Frances Robson

Technical Project Manager, Palantir
BSc Computer Science with Industrial Placement (2013)

After completing a 12 month placement with Credit Suisse during my degree, I spent a further two years with the company working first as a Support Analyst in the Private Bank, before moving to a Project Manager role in their Investment Bank. At the Investment Bank I worked on a strategic risk programme. I joined Palantir in 2015 and have worked on enterprise projects in the finance and energy industries.

What is the best thing about what you are doing now?
I love that the work I do has a real impact, I value the responsibility I have which gives both opportunities and challenges, making my job feel very real. I really like working in an environment with technology at its forefront and I get to work with super talented, diverse and fun personalities every day. I also love living in London and being able to travel to some really interesting places both as part of my job and in my spare time.

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?
I remember attending an Open Day and falling in love with Birmingham's campus - being so close to the city centre and its offerings whilst being able to enjoy a truly campus lifestyle. The University as a whole felt really welcoming, particularly the Computer Science department and its modern facilities. It is the only Open Day event that I clearly remember because the staff and student ambassadors were so helpful and friendly - which also inspired me to become an ambassador myself whilst I studied.

What are your fondest memories of the University?
Definitely the people! I met so many great people through the Computer Science department, first year accommodation, societies, extra-curricular activities etc, and made friends for life.

What did you think of the learning experience within the University?
Studying Computer Science at Birmingham gave me a solid foundation of engineering whilst allowing me to specialise in the subject areas that interested me the most. I found the modules to be hands-on - you learn not only the theories, but how to apply them to real-world problems. The entire department is very welcoming and approachable - there is always someone to help and give advice.

What inspired you most during your time as a student?
Looking at students in the years ahead of me and alumni inspired me - studying Computer Science at Birmingham gives you so many options. I saw people continue their studies or go into research after completing their undergraduate studies, as well as diving into a wide range of careers and industries.

What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?
Find a group of people to study with and bounce questions and ideas off each other. Not only does it help you learn and challenge yourself, but you also meet really interesting people along the way. I'd also strongly recommend undertaking a placement year or a summer internship to get a taste of what lies ahead after you graduate, and will allow you to customise your module choices to help prepare you for your future. Most importantly, enjoy it!