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Salma Ahmed

BEng (Hons) Medical Engineering followed by MSc Medical Engineering (2016)
Engineering and Scientist Graduate Trainee, Depuy Synthes (part of J&J), Leeds

Salma Ahmed

Why did you apply to the University of Bradford? What was your first impression of the university and the city, and what did you enjoy most about your time in Bradford?

I chose Bradford for a number of reasons; firstly, I wanted to stay local as the tuition fees spiked that year. Secondly, my siblings had studied here and came out with great results and job offers straight after. Lastly, because it is one of the few universities that offered Medical/Clinical Engineering, most of the other universities offered 3 years Mechanical Engineering with a few Medical related modules in the final year; whereas at Bradford, there is a large Medical element from the first year.

In terms of impressions of the university, as I mentioned my siblings attended the University of Bradford and really enjoyed it and the feedback I heard from other students during Open Days was great! During my time at Bradford, I have enjoyed meeting people from different backgrounds.  It sounds cliché, but honestly, I have made some great friends and learnt so much about other cultures and religions!

Why did you choose that particular course?  What did you like and enjoy most about your course?

I have always had a passion for the medical field, initially it was Medicine, but then when I discovered the Clinical/Medical Engineering courses at Bradford, and it was perfect – hands-on, innovative and a fast evolving field!  I always wanted a career where no two days would be the same, and where I could be in the middle of cutting edge research!

I have enjoyed the variety of academic content; working with future electrical, mechanical and chemical engineers really opens your eyes to different learning perspectives. I also really enjoyed the electrical and medical labs; it always helps to cement theory with practicals.

What tips would you give to prospective students about the course at University of Bradford and the university itself?

The key to making the right decision is research, research and research! Look up the modules that will be taught to prevent nasty surprises once the semester is underway.  Speak to lecturers, and also current students.  However, I would always say take what students say with a pinch of salt because when they are under the stress of deadlines and exams, they may not portray the course in the best light!

Once you have started university, make sure you stay on top of your work, perhaps by having a catch up day every couple of weeks. Even though the first year does not count towards your final degree classification, it is crucial that you build the best possible foundation for yourself.

In terms of tips for the university itself, it’s highly unlikely anyone would have any problems settling in and finding their way around. Everyone is really friendly and approachable, and you can join the Medical Engineering Society if you feel you are struggling.

How did Career Development Services support you during your time at University?

I have always opted for using the internet as a primary tool for career related advice. It wasn’t until I got the assessment centre invitation that I decided to book an appointment with a Career Development Adviser. The Adviser was incredibly helpful, talking me through how the day will be planned and what will be expected of me.  We also did a practice run through, and I was even offered extra sessions closer to the day itself.  Career Development Services do their best to fit you in good time before the interviews, so you have time to prep and make other arrangements.

I would recommend that students liaise with Career Development Services earlier so they can have help building up their CV and application skills. Or even popping into the Careers Office and picking up booklets that you can keep on your bookshelf throughout your studies and future careers.

Tell us about your current job (brief responsibilities of what you will be doing).

This is a Graduate Programme (starting in Sept 2016) involving four rotations (hip implants, knee implants, surgical tools and biotribology) over a two-year period. Part of the role will be supporting Product and Process material supply i.e. polyester, adhesives, precious metal technology with a working knowledge of the mechanics of materials and material performance. In addition, I will work within the Manufacturing Engineering team to support the implementation and maintenance of data systems and integration with automation based control.

During the Graduate Programme, you will be encouraged to start putting together your CPD Portfolio for Chartership and will have access to a Mentor who you can meet on a weekly basis.

What action did you take to improve your employability whilst at University?

I contacted some hospitals directly for summer placements; this requires a lot of pre-planning and organisation. It also helps to keep in touch with some of the colleagues after leaving the placement, so you can be kept in the loop about future training programmes or vacancies.

I kept my CV up-to-date throughout university and I also took on a part time job from first year, to build upon the competencies that employers look out for.

What advice would you give to current students wishing to enter this type of career?

I find it helps to sign up to newsletters, job alerts and journals. Make sure you are a member of the relevant engineering council so you have access to guest lectures around the UK, and have their monthly magazines posted out to you.  It is really important to keep up-to-date with latest research and innovations in your area so you can talk about these in future interviews.