Chris Boulton

Graduate story

A precious education

When Chris Boulton started his Small Business Management degree at Staffordshire University, in the early nineties, he thought he already knew everything there was to know about computing.

But one day, during a session in the Octagon building on the Stafford campus, his lecturer showed the group something completely new.

“He said he was going to show us something called the World Wide Web,” says Chris, now aged 40 and working as an industrial sales manager at precious metal recycling company Mastermelt in London. “I had done a computing course at college before I went to university and thought I knew it all, but this was totally new and so interesting.

“It’s one of my favourite memories of my time at university.”

Real world applications

Chris, who is originally from Stoke-on-Trent, chose his course because of Staffordshire’s reputation in computing, and because the course was practical as well as theoretical.

“I recognised the trend that even large businesses were managed like small ones,” he says. “I thought I would gain a broad understanding that could be used in many areas.

“I’m not the best academic in the world, but it was easy to apply what we were taught to real world situations. It was so up to the minute. We were taking real businesses and issues that were in the news, and right from day one I could understand the history of business and how they were changing. I still use that knowledge every day, especially as I have to understand my customers’ businesses.”

Reclaiming precious metals

Before joining Mastermelt in 2012, Chris headed up European sales for an American printed circuit board manufacturer, finding his business degree and the engineering experience gained while studying and working part-time to be a winning combination.

He now deals with a wide range of industries, including aerospace, pharmaceutical and electronics, which create waste from their production processes that contains precious metals.

“My day-to-day job is very varied and I have to dip into different industries every day,” he says. “My work is split between new business development, managing existing accounts and admin work. I research new customers, go to visit them and sell our services to them.

“People are genuinely interested in what we do because such different uses for gold, silver and platinum are not a widely known field.  I think precious metal recovery from waste is truly fascinating.”

A lifelong influence

“Stafford was a great place to be,” he says, remembering that he lived in a shared house just off campus with friends and enjoyed visiting the Students’ Union venue in the town centre. “They had just built fantastic new buildings on the campus, especially the Octagon building and the library, and they had great facilities which really helped you do your work.

“The course at Staffordshire was perfect and has been a fundamental help to me throughout my life.”

Course studied
Small Business Management
Year of graduation
in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2024

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021