Ashhar Ahmed Qureshi
MEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronics Engineering 5 year sandwich course Placement with Intel Corporation, Swindon (July 2015-Aug 2016)
Why did you apply to the University of Bradford? Please include the following – your impression of the university and the city and what did you enjoy most about your time in Bradford?
Bradford is a beautiful and one of the most culturally diverse cities of England. The city centre is bustling with a very contemporary, modern feel. It’s also an inexpensive university city for students, with a lot of restaurants and takeaways.
University of Bradford has an international reputation for teaching and research excellence. The University has one of the best Scholarship Programmes for students and offers great learning opportunities and on-campus facilities. The faculty is very diverse, innovative, approachable and student-focused. One of the perks of studying in Bradford is being part of a very diverse International Student community. I really enjoyed participating in different cultural events and making friends from all across the globe.
Problem Solving – I love it and think it’s really embedded into engineers. Mathematics, Physics, Circuits and Renewable Energy have always fascinated me, and therefore, a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering was the right choice for me to get acquainted with and address a variety of crucial problems facing the societies today and explore my areas of interest.
Why did you choose the course that particular course? What did you like and enjoy most about the course?
Being an International Student, I browsed through Electrical and Electronic Engineering programmes offered by various UK universities. I opted for Bradford, because, it offers a flexible curriculum, allowing students to explore their own interests in depth, and familiarises them with the core subjects at the same time.
The programme is very broad and starts with basic circuit theory and moves into Advanced Systems Design and Implementation. The group/individual Design Projects during the studies increase individual’s skill set exponentially. The lab facilities and technical help available during lab sessions are simply amazing.
The most fascinating aspect of the programme is ‘industry-focus’ and non-technical modules like Financial and Project Management add a great deal of value to the programme making it more industry focused.
What tips would you give to prospective students (about the course at the University of Bradford and the university itself)?
STAY POSITIVE! And try to learn as much as you can. I would say, keep a sort of personal logbook to track your progress in the modules and other activities. Set goals for yourself to achieve in a year and work towards them. Eat healthy and sleep well
Love your modules and they won’t be hard for you to pass with a good percentage. Engage completely during lectures, lab sessions and personal tutorials. Go through what you learnt in a day for some time even if it’s 15 minutes. Don’t be shy to ask for help if you are struggling with something.
Make the most of University’s Career Development Services (CDS) from your first year of studies – you will meet amazing people over there, who are always willing to help and develop your professional skills.
What support have you received from Career Development Services / Placement Staff?
The level of career counselling provided by Career Development Advisers was amazing and a source of invaluable experience. The whole process of career coaching was analogous to making something of finest quality by starting from scratch. For example, it started with weekly interactive Career Workshops to inform students of the benefits of Industrial Placements, a “How to Apply” guide/session, skills description, and then moved into sessions dedicated to writing effective CVs and Covering Letters.
Immensely helpful resources about ‘how to tackle online tests, Assessment Centers, Interviews, writing CVs & Covering Letters’ were circulated through emails and made available during Careers Employability Workshops. The final and I believe the most challenging stage was Mock Interview and Assessment Centre sessions run by Career Advisers. The skills were tested rigorously in these sessions and the required improvements were highlighted in the feedbacks. All these things gave a lot confidence boost while going for Interviews and Assessment Centers.
What action are you taking to improve your employability whilst at University?
I always try to make sure that I know my modules inside out and can practically apply and make sense of the stuff that I have learned. There is a common misconception that only sound technical knowledge can help you ace an engineering interview. CDS has greatly helped me to understand and study the non-technical side of engineering e.g. customer orientation, presentation and communication skills, which is a must to know for engineering interview these days.
Applying for a placement during studies has been one of my life’s best decision because it gave me a practical experience of work in industry, teamwork and interpersonal skills and improved my job opportunities.
What advice would you give to your fellow students about finding placement and work experience opportunities?
Start applying for placements as early as you can before the start of the second year. Focus on building a strong and effective CV with the help of Career Advisers. Some companies, even some big ones, don’t advertise their job openings on popular job boards. So the best way to apply for those is to contact the company directly and enquire about available opportunities.
Ask your lecturers about potential employers – they might know some companies that don’t advertise. Use all resources available to find out about the potential employers. Don’t just send out CV and covering letter randomly. Instead modify your CV and covering letter to target the job description for each opening.
Apply for at least two placements during a week. If you get a rejection, don’t let it break you and instead make it a learning experience. Ask for feedback, discuss it with a Career Adviser and focus on the areas that need improvement.
Tell us about your current placement.
I started working as a Chip Implementation Intern since July 2015. My Intel group is working on chips that will go into the next generation of Wearable Tech and Internet-of-Things (IoT) products and is spread across many countries worldwide. So, my role involves working with Senior Analog and Mixed Signal Circuit Designers on validation of circuit designs, learning how to re-architect a circuit design if required, and communicating with Intel group members worldwide to resolve technical issue.
How will the placement year benefit you when you return to study at the University of Bradford?
The placement has enabled me to be clearer about the direction I will take in the upcoming year at University. I also have the opportunity to do my final year project with Intel. The work experience I am gaining during the placement is invaluable when it comes to applying what I have studied and continuous learning during work. Moreover, placement also increases job opportunities after graduation. You can even get a job offer before the end of your placement, if you perform very well.