Alumnus of the month: Mike Chapman

After coming through Clearing to join De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) back when it was still known as Leicester Polytechnic, Mike Chapman has enjoyed an internationally successful career that has taken him across the pond to New York City.

MIke Chapman Headshot news story copy

Mike, 56 years-old, graduated from DMU in the summer of 1987 with an Economics degree, but was slightly disappointed with his 2:2 outcome which seemingly prevented him going on to pursue a masters’ course in London. However, his supportive DMU tutors advocated for him and his abilities and he was admitted to study a master’s in Economics at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Needing to fund his further study, Mike landed a job at The Economist with their ‘Intelligence Unit’ strand which focuses on international business analysis and forecasting. He landed this competitive position thanks to the knowledge he acquired while studying, alongside his experience working for the DMU newspaper writing features and reviews on topics such as Bon Jovi’s breakout performance at De Montfort Hall in 1985.

Mike, said: “The undergraduate economics course at DMU was fantastic, I was very into the subject and we studied a wide variety of topics. It gave me a great well-rounded basis for what life threw at me later. And I don’t just mean hands on training, but also the mental discipline you learn that you can apply later in life.”

Mike forged a reputation as someone with a lot of technological knowledge at a time when the internet was new and upcoming. As a result, he received a job offer to work in The Economist’s New York office to build, design and maintain websites.

“I’ve been lucky to have several career highlights. Before I even moved to the States, I developed my own publishing system for The Economist that I built in my own time and then rolled out to 100 analysts in the office and that was very successful.”

Since leaving The Economist, Mike has remained in New York and seen his career go from strength to strength in positions such as editorial director, editor in chief and now VP of digital strategy services at a multinational web design and development company called

“One big project I ran was redesigning and rebuilding the website for the New York City Department of Education – they’re the largest education department in the world and they’re still using the website we designed for them so I’m very proud of that.”

Mike decided to join DMU through Clearing after not being accepted into his other university choices. After getting information on the course and the city of Leicester from his local library, he never looked back.

Reflecting on his time at university, Mike commented: “DMU’s strategy around empowering students is a great philosophy and definitely applies to me even all those years ago. Studying at DMU really set me up to deal with a wide range of challenges that I’ve thrown myself into. It feels like something that is a part of DMU’s heritage.

“One of the things my Economics lecturers use to say was that when you leave university, you’re not meant to know all the answers, you’re meant to know where to look for the answers. I found that a very empowering thing because I felt confident that I could do that, so I’ve carried that with me throughout my life.”

When asked what advice Mike would give to current students or recent graduates, he said: “I do a lot of hiring, and when I hire graduates, I don’t care what subject you studied, I care about the discipline you learn from a degree and the way you apply yourself.

“When you go out into the world don’t worry about getting a job in a field that feels a bit peripherally related to what you would really love to do. You might feel like you’re not applying your course knowledge, but you are. You can always learn new things but what’s harder to learn is the attitude and the ability to focus and work well with others other people. When I hire, those are the things I look for.”

Posted on Monday 1 August 2022

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