A-levels: Maths, Physics, Chemistry
Place of study: University of Manchester
Degree course: MEng Chemical Engineering with Industrial Experience
At school I enjoyed most subjects but excelled in maths and science. After studying maths, physics and chemistry at A-level, I wanted to study a degree that encompassed all three subjects.
It was my chemistry teacher who first suggested that I should look into studying chemical engineering as she knew it covered all the aspects of academia that interest me as well as providing great career prospects. I decided that chemical engineering was the subject for me due to the wide range of material covered by the course, its challenging reputation and the variety of industries that I could venture into following graduation.
Getting stuck in
When I first began studying chemical engineering at the University of Manchester, I was a little apprehensive about my ability to complete the course material to a high standard, mainly because I had never done anything like chemical engineering before. After speaking to my personal tutor, I realised that this is the nature of the course and decided to get stuck in, which is the best choice I could have made.
At university, I particularly enjoyed the mathematical side of the course, as well as the modules that involved delving into the really fundamental aspects of processes, such as ‘Adsorption’ and ‘Solid Fluid Systems’. I also really enjoyed doing the practical side of the course, which involved conducting various experiments in the laboratories. The design project that I conducted with my group in final year was a great learning experience and allowed me to develop some invaluable skills that aided me in greatly when I transitioned into industry.
A productive year
I completed a placement year with Mondelēz International in the 3rd year of my 4 year MEng course. I learnt a massive amount and really enjoyed the experience – I cannot stress enough how valuable spending a year in industry really was. The placement also ended with an offer of employment from the company which was a massive bonus for me!
I graduated from university four years ago and am currently working for Mondelēz International in the Chocolate Research and Development facility. I am currently in the Global Process Innovation team, working on a range of projects (new product developments, quality improvements, productivity initiatives, equipment design). Every day is different working in R&D with varied, fast-paced projects presenting different challenges all of the time. When in the UK, my time is typically spent between the office and the pilot plant - it's a great balance of practical and office work. I also spend a significant amount of time travelling to different plants across the globe conducting trials - having the opportunity to travel for business has been a great experience.
Do your research
Research into the subject area to get an idea of the opportunities presented to graduate chemical engineers, because the options are vast and varied. Doing a degree in chemical engineering gives great job prospects, so if you enjoy maths and science it’s a great way to combine them. Remember that no-one will have studied the subject before university, so don’t let the fact that you are unfamiliar with the content put you off!
Finally, if you do decide to pursue a degree in chemical engineering, I would recommend doing a course that encompasses industrial experience as it really gives you a step up when you enter the working world following graduation.
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