Matt Burney graduated from Oxford University in 1992 after which he participated in the Japanese government's Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) programme for two years.
Following this, he studied for an Advanced Diploma in Japanese language and Japanese studies at Nanzan University, Nagoya, Japan and started to work in the Higher Education sector in Japan developing international exchange programmes between Japan, the UK, the US, Australia and Korea. He joined the British Council in 1997 as the Central Japan Liaison Officer responsible for, amongst other things, the marketing and promotion of UK education products and services. In 2000, he established the British Council's fourth office in mainland China in Chongqing, Southwest China and, from 2003, became Deputy Regional Director East Asia within the UK's Geographical Directorate where he was responsible for programmes and resources for Burma, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. He was Deputy Director, Czech Republic, from 2005-2007 and Acting Director, Czech Republic from 2007. In 2008 he assumed the role of Director, Ireland based in Dublin and developed work on a cross-border basis to facilitate meaningful conversations between the peoples of Ireland and Northern Ireland. He took up his most recent role of Area Director East China of the British Council on 5 September 2011.
He is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing with whom he possesses a postgraduate diploma in Marketing and Communications.