Having become the first person in his family to attend university, Dean Pike has gone on to build a global career which has included living and working in Hong Kong for the past eight years.
Dean graduated from BU’s Business Information Technology degree with first class honours in 2010 and is now Head of Operations Asia-Pacific for GFT Group; a technology consultancy for the international financial industry. While helping to develop the business in Asia-Pacific, Dean’s role involves leading the Project Management Office and the growth of sales, client and business services.
Reflecting on his decision to study at BU, Dean said: “My family’s background doesn’t include higher education, so it was a real departure for me to go to university. However, I had developed an interest in technology and picked up skills in web development and data analysis during my college studies, so university felt like the natural next step. BU became the frontrunner after visiting at an open day. I believed the degree would stand me in good stead for a future career and it has certainly done that.”
Dean supported himself through university – and picked up further practical experience – by building websites for small business owners and contacts alongside his studies. He went on to complete a placement year as an IT project manager and network engineer for Mercedes-Benz. The role entailed frequent visits to car dealerships up and down the country. He said: “As well as being a great commercial experience, among the perks was the opportunity to borrow the company’s cars, which was great when you’re visiting your mates in the latest C-Class model!”
After university, Dean’s career path accelerated quickly. Having spent a year as a Solutions Consultant for Dynatrace; a US-listed software intelligence company, he joined S&P Global in London as a Sales Engineer and was promoted soon after. Seven months later, Dean was offered the chance to relocate to Hong Kong to develop a new technology team in Asia-Pacific. He said: “It was a great opportunity for me so early in my career. I had made it clear that I was keen to relocate but didn’t necessarily expect it to happen so quickly. Within a few weeks I had arrived in Hong Kong ready to start work, and then began travelling throughout the region leading client projects and product growth initiatives in countries such as India, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Korea and Australia. In between, I was in and out of New York and London several times a year too. This has given me a broad view of the world and helped me to understand how to operate effectively across different cultures. It is something I am very mindful of now when building teams, ensuring they represent the cultures we are serving and offer diversity to benefit both the company and our customers.”
Prior to his current role, Dean was Vice President and Head of Asia Technology Operations for Computershare; a global financial administration company. He was part of the regional executive leadership team and delivered multiple key digital and operations transformation projects. While Dean is now distanced from delivering technical tasks, he still draws on the skills and knowledge developed at BU – and beyond – to lead teams and projects. He said: “As you progress through a career in technology, you can either become the technical expert or do as I have done and get more involved in the business side through areas such as project, program and service management. Regardless of the route you take, that technical underpinning is a big advantage and helps you to understand the challenges facing your frontline teams. I absolutely believe that my studies at BU have helped get me to where I am today. Prior to attending university, I wasn’t necessarily aware of how institutions ranked or how my studies might impact career progression. I now work alongside people from all walks of life, some who have attended the top universities around the world, and I am proud to know that I can hold my own thanks to the decisions I made.”