Chibuzo Okereke

Chibuzo Okereke

Why did you choose to study at the University of Leeds?

I already had a BEng in Chemical Engineering and wanted to advance my knowledge of the field in order to build a career in it. I chose the University of Leeds because I wanted to obtain a Masters qualification from a top-ranking British university that had a renowned reputation around the world. Another key factor for me was that the MSc Chemical Engineering course had been independently accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), of which I have been a member since my undergraduate years.

What was the best aspect of the course?

One major highlight for me was being taught by academics who had done years of research and could actually teach us from the results of their research instead of just from old text books. I thought this was incredible!

I also enjoyed the general student vibe of the university, regardless of where you were from, what you were studying or what your future goals were. There were always opportunities to exert and develop yourself – you could always find somewhere you could fit in. Personally, I volunteered with a couple of energy and waste management groups because these are areas I have always been interested in, which were very enlightening experiences for me.

Another highlight during my stay occurred when I was invited for an impromptu interview by an FMCG company and dashed to the Careers Centre for guidance. Regardless of the short notice, they organised an aptitude test and mock interview for me that same day – it was amazing. The counsellors were very supportive and gave me a lot of advice and guidance which lead to a successful first-stage interview for me. 

What have you been doing since finishing your studies?

After graduation, I started out as Proposals Engineer with a control and automation firm. In that role, I worked on cost engineering and generated several types of technical and commercial proposals, with the purpose of supporting the sales team's efforts towards winning contracts for the company. I was also involved in other activities for the company, such as planning and executing marketing exhibitions.

What company are you working for, what is your role and what does it involve?

I currently work for Schneider Electric's software business as a Project Engineer under the design, simulation and optimisation group. My role is focused on project support and the development of operator training simulators, which are advanced computer-based training tools for industrial processes. I’m using Schneider Electric's proprietary software programs, which enable the simulation of the process and controls with a dynamic model that helps give operators the skills they require to run a process or a plant.

What experiences at Leeds have particularly helped with your career?

The transferable skills I gained during my course – such as planning, organisation, report writing, preparation, referencing, researching and presenting – have helped immensely in my career and will continue to do so. I took advantage of several Skills Library workshops which added a lot of value to me as an individual and enhanced my learning experience at Leeds tremendously.

What other activities outside of your studies were you involved in?

I was involved in an ACTION Green Streets recycling project, a DEFRA energy study and Squash during my year at Leeds.

What would you say to students thinking about studying the same course at Leeds? 

Seize the opportunity and make the most of every minute your time there. There are unlimited resources and opportunities for you to develop yourself technically and otherwise. You will be taught first-hand by academics that are making advances in the field, whose research is being used to solve problems and optimise solutions across several industries. You will be surrounded by great minds who are constantly looking for innovative ways to advance technology and ultimately the quality of human life. In this kind of environment, there's no knowing where your studies will take you. Your future at Leeds will be entirely what you make of it.