Silicon Valley alumni return to ANU

27 June 2014

Three of the University’s alumni will visit the campus on Tuesday 15 July to share their experiences in getting to Silicon Valley, California as entrepreneurs. They’re likely to tell students and staff that none of them followed a traditional career pathway.

The alumni are visiting as part of a week-long program hosted by Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), for discussions on the future of learning and classrooms.

Their program includes speaking at graduation ceremonies, running sessions on the future of learning (from their perspective), and presenting at the Silicon Valley Alumni Career Forum.

The forum is aimed at providing advice, networking opportunities and knowledge on careers in technology, innovation and entrepreneurship through their shared experiences.

Open to staff, students and alumni who are looking at creating or reinventing their career path the forum will include appearances by:

-Tim Sears, Founder and CEO of Pingwell, a price-matching website that allows users to share and compare grocery prices;

-Peter Buckingham, Senior Director of Xyratex, a leading data storage technology company; and

-Eoin McMillan, who is the Founder and CEO of software development consultancy SF Dev Labs.

Associate Director of Alumni Relations, Lea Sublett, says all three alumni have come from very different disciplines.

“They’ll tell this story about how sometimes your determination and passion over-rides what it is you study,” she says.

“But the basic elements of an undergraduate degree, or a post-graduate degree in Tim Sears’ case, is that it equips you with the core competencies to go into the workforce and work it all out from there.”

Tim Sears has a 25 year career on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. An American, Sears did his doctoral studies at ANU, and was able to re-invent his career in his late 40’s.

Peter Buckingham is one of four children, all of whom are ANU alumni. His parents wanted him to become a doctor, but he ended up going into science, much to his parents’ horror at the time.

“A career man in his late 30’s, Peter’s brother says he’s very creative, smart and a great talker, something which has helped him on his way into Silicon Valley,” Sublett says.

Eoin McMillan is an Arts and Economics graduate, but is working in technology and start-ups, demonstrating that those who graduate with an Arts degree can work in IT.

“The point of it all is to get people, alumni and graduating students, to think differently about their career pathways,” Sublett says.

“So they come to ANU and study something traditional, but it doesn’t mean their career journey is going to be that.

“The three of them also demonstrate that there is no such thing as a ‘linear career’ these days.”

Organisers say the forum’s goal is also to demonstrate the value in remaining engaged with ANU through the alumni program, which gives access for alumni and students to hear the successful stories of alumni.

When: Tuesday 15 July 2014, 6.00pm to 7.30pm
Where: Australian Centre on China in the World, Building 188,
Fellows Lane, ANU
Online registration by Monday, 7 July 2014

Places are strictly limited.

More information about the forum can be found at the alumni website.