A graduate of the UNSW School of Materials Science and Engineering and later completing a Master of Commerce, Greg Bodkin is now a Senior Vice President at Cochlear Limited. Read his story here:

What did you study?

I studied Materials Science and Engineering with a major in advanced ceramics (high alumina, nitrides and carbides). Beyond my undergraduate degree, I returned to UNSW to study a Master of Commerce majoring in marketing and strategic management.

Why did you choose to do a Materials Science degree?

At the time the degree was relatively new as a specific discipline. Having been interested in Science and Engineering it offered a perfect combination to further my studies. Also, because the number of graduates back then was limited, employment opportunities were very favourable.

What was your experience being a Materials Science student?

We had a small cohort, which led us to form some excellent working relationships during our course. University life was still one of the best times of my life, as you had a great opportunity to work and socialise on campus.

Where are you working now and what is your role?

I have been employed by Cochlear Limited for the past 7 years and have just moved into the position of Senior Vice President of Manufacturing and Logistics (M&L).

I have direct day-to-day responsibility for the New Product Industrialisation (NPI), Procurement, Manufacturing and Logistics teams in Sydney and Brisbane. I also have strategic and process responsibility for other (M&L) sites in Sweden, USA and Belgium.

After graduating, how did your career path evolve?

I started out as a graduate engineer with Taylor Ceramic Engineering. They manufactured advanced Alumina ceramics for the Heavy Clay, Minerals and Battery manufacturing industries. I had a wonderful mentor in David Taylor during the five years I spent with them.

I then took a materials scientist position with Warman International (now known as Weir Minerals) who are an OEM manufacturer of equipment for mineral processing applications. In this role I did fundamental materials research in the application of advanced ceramics, rubber, polyurethane and white iron alloys to wearing parts of centrifugal slurry pumps and hydro-cyclones.

I then moved into manufacturing and logistics roles at Weir, participating in a SAP implementation and gaining certification as a SAP implementation consultant. I gained experience in Lean methodologies at Weir and was also certified in implementing Lean practice.

On leaving Weir, I spent 18 months working with National Australia Bank and in particular MLC, implementing Lean in financial services. During this time I also did a Process Architecture implementation and this lead into a major review of their Customer Service operations across 3 states in Australia.

On leaving NAB, I moved to Cochlear Limited, where I joined as Head of Supply until I moved into my current role.

Do you have any advice for school leavers considering studying Materials Science at UNSW Australia?

The Materials Science degree is an excellent course to provide students with further knowledge and skills across engineering and science disciplines. It provides a great platform for graduates to continue to work in these fields or even branch out into finance or banking as these industries do look to employ graduates from outside the traditional economics and finance areas. I have found it provided me with the technical and educational background to be a success in my chosen fields of pursuit.

Please share any fond memories you have of your time studying Materials Science at UNSW

Nothing really could beat a good MATSOC or Engineering BBQ. It was a chance to kick back and spend social time with students across all years.