We shape Birmingham - Marcus Burton transcript

Title: Marcus Burton
Duration: 3.24 mins


I’m Marcus Burton and I’m the Group Managing Director for Europe for Yamazaki Mazak UK. We’re the largest metal cutting machine tool manufacturer in the world and here in the UK is our European headquarters.

I think my time at the University of Birmingham has had a big influence on me and my career. I’ve been lucky enough to have three spells as a student at the university, first as an undergraduate studying engineering and then as a postgraduate studying machine tool technology. The courses at Birmingham were actually quite demanding and I think this has helped to develop the reputation for Birmingham as a place to study engineering and manufacturing, actually across the world and this has obviously had an influence on my career.

I think education is a lifelong process so later in my career I opted to take an Executive MBA programme at the University of Birmingham. This gave me the opportunity to work with many different people, from the public and private sectors as well as overseas students. The course was modular and I was able to combine it with my role as a managing director at the time and I know that this has really helped me develop my career. The course material was very practical and I have used it.

Although I’ve been based in the West Midlands, most of my time is spent with overseas travel and the European links to Birmingham Airport are excellent and I currently live only 35 minutes away from the airport. Apart from that, the theatres and concert facilities in Birmingham are some of the best in Europe and unlike London, you don’t have to travel very far to get into some of the most attractive countryside in England.

Well Birmingham’s important to me. I’m Birmingham born and bred and obviously everyone has an affection for their home city but I have to say, all those that study with me in Birmingham share the same sentiments. I think it’s a real pity that those people who’ve never visited Birmingham are the strongest critics and that’s often based on old clichés and misinformation. I think Birmingham’s actually a great city.

In my current job I welcome hundreds of visitors to see our manufacturing facility and our technology centre and everyone leaves with a very positive impression of Worcester, where our facility is located, and Birmingham and the West Midlands.


I think the most important advice I could offer to student is to have a clear goal and ambition. You may not achieve that through a straight path but at least if you know where you’re going you can make the right decisions when these opportunities come up. Birmingham has a wide range of opportunities in the private and public sectors and has major firms in finance, legal and also science and engineering. This gives great opportunities to meet with organisations, join events and so on, both within the university and outside and I think getting involved is really important.