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Thursday 24 July 2014

Catching up with graduate Alex Friel

Outdoor Adventure Management graduate Alex Friel talks about how his degree has helped him to focus on different aspects of his chosen career path.

I graduated from Southampton Solent two years ago with a degree in Outdoor Adventure Management and since then my career and experiences have gone from strength to strength. Between my second and third year of uni, I spent two summers as a watersports teacher at a premier summer camp near Boston, Massachusetts.

It gave me greater exposure to the different aspects and styles of coaching, but the experience made me realise that I wasn’t cut out to be a good coach or teacher.

So, after returning to the UK, I decided to capitalise on the knowledge I gained from the business units of my course at Solent and apply to small businesses around London. I was hired to work as a Junior Account Manager for a hotel consultancy company.

I learnt so much about accountancy, tax and revenue, client relationships, data analytics and HR from this office job in 18 months; and went on business trips to Dublin, Vancouver, Hawaii and Los Angeles!

Alex Friel in NYC

With all these newly acquired skills it was time to move forward, so I applied to The Mountbatten Programme, which is a one-year long internship in New York City alongside a PG Certificate in International Business Practise.

My application was successful and before I knew it I was recruited by Citi private bank and living like a student once again at an apartment complex in New Jersey.

Currently, I’m employed as a Client Solutions Analyst which means I maintain the client relationship database for the Citi bankers and help management identify new ways of enhancing the client’s user experience; and I love it!

Although I realised I wasn’t cut out to be a sports coach, it hasn’t prevented me from participating in sports. At Solent, I was a keen runner, cyclist, surfer, kayaker, wakeboarder and footballer. As I’m employed full-time I concentrate most of my free time on running, cycling and playing football.

I’ve not lost what I learned from my Outdoor Adventure Management degree at Solent.

Without the business knowledge I gained, I wouldn’t have been recruited by my first company which led me to New York. And without the sport knowledge, I wouldn’t have run the London Marathon this year, whilst training for both New Jersey and Chicago marathons in a few months time and aspiring to an Ironman Triathlon in a few years from now!