Ten years ago Michael Hall and David Stebbings were sitting in a lecture theatre contemplating life after university - now they're inspiring the next generation of students with their success stories.
The best friends have built careers with high-profile companies and credit De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) with helping them progress.
Keen to give something back, the high-flying alumni have been giving guest lectures for several years to show final-year students across DMU's business and marketing courses what can be achieved.
Michael said: "Our objective is to say we have been in the students' shoes, discuss our career experiences and give advice on key competencies employers look for in a graduate.
"We want to encourage students to hammer those job applications and show there is light at the end of the tunnel."
Michael was first attracted to study at DMU because of the business school's reputation. He said: "I also wanted to do a placement year and was impressed by the amount of investment on campus."
He chose Business and Management because it offered a solid grounding along with the chance to specialise.
Michael said: "My degree modules helped me understand how a company is run and I also learnt softer skills such as communication and networking."
DMU's Business and Marketing course appealed to David because it was the subject he most enjoyed at school.
He said: "The subject is relevant to take forward as a career. I also liked that the course was aimed at giving practical experience and I learned valuable transferrable skills."
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Both landed a 12-month placement at technology giant IBM, which benefited their final-year studies and careers.
Michael said: "My year at IBM taught me about life in the real world. It enabled me to build a strong network to launch my career.
"A placement refreshes and re-energises you and helps to differentiate your CV. It made a massive contribution to getting a graduate role."
David agreed: "A placement year is invaluable. Without it, all you would have to talk about at an interview is university.
"I got a unique perspective of the working world and built up a huge network while on placement year, which opened up so many doors."
After graduating in 2007, David joined the IBM graduate scheme and was there for five years before taking up a post with global information services group Experian. Now he's back at IBM in London as sales leader for security services.
Michael was also given a place on IBM's graduate scheme. Two years ago he moved to Teradata, a leading business intelligence and data analytics company, and is now head of sales for managed services across the international region.
The friends were invited back to DMU by Senior Lecturer David Gordon to speak to students taking the Marketing Planning and Management module.
He said: "We want to prepare students for employment. Assignments for the final year have to represent industry.
"The benefit of the guest lecture is these are aspirational people in aspirational roles, so students can see what's achievable."
Posted on Tuesday 24th January 2017