Mark Biddy was born to West Indian immigrants in England and moved with his family to the United States at age 5, settling in the Midwest. As a child he did the usual kinds of jobs kids do — helping his brother with his paper route and shoveling snow during the cold Minnesota winters. Wanting to do more, he started working for his mother. She would bring home big plastic bags of work patches with names and company logo embroidered on them; Mark pulled the little pieces of remaining thread off and sorted them in groups of 25 for which he was paid a penny a piece. At the age of 11, he started working in his step-father’s construction company doing odd jobs and working with construction teams. By the time he was 12, he was certain he did not want a career in construction.
Mark started college at the age of 15, when he was simultaneously enrolled in high school. This was at Lee College in Texas, where he earned 26 college credits while also working in his mother’s business in sales and manufacturing, working at McDonalds, and being the lead singer in a band on the weekends. All this left him feeling burned out; he dropped out of college at the age of just 17 and moved back to Minneapolis. At 20, he was ready to go back to school and was preparing to move to New York to do just that when he found out he was going to become a father. He chose to stay put and work to support his new family, abandoning his plan to resume college.
Twenty three years later, in 2007, he said “I’ve lived several lives since then, including being a father and having a successful career in computer engineering.” He started as a Computer Operator in 1987, about which he says, “Back in the 80’s breaking into the technology industry functioned more as an informal apprenticeship regardless of what type of computer science background you had.” He rose through the ranks at companies like Deutsche Bank, Science Application International Corporation (SAIC) and Sun Microsystems. “While at Sun Microsystems, I was approached to write a book in the area of technology optimization. I had gained a reputation for ‘understanding the big picture’ with regard to technology and the people and processes behind it so I was able to become a subject matter expert.” He co-authored the book called Optimizing the Desktop. His career success continued when he became Vice President of Project Management at Credit Suisse; at the time he applied to CUNY BA, he was a Technical Infrastructure Project Manager at Morgan Stanley.
His goal to become an executive on Wall Street, however, had been repeatedly thwarted by his lack of a college degree; he was routinely passed over for high-level positions and even missed out on earning substantial bonuses because he did not finish college. He entered CUNY BA in 2008 to change that.
Mark completed his concentration with courses in finance and business law, and included a graduate-level course in Anthropology and Law. He received 15 life experience credits – for Direct Marketing, Data Center Operations, Project Management, Unix Systems Administration and Non-Fiction Writing — and he also earned several credits by examination. He says the combination of his expertise in technology along with his college degree covering economics and business organizations is the best foundation for his career.