My year in industry helped me to grow professionally and personally

Photograph of Abhishek standing by a door.
MEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering with a Year In Industry
A graduate of the class of 2020, Abhishek shares his experiences of studying in a new country and how his year in industry helped to prepare him for life after university.

While studying Physics in high school I grew an active interest in the working of basic electronics around me and really started enjoying studying about electrical circuits and networks. I wanted to dive deeper into the world of intangible concepts such as current and voltage and create something tangible and of use. Hence the Electronic and Electrical Engineering course grabbed my attention. 

In spite of residing in India I was quite familiar with Sheffield as a close cousin of mine had studied here and spoke highly of the department, the University and the city. I was well aware of the University’s Russell Group reputation and its strong industrial and academic links. Sheffield as a city is known to be quaint and friendly which was exactly the environment I desired to be in. I was also awarded the India Undergraduate Merit Scholarship that further prompted me to pick Sheffield. 

I enjoyed the range of modules that the course offered in the first two years giving us the chance to explore different subject areas and then decide the area we’d like to specialise in. The help and support available in terms of academics, employment and accommodation was always reassuring. I especially admired the effort the University put in to ensuring that we participated in numerous group projects and activities throughout the course of our degree making us confident team players. I loved the diverse culture at Sheffield and was lucky to meet some wonderful people from across the world. 

I decided to include a Year in Industry (YII) in my degree after my interaction with seniors who had completed their year placements and felt they greatly benefited. I had read several student testimonies such as the one I am writing now that strongly advised doing the YII that further swayed me. 

I worked as an Electronic Engineering Intern in the Test Department at Rolls-Royce Control Systems in Birmingham. This was a great learning curve and a very different experience from attending University. This placement gave me a whole new perspective towards my course and changed the way I approached studying in my final year after coming back from placement. I gained a range of skills that was going to be valuable in my career ahead. I would definitely recommend doing a YII as it is not only a refreshing change from University but it gives you the chance to grow both professionally and on a personal level. From an employment prospective most students completing a YII get offered a Graduate Role in the same company or the experience really helps them stand out when they apply to other companies.  

Being an international student there are loads of challenges we face starting from the day we arrive up until our graduation- basic communication issues, settling in, job hunting and many more. This is probably why when we graduate we are pretty much prepared to face anything thrown at us. I strongly believe I was never treated any differently from home students however there is always scope for improvement in terms of empowering international students to make the most of their experience abroad. 

I am most proud of being able to have a solid work life balance during my time at University. I was able to achieve what I wanted academically and at the same time made some of my closest friends and have the best memories that I will cherish forever. 

I would recommend students studying EEE to make the most of all the services that the department and University have to offer such as lab services, tutorial classes, online resources and interaction with lecturers. Building solid foundations in your first two years really sets you up for success in the rest of your degree. Gaining work experience is as essential as getting good grades and there are many ways of doing that- Year in Industry, summer internships (companies or University), part time jobs (University ones are the best) and Engineering Projects. Above all it is important to enjoy what you study and make University a memorable experience. 

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