple) secret to his success, what makes the Vet alumni community unique, and why he chooses to support his Alma Mater.

David Zuo

David Zuo (MA 2018) is a product manager at Epic Games. His passion for gaming started from a young age, but it wasn't until taking an introductory gaming module in Glasgow that he first considered it as a career. As product manager for Fall Guys, David saw 50 million players in the first two weeks, making it one of the most successful game launches in history. In 2023, he was named in the Forbes 30 under 30 list. In this spotlight, we discuss the role that Dr Who played in David's decision to come to Glasgow, how his ambitions changed, and the path that shaped his career to date. David shares his top tips for making it in the industry, and shares some of his favourite memories from studying at Glasgow.

Neah Evans

Neah Evans (BVMS) is professional racing cyclist, Olympian, and world champion. In her specialism of track endurance, she has represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games, European Championships and World Championships, and Scotland at the Commonwealth Games. In her spotlight, Neah shares the unique path that led her from vet student to professional cyclist, her proudest achievements to date, and why it's so important to give things a chance.

Kirsty Hassard

Kirsty Hassard (MA 2010, MLitt 2014) is a curator at V&A Dundee. She is the co-curator of Tartan, a celebratory exhibition that explores the legacy of Scotland's iconic threads. In this spotlight, Kirsty shares the creative and logistic process that goes into curating s large-scale exhibition, the key learnings from both her undergrad in History and Masters in Dress and Textile Histories at UofG, and her advice for those looking to enter the museums industry. 

Dr Owase Jeelani

Dr Owase Jeelani (MPhil 2005) is a World-renowned Paediatric Neurosurgeon, inventor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. In this spotlight episode, hear the somewhat unconventional motivation that led Dr Jeelani to undertake his masters in medical law at the University of Glasgow. Learn what motivates him to keep learning, and the events that led him to founding the charity Gemini Untwined. Owase shares his thoughts on what has led to success, and invites you to do the same.

Kimmy Sim

Kimmy Sim took a sweet leap of faith when she left her corporate job to run a local bakery in Singapore which specialises in an old-school snack: Tau Sar Piah. In this #AlumniSpotlight, learn the motivations that led Kimmy to take this risk, and the transferable skills a University of Glasgow MBA provides.

Rakasree Basu

Rakasree Basu (MsC 2022) is a founder (Frames Per Second Films) and producer, who specialises in Indian co-productions, often with Nordic countries. She is a Creative Industries and Cultural Policy alumna, British Council Creative Economies Scholar, and India-UK Arts Advocacy Ambassador.

Brian McBride

Brian McBride is the former Amazon UK CEO and new president of the Confederation of British Industry. He is Chairman at The Trainline PLC and NED at Abrdn (Standard Life Aberdeen). He is also Lead Non-Executive Director on the Board of the UK’s Ministry of Defence, a UK Government appointment. He is also a Senior Adviser with Scottish Equity Partners.

Ben Mervis

Ben Mervis is a respected food historian, researcher, and author. After graduating, he moved to Copenhagen and worked at 3 Michelin Star Restaurant Noma. He was worked as a contributor and researcher on Netflix's Chef's Table, and is founder of magazine Fare which he started in 2017. In 2022, he released his first book, 'The British Cookbook', authentic home cooking recipes from England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

Robin McKie

Robin McKie is is an award-winning journalist and author who is currently Science & Environment Editor of The Observer. He held the role of editor at the Glasgow University Guardian in the 1971-72 academic year, and counts his days working on the paper some of the happiest in his life. 

Euan Ashley

Dr Euan Ashley is Professor of medicine and genetics & associate dean at Stanford University, where his group is focused on the science of precision medicine. In 2010, he led the team that carried out the first clinical interpretation of the human genome. He is cofounder of three companies, and in 2021 released his first book 'The Genome Odyssey — Medical Mysteries and the Incredible Quest to Solve Them. Dr Ashley and his team are also the World Record Holders for the fastest genome sequencing.

Jason Leitch

Jason Leitch is Scotland's National Clinical Direct the Scottish Government. In 2020 he burst onto the public scene when he played a key role in communicating public health messages to the country throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He has become one of the most familiar faces on Scottish television screens over the past two years, thanks to his ability to convert complicated scientific information into a clear and understandable form for the general public.

Raphaëlle Berger

Director of Discovery Chemistry at Merck & Co