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Inshaal Ahmad

BEng (Hons) Mechanical and Automotive Engineering

Placement with GSK Pilot Engineering, Hertfordshire (Aug 2018 to Aug 2019)

Why did you apply to the University of Bradford? 

I chose the University of Bradford because of its high reputation in the field of engineering and also because it’s one of the oldest and a traditional university with its degree recognized worldwide which I thought would definitely be very helpful in future when I look for jobs with a recognized degree.  

Furthermore, the University also offered me an academic excellence scholarship which even made my finances fall within my budget and hence I chose the University of Bradford and came all the way from India for this new challenge in my life!

Why did you choose that particular course? 

I am doing BEng (Hons) Mechanical and Automotive Engineering with an option of a placement year for gaining a practical experience.  A Mechanical Engineering Degree is the engineering discipline that focuses on the physical interactions and relationships of materials and their material properties – this path provides a very detailed theoretical knowledge of these subjects and the basics to apply them in a variety of engineering fields.

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

The University of Bradford and Bradford city is like a home away from home, specially as an Indian Muslim student, I faced absolutely no difficulties in getting halal food and the general atmosphere at the university is quite impressive, where people from all around the globe come and stay together which makes the stay at the university even more exciting!

"I would recommend every international student to “break the ice”, leave all the hesitation behind and get involved in the Students’ Union which has a lot of opportunities where you can develop yourself in so many different ways that would benefit you in the long run."

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

Career and Employability Services are the jackpot for any student especially international students who are absolutely new to the system here in the UK.  So getting support from the Career and Employability Services helps students to understand the UK process of recruitment in a better way and get professional advice from experienced people who can guide you in such a way that it becomes very easy to go through any kind of entrance test. I utilised all the support that I could avail to, in order prepare for my interviews and assessment centres and managed to secure an industry year placement at GSK.

What action did you take to improve your employability whilst at university and what advice would you give to your fellow international students about improving their employability? 

I would recommend every international student to “break the ice”, leave all the hesitation behind and get involved in the Students’ Union which has a lot of opportunities where you can develop yourself in so many different ways that would benefit you in the long run.  

Academics is only 50% of the university experience whereas the other 50% remains unexplored by most of the students, as they don’t get themselves involved in such areas. I myself am the Vice President of a Society of the Union and also the Chair of Council along with on track to getting a first class degree in my course.   So, it is all about having the right balance between your academics and the extra circular activities as from what I have seen, employers are not only after “geeks” as they want an all-rounder, who is capable to deal with all practicalities.

Tell us about your placement.

I have been offered a year-long placement as a Research and Development (R&D) Pilot Engineer at GSK, which one the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. The company has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. As of August 2016, it had a market capitalisation of £81 billion (around $107 billion), the fourth largest on the London Stock Exchange. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

I am very excited about my placement year at GSK, which begin in September 2018.

What advice would you give to current international students about industrial placements and those wishing to enter this type of career?

The best advice I could give anyone who aspires to apply to any of the placement schemes across the country is to start applying early, which is the most crucial step towards application and most of the vacancies are on a first come first serve basis, so applying early is the best start!

Placements are a year-long commitment, so choosing the right career path depends on every individual where the interest lies and what they fancy as a career. You are on a placement to learn, so make sure that once you decide that placement year is the way forward for yourself then dedication towards the job given is very important.

Building relationships, absorbing the new lifestyle which is a big change as most of the offices follow a 9-5 work culture which sometimes for students is a big ask, which must be fulfilled. A big tip is that while on a placement, never say no to any small or big opportunity coming your way.  Keeping all these in mind, a placement opportunity is definitely a very big chance especially for international students to get work experience which would help in future and enhance employability.

I work in a pharmaceutical industry which is all very exciting because you know that at the end, whatever you do is going to help someone cure their disease, and this is the best satisfaction for me about the job. The industry can sometimes be very demanding as the hygiene has to be maintained for any task you do, and I mean it!! So, choose your career wisely, at the end, I would say that this placement is the best thing that ever happened for my career, period!