James Murray

MSc Construction Management, 2013
Associate (Project Management), Ridge and Partners LLP

Project Management in Construction is a mixture of technical management and people management. Key skills for a PM (Project Manager) to have in their arsenal include the ability to break a large task down into manageable chunks and to understand when and how to engage different people, to keep the project moving forward.

A PM is often the main point of contact between the client and the rest of the project team, as such they will need to be able to maintain good relationships and handle multiple requests simultaneously. Managing a project through to a successful conclusion provides a large amount of job satisfaction and can cement some long-term friendships.

What is the best thing about what you are doing now?

I am currently working on a project that will kick start the UK's EV battery production industry. Being able to play a part in a project of national importance is very important to me; it gives purpose and reason to the day-to-day activities on the project and encourages impressive individual effort from the whole team. The larger impacts of construction are important to me too; it's good to consider the positive impacts the finished built environment will have on the local community, the economy, the natural environment and the further advancements the facility may facilitate. 

What made you interested in your current role?

I moved from client side project management to consultancy project management as I wanted to be involved with the teams who are set tasks by clients and need to find the most suitable solution for the client, the project and the project team. The challenge and variation available within consultancy project management are important to me; the job changes on a daily basis and my activities adapt to react to those needs.

How has your career developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?

After leaving the University of Birmingham I moved between a few initial roles with quick succession as I was aiming to move swiftly out of the Graduate Project Management role. I settled at Jaguar Land Rover as a Construction Project Manager and worked there for five and a half years, during which time I lived and worked in Slovakia, supporting the construction of their new plant out there. After the completion of that project, I left Jaguar Land Rover and joined Ridge and Partners where I worked on a number of enjoyable projects before joining the project I am currently working on. The current project has the same scale and importance as the Slovak JLR plant and it is a privilege to be part of the team.


james murray

We Are (Third Width)

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?

It’s a great University, both from an academic point of view and from an architectural point of view. I grew up around the University and knew it well before joining. The opportunity to study there and now to give back to the University is very important to me. 

What are your fondest memories of the University?

The strong relationships between the students were always brilliant; it was a great group of ambitious people. 

Did you get involved in any extracurricular activities as a student?

I was the student rep for my year group and the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. I also joined some sports clubs and competed with the University. I was honoured to receive the Ratcliffe Prize for Outstanding Postgraduate Effort at the end of the year, which was a fantastic end to a great year. 

What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?

Give it your all for the entire length of the course. The advantages and opportunities that will be available to you at the end of your course will be endless. 

And finally... Is there anything else you would like to share?

Explore the University grounds whilst you are there, it's a jewel of Birmingham Architecture and an iconic part of Birmingham history.