Jon Whitton

BEng Electronic and Electrical Engineering, 1988
HSBC Insurance Health and Wellness Technology Lead, HSBC Life Insurance, Hong Kong

I lead Technology for HSBC Health and Wellness Value Stream across Global Insurance. I am also responsible for Cyber Security, IT Risk, IT Infrastructure (including Cloud) and Service Quality Management across HSBC Global Insurance.

I have worked in technology for my entire career, and am Technology lead for HSBC Health and Wellness Value Stream across Global Insurance. The best thing about my role is that I enjoy building and transforming Technology teams, and moving them to a Top Quartile maturity target. It is great to be exposed to new Technologies, and to ensure the team is able to lever these to HSBC’s business advantage. 

Birmingham has a great reputation as a top engineering university. My fondest memories are of its great location, fantastic architecture, and the vibrant city. I had the pleasure of having some very good lecturers and professors. To this day I recall their names and courses they taught: with Professors Mellitt and Skyrme being the most notable. They were my inspiration.  

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

I work with some great people across numerous countries, and feel I am empowered to make a difference for HSBC customers, shareholders and employees. I have worked in Technology all my career, and still enjoy working with teams where I can gain further knowledge of new technologies and tech trends.

Jon Whitton

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

Within the technology field, my career has taken many different paths and routes. I have also had the privilege of working in many different industries which rely on Technology. These industries vary from food and beverage; FMCG manufacturing; chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing; telecoms; automotive; banking and insurance.

What skills you learned from degree or time at University would you say you use most in your job?

I think a technology or engineering degree gives you the foundational skills to continue a life of learning. These degrees help with critical and analytical thinking, which is useful regardless of what field you pursue post-graduation.

What motivates you? 

My motivation has many facets, including working with engaged and capable colleagues; knowing I am helping our customers and shareholders; working across numerous countries and cultures.

We Are (Third Width)

Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?  

I already knew Birmingham University had a strong reputation, including within the engineering schools. Upon seeing the campus and fine architecture, I knew it was my first choice.

What are your fondest memories of the University?

The fondest memories are of the fellow students I met, and the various societies and activities I was part of. Getting to know the City much better, and of course sampling a Balti curry for the first time ever! This fondness for British Indian food remains with me today. Thank you Brum and the Balti Triangle!

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

I was very much an active member of the Conservative Association, within the University and also outside.

How did your time at University help you start your career?

My first job was very much based on some of the direct knowledge I gained during my degree. This was particularly for the final year electronics project. This was a first steppingstone, onto which I then continued to gain further knowledge from more experienced colleagues during my early career.

Did you take advantage of any of support services offered by the University? 

I recall the Student Housing facility helped me a few times. Housing was a particular concern and challenge during the time I was at the University, I now know there is a far wider accommodation service available.

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

Engineering remains a massively important field, I would advise any engineers to also become as proficient with Information Technology as possible, and to master a high-level programming language. This will set you on a good grounding for your first job, no matter what it is.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Work hard at university, it's an investment both of time and money. But ensure to also play hard and have quality down-time. Absorb different cultures and views, expand your horizons, and learn as much as possible.

What Jon wished he knew before starting university

“Starting my degree was a humbling experience. I met some very smart and bright people there, both students and staff. My advice is to be a sponge, and to absorb and gain as much knowledge as possible while at university. It is an amazing time of your life, so make the most of it.”