David Hesketh (United Kingdom)

Master of International Customs Law and Administration (MICLA)-  September 2010

Current Job Position: Head of Customs Research and Development, HM Revenue and Customs, United Kingdom

In 2007 I started developing the concept of a seamless, web based, data ‘pipeline’ to assist in managing the international trade supply chain. My research was based initially on Customs data but I soon realised the problem was more widespread across all commercial sectors. In 2008 I applied to the Centre for Customs and Excise Studies (CCES) to study a Master in International Customs Law and Administration to give my research proposals more academic rigour and for me to learn more about commercial aspects of supply chain management. One of the most valuable modules was International Commercial Transactions Law. My Legal Research Project formed the basis of an article published in the World Customs Journal on weaknesses in the supply chain. My research advocated capturing data about a consignment much earlier in the supply chain from a recognisable and accountable source, assuring a viable buyer/seller relationship, comparing purchase order with packing list and using that data for the life of the international movement of the goods. My findings were recognised by HM Revenue and Customs following the detection of the computer printer bomb from Yemen in 2010 when the recommendations followed similar conclusions. I was appointed as Head of Customs Research and Development to promote these concepts in a series of European Union funded research projects, and currently to develop strategies for the Customs Business and how the UK manages international freight. What I learned in the Masters course, who I studied with and having a recognised qualification has made a significant difference to my role since graduating.

On a professional level there can be nothing more valuable than learning, applying what you have learned and then stretching the thinking and application by confronting orthodoxy for the purpose of continuous improvement. On a personal level realising how much you don’t know is very good for the soul. I found studying allowed me to consolidate my 30 years of experience as a Customs Officer, and learn about new subjects that I had taken for granted. Studying at Masters level gave me a broader, more strategic perspective and ultimately increased my confidence – even at 54 years of age.  I enjoyed my experience with CCES so much that I am happy to say I will be joining them, on a part-time basis, to develop and deliver learning material in the future.