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Manufacture Bioprocessing - Upstream & Downstream, Bioprocessing - Upstream & Downstream, Technology and Equipment

It’s a Vendor’s Life: Lessons Learned with Rick Morris

Higher education helps you on your way into senior roles

When I was at school, I wondered if I should go to university. No one had ever gone to university from our family, so for me there were many questions about how exactly you go to university and what you should study. I spoke with careers advisors at school, and  my science teachers, particularly my chemistry teacher (Mr Lawrence), were a big influence. I looked into sponsorship opportunities and I applied to various companies, including a local company called Courtaulds, which focused on textiles and chemistry. Ultimately, I was accepted by Courtaulds. First, I did a year in industry where I was involved in making different manmade fibers and weaving processes, and then I went to Leeds University and studied chemistry, polymers and textiles.

Unfortunately, during the time of my degree in the 1980s, the textile industry and the polymer industry in the UK went through a big downturn. When it came to returning to Courtaulds, they could no longer guarantee a job so they released me from my contract. I decided to do a PhD – it was something I’d wanted to do anyway because I’d noted that all of the senior staff at Courtaulds seemed to have a PhD. Higher education is very important, if you want to go far in life. As my career progressed, I also learned that those even higher up had an MBA. In time, I achieved this too and it has definitely helped my career! At the time, these higher qualifications seem unobtainable, but when you finally obtain them it doesn’t seem like a big deal. But it is. It is a sign that can stretch yourself and that you’re capable of handling more advanced research projects.

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About the Author

Rick Morris

Rick Morris is Senior Vice President of Biotech R&D at Pall.

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