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Where Are You Now?

Michael Ditchburn

Michael Ditchburn

BA (Hons) Geography 2001

Position and company: Managing Director, Mint Interactive Solutions Ltd

Michael Ditchburn, from Sunderland, became an entrepreneur by accident when he was made redundant from his previous job and decided to start his own company. In 2017 he set up his online learning company, ThinkBiscuit Media.

His business merged with another organisation in 2021 and became Mint Interactive Solutions.

Michael, along with his business partner, specialise in creating bespoke eLearning solutions for organisations all over the world.

He explained: “We work in multiple sectors and for both large and small businesses and currently have a team of 17 people based in Sunderland (14) and Brighton (3).”

For Michael, growing his own business with no formal experience, has been one of his greatest achievements.

He said: “My greatest achievement (except my children, of course) probably has to be growing my own business (ThinkBiscuit Media) to have 14 colleagues before we merged with another organisation to become Mint Interactive Solutions. Having had no formal experience of running a business means that I had to learn pretty damn fast!”

ThinkBiscuit Media grew quicker than Michael had ever expected, and this also brought a challenge.

He said: “For many people, the COVID pandemic has been bad for business, but it’s been quite the opposite for us. To grow as quick as we have done, while coping with the challenges the pandemic brought has definitely been a huge challenge.”

Asked what attracted him to the University of Sunderland, Michael replied: “I’m a local guy, so studying here made sense – I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Uni and made friends there who are still friends to this day. Despite me studying in my hometown, I felt like I really learned essential life skills – both from my peers and from the staff at the University.”

Since leaving Sunderland Michael has kept the connection with his alma mater, and when he set up his own company decided to source some great talent through the University Graduate Internship Scheme and appointed three people.

Michael’s advice to recent graduate entering the job market is to make use of all the resources available at the University.

He said: “Firstly, it would be to consider things like the internship scheme and to use the wealth of experience of the team at the Uni to get your CV and interview skills in shape. Second would be to really learn to present yourself and your skills to a prospective employer – have good examples of what you’re capable of and be confident in your own ability. Finally, make sure you ask questions of your prospective employer – if you know enough about their business to be able to ask a pertinent question, it will only reflect well upon you."

Michael concluded: “My business partner and I want to keep the party going and try to expand the organisation. Our mission is to produce the best digital learning solution that delivers our clients Mint results!”

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