Daniel Black

BSc (Hons) Computer Studies - 2003
Regional VP Assurance and Analytics Sales - Asia Pacific and Middle East

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Why choose GCU

I travelled to Glasgow to see Strathclyde and Glasgow universities. Both fine institutions but I wanted something newer and fresh. I wanted to be part of a university that was building its legacy and challenging the others, not one that was set in its ways and had older facilities that needed updating.

What was most important

I could sound flippant and make a joke about the student union being the most important thing to me but in all seriousness it was a huge part of my life at GCU. Its where I got to know my new flatmates in student halls and started to feel an independance. I started at GCU at the age of 17 so couldn't get into nightclubs and bars right away. The union was a safe place for me to experience night life for the first time. I used it more for relaxing and playing pool during the later years but it was a huge part of the massive adventure of first year. I know when being asked for the 'most' you want a single answer but I have to include the library. I started university before we all had the internet at home so the library was very important. It was also a place to go and get some quiet time to study when your flatmates were wanting to party.

Biggest lesson learned

My biggest lesson was just how important a degree can be. I had to work as a doorman while I was studying to help pay my bills. I became a little despondent about my studies and after failing a couple of exams I walked away from my degree. The reaction I got from people around me at work when I asked for more hours and to be more involved in management was a surprise. People who had worked very hard to achieve what they had all told me to go back to university. I didnt get it when I was first at university but taking that time out and working in a low paid job for a year made me appreciate why I should be there. I went back and completed my modules in the summer to rejoin my course again and never looked back.

Describe GCU

GCU is environment where everyone is welcome to come and study. I made friends from all walks of life at all ages. The mixture of wealth, ethnicity, age etc made my whole experience in GCU a real life experience. I came from a poor background and the university were there to help me when I needed it most. They welcomed me back after I left and worked with me to help me achieve my goals. Is that the common good? Its good for me but I know there's lots of people like me who couldnt have made it in other universities. That is driving the common good.

Who inspires you

I'm often inspired by more controversial figures. Not because I like them or agree with them but because regardless of their politics, theories, business approach etc. there's always some excellent points to learn from them. They may break rules, do things we don't agree with or have opinions we don't care for but its foolish not to analyse what makes them succeed. Jordan Belfort for example created great wealth through unlawful practices certainly but he was a success at this because he had charisma, because he was able to understand what makes other people tick, because he had the courage to make something from nothing. He couldn't have achieved what he achieved without these skills and desires to be successful. He could however, in my opinion, been a success without the need to go down the path he took.

What's next for you

My ambitions always change. I'm a firm believer in trying to have a 5 year plan, something to aspire to but don't get hung up on it if it doesn't happen. Just adapt the plan. I'm enjoying my role and always want to progress in my career. I believe in using stretch zones to keep me motivated and moving forward. I've made career moves when I've started to feel comfortable and competent because that when i get complacent. That being said, I have 2 little girls now and I've been enjoying lockdown at home with them and not always on a plane somewhere. I'm in my 40's now (hard to say it out loud). So my work/life balance is more important than it once was. I would say while I am still ambitious, the 'big' ambitions I may have once had for myself have changed to the ambitions I have for my children. So my focus is on how to set them up for success in whatever they chose to do.

Anything else 

I hope to return to GCU some day to do further study. Even if its just some short courses or seminars. I'm proud to be an alumni of GCU and to see if progress in stature. I've often in life felt different or like an outsider and I think that's perhaps why I chose to go to GCU when my friends all went to other universities at the time. If I could go back in time and give my younger self some advice it would be to get more involved. I joined the Rugby team but not until my 5th year and wish I'd had the courage to join earlier. It would have been good to have had a student mentor when I started, someone to help me come out of my shell and encourage me or support me should I have questions. Perhaps thats something to consider for the future. All that being said, I am who I am today and where I am today because of everything, good or bad, I have experienced in life to date, so I wouldn't change a thing!

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