BSc Economics and Geography, class of 1982.
Business Leader & Entreprenueur
CEO of tech company Clario. Alun Baker has more than 20 years’ experience in growing and transforming technology companies like Oracle, Merrill, and Accenture. He also founded the first Careers & Mentoring social network, When You Grow Up or WYGU for short. As CEO of the cybersecurity company Clario, Baker is focused on revolutionising and disrupting an entire industry currently characterised by complex, technology-based messaging that drives fear and confusion into the consumer market.
Tell us about your time at the university?
It sounds cliché to say but being at Swansea was one of the best times in my life. I was the first to go to University in my family so, when I arrived at Swansea it was a step into the unknown for me which I approached with a mix of fear and excitement. But it was the unique feeling of community and independence I found at University that made my experience invaluable.
What would you say is your defining memory of studying here?
I wouldn’t say there was one particular moment that defined my studies at Swansea. The shift between school and University was an initial shock, but the realisation that I was being taught by lecturers that were leaders in their fields was certainly one moment that made me value my decision to go to Swansea. I remember attending my first lecture in Economics and the professor at the time was Professor Ted Nevin and being given the reading list, Professor Nevin’s name was one of the first names on that list and it hit me that I was listening to a leader in a field I was passionate about.
Tell us about your experiences since leaving University?
When leaving university I wasn’t initially sure on my career path, I joined a graduate scheme at Marconi and although I gained skills that have guided me throughout my career I didn’t find it particularly rewarding. This scheme did, however, open my eyes to the world of technology and the endless possibilities it promised in the early ’90s and 2000s. I saw the opportunity and went for it, I started selling hardware and software, climbing quickly through the ranks..
Working at Oracle, Tibco, Accenture, and now Clario has exposed me to different teams and working styles and something that I have learned and realised about myself is my passion for mentoring and developing talent. Our company Clario now hires a large number of young graduates and the feeling of passing on knowledge is something that keeps my motivation and passion for leading a company burning.
Give us the benefit of your wisdom. What advice do you have for our current students and young alumni who have recently graduated?
My advice to anyone who is currently at University or who has recently graduated from Swansea is to try and understand the working world to the best of your ability before you join it.
Broaden your experience whether that be working a Saturday job or having an internship during the summer. Experience speaks volumes, it shows future employers a desire to work and attests to your work ethic. Moreover, broadening your horizons and gaining experience in any working environment is going to make you well placed for any future endeavours.
What is one of the best things about going to University?
Every University has its own culture, but the one thing Swansea has in abundance is the feeling of community, a unique experience and a sense of purpose. Swansea like most Universities is a melting pot of backgrounds and cultures; embrace this opportunity to get to know people and understand the special differences and similarities we all share, not least of which is a thirst for learning and often a thirst for the local beer!. That ability to network and broaden your understanding of people and communication skills are some of the most valuable by-products of your University experience and maybe the most valuable of all in your future career.