Parade Profile: Mark Anzani (BSc Electrical & Electronic Engineering 1980)

Posted in: Engineering & Design, Parade profiles

Since graduating from the Faculty of Engineering & Design, Mark has forged a career in development with computing giant IBM. He lives in the metro New York area with his wife Holly, whom he met at Bath, and together they volunteer with the University of Bath’s US Foundation and support Gold Scholarships. He shares the appeal of engineering, the lasting friendships he’s made and the importance of enabling education... 

Why did you choose to study at Bath? 

I visited several universities as part of the application process, but Bath stood out for me as the one I wanted to attend the most. The academic facilities were as good as any I had seen at other locations, but the location on Claverton Down, as well as the city of Bath and surrounding areas, appealed to me. Growing up in a small mining town surrounded by open land and not being generally comfortable in more densely populated areas, I knew I could be happy studying at Bath. 


Did you have a particular career in mind when you chose to study Electrical & Electronic Engineering? 

From an early age, I was always taking things apart to see how they worked (sometimes a traumatic experience for my parents, when they came home to find some household appliance in pieces).  I enjoyed building things during metalwork and woodwork classes in grammar school, so engineering seemed a natural choice, and electronics in particular interested me. 


Can you tell us about your experience of studying here? Any favourite memories, or places to go on campus and in the city? 

There are so many favourite memories of Bath. Certainly, the friends I made and how great it is that we still get together periodically. The fact that it was Bath that brought my wife Holly and I together 43 years ago! Walking the canal towpath to The George in Bathampton, one of many great country walks around and plenty of watering holes to use as your destination. Walking around the city in the sunshine, looking at the beauty of the Georgian architecture and the colour of the Bath stone. The main memory is probably how beautiful and peaceful Bath is, and the lifelong friendships that were born there.  


Describe your career journey since graduating. What is a typical day like in your current role? 

I spent two years as an engineer in the UK before moving to the US 40 years ago. I have been with IBM for that whole time in the US and have been an executive in the development organisation for one of IBM’s large server businesses for many of those years.  

My days can be quite varied. Some days are on the road visiting clients or partners to describe the various technologies and functions offered in our latest designs, although I am not doing as much of that these days by choice – life on the road can be taxing.  

Other days are spent in various meetings and working on development projects or business issues such as competitive strategies, partnerships, and alliances. I’m ramping down a little with one eye on retirement, but I still love what we create in our development lab and the people I get to work with, so it will be some time before I finally fully retire. 


 How did your studies help to develop you personally? 

For me, it was the overall experience of being at university that conditioned me the most for the life that followed, rather than one aspect of my studies. The interactions with people from various countries, cultures and backgrounds were very different from where I grew up in a small Welsh town. It prepared me for my professional life in a field where you travel extensively and meet many people from all over the world. The activities, responsibilities and work I became involved with in the Students’ Union and various clubs gave me insight into how you organise projects, work with people, and achieve an objective. 


What advice would you give to prospective students thinking about studying your course at Bath? 

First, the University of Bath is an excellent choice as a place to study, as its reputation and standing among academic institutions is at the highest levels, validated by the independent assessments that are performed annually. The calibre of the student body gives you the chance to build relationships and a network that will serve you well for the rest of your life.  

I would also tell prospective students that you will live in one of the most beautiful areas of the country, so you should make sure you enjoy what is around you as a way to balance the time you spend on academic work with the time you spend to refresh and recharge. 


What motivates you to donate to Bath, and what would you say to others thinking of doing the same? 

There are many ways in which people who are in a position to help others can donate and assist those in need. Helping someone – through a scholarship – gain access to an education that otherwise would not be available to them, or at least would be more challenging for them, will deliver benefits that can be more impactful than other forms of donation.  

Teaching a person to fish is more impactful than giving a person a fish, as the saying goes. When you have an opportunity to see how initiatives such as the University of Bath’s Gold Scholarship Programme help individual students and enable them to be successful in the life beyond university, then you know that any contribution you make has long-term value. It's very motivating. 

Posted in: Engineering & Design, Parade profiles

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