Nick Buttenshaw

  • Current role: Sales Engineer
  • Year of graduation: 2011
  • Degree course: BSc Astrophysics with Sandwich Year

Nick ButtenshawI  enjoyed my studies greatly but the Climbing Club was a fantastic social and sporting group and always provided lots of laughs, and my closest, lifelong friendships where formed through being part of the Christian Union and a local church. For me, these experiences are what made university so special.

We asked Nick...

What is your current role and how did you get to this point in your career?

I’m a Sales Engineer for Hamamatsu Photonics, the world leader in photonics. This is a highly technical field sales and business development role dealing with Solid State, Electron Tube and Laser optoelectronic components and technologies, with my personal focus on analytical and medical applications. Having been here for five and half years since starting in October 2012, this is my first major job since completing my degree in Astrophysics from the University of Hertfordshire.

How did your studies at the University of Hertfordshire help shape your career?

Since I’ve had a long-standing interest in science, my studies provided the educational foundation and high level understanding in order to move into a scientific-based job role and continue doing something that interests me.

What made you decide to study at this University?

Although smaller than many other leading universities, the Physics & Astronomy department was very strong and also boasted the Bayfordbury Observatory. It was this, in addition to the top class sporting facilities, that drew me to Hertfordshire.

What was the best or most useful thing about your course?

Simply having access to world leading researchers as your lecturers. The team in the department were highly active on a global scale in their respective fields and so being able to utilise their knowledge was invaluable. This also extended to outside of lectures, where they were always open and available, but most importantly, willing to help and support you in your studies and personal development.

What is your stand-out memory from your time at the University?

I was heavily involved in both the UH Climbing Club and Christian Union, and it’s through these clubs and societies where my fondest memories lie. I enjoyed my studies greatly but the Climbing Club was a fantastic social and sporting group and always provided lots of laughs, and my closest, lifelong friendships where formed through being part of the Christian Union and a local church. For me, these experiences are what made university so special.

Are you still in contact with friends you met at the University of Hertfordshire?

Yes! I met my closest friends through the UH Christian Union and a lot of us still live in the area as we’re part of a local church and have jobs nearby. Sadly not so much with my old course mates as we’re all in different places and so it’s easy to lose touch, but at least social media now offers the option of staying in contact in some form or other.

What advice would you give your younger self if you were starting at the University tomorrow?

Focus on your studies but in a smart and structured way. Seek to understand rather than just memorising to pass, and most definitely complete assignments early. This then frees up time to pursue other interests, sports and hobbies which make up for the whole university experience. Join a club and/or society, try something new, help your friends and make the most the university lecturers, for both your academic studies and future career connections post-university.

Do you have any advice for University of Hertfordshire graduates who are considering a career in your industry?

Honestly, I had no idea who Hamamatsu were before I applied for the job, but it’s a fantastic company. Photonics plays a major part in our everyday lives. It is one of the biggest growing industries in the world and is set to revolutionise so many applications and industries over the next coming decades. If you’re seeking a scientific and technologically challenging career, then photonics is an exciting industry to be in.

What are your future career plans/ ambitions?

I enjoy working for Hamamatsu and hope to continue as an integral and successful part of the family here. Knowing that I have done my small part for something good, something worthwhile, something life-changing...is what makes me happy. But then again, so would being a full time, world-travelling steak and wine taster.

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