Identical twin brothers celebrated their Northampton graduation in style as they both secured top marks in the exact same degree.
Eugene and Bijan Shahrezaey, 22 from Guildford, both graduated with first class honours in BSc Marketing Management from the University of Northampton.
Part of a large family with over 30 cousins, the brothers were the first in their family to go to university.
Eugene said they hoped they had made their hard working parents proud: “Our mum came over to the UK from Zambia when she was 18 and my dad, who sadly passed away several years ago, moved to England from Iran when he was a similar age. Our dad was an extremely hard worker and he would have been over the moon to know that we’ve graduated and are about to start our careers.
“Coming from different places, our family is huge, and still growing. Being two of the oldest among our many cousins, it’s nice to give the younger ones something positive to look up to.”
As the pair both admit, they have always been in perfect sync throughout their childhood when it came to their studies, they even co-manage their own popular urban lifestyle blog. But they don’t see eye to eye on everything.
“We have naturally done things together in life and throughout school and sixth form, we have always achieved similar marks,” said Bijan.
“We have the same hobbies too; we both play sports, go to the gym, and we like the same music. But to be fair, we don’t agree on football – I support Arsenal and Eugene is a Liverpool fan.”
Although undoubtedly close, as Eugene explains, a healthy sibling rivalry has spurred them both on to succeed in life, he said: “As a twin, there is always the competitive nature that lingers in the back of our minds, however this isn’t to say that it’s a bad thing. Instead the slight competitive streak of being a twin just drives us even more to do well and improve.
“Being close growing up, we’ve both shared the same interests and aspirations. That’s probably why we chose the same degree to study. In regard to achieving the same final grade, it’s probably because we also have developed an identical work ethic and passion towards marketing.”
The twins both credit the University of Northampton, and their course tutors, as a major contributing factor towards their success – Eugene said: “Before I set off for University, I was unsure about whether or not I would find the next stage in my studies overwhelming. In reality, the experience was enjoyable to say the least, and helped me grow as an individual.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better university to study at if I’m being honest. Each and every one of the staff that I worked with were all experienced in the field of marketing, as well as in teaching – this meant that as students, we were always given two sides to what we were taught, academic and reality, enabling us to be as prepared as possible for what’s to come after university.”
Grant Timms, programme leader for BSc Marketing Management, was delighted for the twins, even though he still struggles to tell them apart in class. He said: “Eugene and Bijan have been a credit to themselves during their three years at the University of Northampton. They have worked hard, supported their fellow students and deserve their rewards. I shall be keeping in touch and following their marketing careers with interest.”
With their first jobs in marketing already lined up and largely contrasting goals for their futures, Eugene and Bijan are now preparing to take their first independent steps on the career ladder.
Bijan said: “My plan was to find a marketing role around the Surrey area straight after I graduated, and luckily that has happened. I recently received and accepted an offer as a Digital & Social Content Executive. I want to gain experience and develop my marketing skillset in order to progress my career from marketing executive to marketing manager – marketing director in the future.”
“On a personal level, my aim is to become beyond financially stable, so I can move out from the family home and start life as an independent adult.”
Eugene added: “I’ve now got a role as a marketing executive where I’m able to gain all the essential skills and experience for different elements of marketing, both digitally and offline. This will allow me to progress and grow in my career where my knowledge from university and my passion for marketing can allow me to exceed in what my chief executive expects of me.
“I also feel that the beauty of marketing is that it’s a global field, meaning that I could move abroad – maybe to the US – to further my career whilst exploring the world – which is something I’ve always wanted to do.”