This week, explore Anro Schroeder‘s journey from Johannesburg to Dubai, after his BSc and MSc education at the University of Derby. Drawn to Derby for its substantial, field-specific courses, Anro’s engagement in both practical and theoretical modules honed his expertise, steering him towards a rewarding career in technical sales and distribution. His tale reflects Derby’s adept nurturing that empowers students to explore, identify their strengths, and thrive in the expansive live event engineering sector, showcasing a pathway of continuous growth and exploration.
Anro Schroeder, Classes of 2015 (BSc) and 2017 (MSc)
Johannesburg, South Africa
Current job + employer:
Technical Sales Manager, Procom Middle East
What did you do/study prior to coming to Derby?
Straight out of high school with some freelance work for local rental companies in South Africa.
Why did you choose to go to the University of Derby?
I was looking for a university and course that not only focused specifically on the field I was passionate about but also one that had substance and depth to it. Both the BSc and MSc ticked all the boxes in terms of content and modules especially given that these were delivered theoretically and practically in an environment specifically designed to do so.
Did you start the course with a specific focus or were you undecided?
Definitely focused, I think almost everyone does. And this is really where these courses make such a difference – they take you through all of the disciplines from basic to advanced and through this process you quickly find that the original focus might not perhaps be the one you end up with.
Did that focus change on the course? If so, how?
It did very much. At the somewhat younger age 19 I was dead set on working within certain disciplines and departments within the industry. However, as I worked my way through the modules and course years, I found that my interests and strengths aligned better in other areas. There were key moments throughout both the BSc and MSc where I said to myself “This is fantastic” and “Hell no, never again”. The latter is mostly in relation to Matlab, EASE – creating the world’s largest EASE room simulation (decimal points were out), and Bruce’s imaginary Y value (1st Year).
Has that focus changed on graduating? If so, how?
Yes, to an extent it did adjust and change to align with the work I am doing now. My current role is far more business and design-driven, rather than involving practical work in the field. This is something I never considered until 3rd year.
What was the most useful thing you learned on the course?
I’m terrible at Matlab. But also, that the industry is far more than just the standard line array, moving head, or mixing desk. The career opportunities within the industry span far and wide through many verticals including R&D, rental, distribution, and touring. The course taught me my strengths and helped realign my passion to match them – something that I am incredibly grateful for.
What did you learn on the course that you thought you’d never use, but that has come in handy during your career?
Risk Assessment & Method Statement – you can never undervalue the power of being able to fill one of these out correctly.
What did you do on the course that you never thought you would enjoy?
Building an amplifier. Incredibly challenging but extremely fun. I do recall that mine was the only one that worked – Adam can confirm this.
What was your favourite establishment in Derby (pub, bar, club, restaurant, etc.)?
What is your most memorable moment from Derby?
Getting the whole of the Reproduced Sound conference to simultaneously have Jager bombs. And graduating – it’s what made the whole journey worth it (cheesy, I know).
What/who at Derby most influenced your life, and how/why?
This one has to be shared between Adam, Bruce, and Simon. To this day I maintain that I couldn’t have had a better group of mentors for my time at uni. Professional, patient (Matlab), and most importantly personal – I was never treated as a number and they were there for the times when things needed to be re-explained multiple times (Matlab & The Imaginary Y), when the work needed to be improved, and for the leadup to leaving uni. Adam ran a workshop on how to write CVs and how to interview in person – a skill that I will never undervalue. Their attention to detail and commitment to pushing their students through the courses is second to none and I attribute much of my success to their influence.
What would you say to a Derby first year student, knowing what you know now?
Thinking BSc (Hons) Sound, Light and Live Event Technology? Do it! If you want to work in this industry and are looking for education to back your career, then this is the right choice. Don’t know what you want to do within the industry? Do it even more! Go in with an open mind and let the course help you decide where you fit best.
What have you done professionally since graduating?
I worked within the theme park industry after graduating and eventually made my way into technical sales and distribution.
What is your most memorable moment from your career so far?
The first big contract I closed with a client.
What are your future career plans/ambitions?
Unknow really – I try to keep an open mind.