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David Howes

David Howes
After leaving Warwick, David Howes (BSc in International Business and German 1993-97) travelled the world before choosing Dubai as the place to set up his new business, Voyager Solutions Middle East.

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A Spitfire or Hurricane pilot! Given that jobs flying World War II fighter aircraft were scarce, I soon fell into a passion for learning about other countries, people, languages and their traditions. That said, I still love the sense of perspective that seeing things from a great height brings.
What was the best careers advice you were given?
No road is long with good company. Ask open and sincere questions of everyone you meet. You will learn something, find a way to help them or uncover a way for them to help you!
Describe yourself in three words
Enthusiastic; innovative; friendly
What are the most challenging parts of your job?
I set up Voyager Solutions Middle East about 6 months ago and I find dealing with the complexity of running a business here a real challenge. From meeting government requirements through to the sales calls, I prefer to keep things simple and am at my most positive when actually helping people. Anything that takes me away from this is a real pain in the proverbials!
What have you done that you are most proud of?
I travelled to 18 countries in 2004 and probably the most enlightening eight weeks was teaching kids in the middle of the Belize jungle. I will never forget helping rebuild the school, trying to teach them to play football or their laughter ringing out when I reacted to a crocodile swimming towards me on my first dip in the river!
What drives you?
New challenges, new concepts, new relationships, meeting new people. I have tried to put these experiences together into a book that will help others. I have provisionally called it ‘Knewness’ – simple techniques I feel others should know about when changing or improving their organisations. If all goes to plan, it will be a 2010 release
What single thing would most improve the quality of your life?
Being able to switch off. It’s annoying when I find myself walking down a shopping aisle and listing potential improvements. Or find myself asking questions of a customer service rep to explain why it has to be that way!
What three objects would you take with you to a desert island?
A guitar, even though I can’t play it yet, a book titled ‘101 ways to BBQ on a desert island’ and a pen to invent 101 more ways!
Where do you hope to be in 10 years’ time?
It is hard to believe it is 13 years since I left Warwick. If in 13 years time, I can say I have seen as many countries and helped as many more people, I will be happy, especially if I have a couple of beautiful kids that look like their mother and a 1st class ticket to the Moon and back.
How would you like to be remembered?
Be the first person to play a guitar on the Moon. And as a best-selling author!
What are your favourite memories of your university years at Warwick?
Clichés aside I could list a thousand, but I will always remember the squash tours to France, the Airport Squash socials, and hitchhiking to Amsterdam and Dublin for charity. I have convinced many a person on my travels that Warwick is the best choice in the UK!
Do you have any advice for new graduates and undergraduates?
All work and no play makes for a dull job interview. However, that interview will go so much better if you put effort into contributing back to the University or wider community in some way, and get some related experience onto your CV.
Anything else you would like to add?
The Middle East is an often misunderstood region, but the challenges it faces, from the melting pot of cultures to striving for excellence in business, provides a great career opportunity for Warwick graduates. Should anyone need any support in making these decisions, please feel free to contact me.

David Howes: the facts

Age
34
Lives
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Education BSc in International Business and German
Career - Marketing & Sales for Nestlé, Smith & Nephew and Beiersdorf
- Management Consulting at Gemini/ Cap Gemini and EC Harris
- Managing Partner at Voyager Solutions Middle East
    Interests Keen desert driver, PADI rescue diver, learning Arabic

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