Alexander Wilson

Alexander Wilson

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

Being at the intersection of the Yorkshire Dales and Peak District, Leeds gave me the chance to experience a bustling city while also being able to take part in outdoor adventures. As well as this, the transport links to other cities in the north made visiting new cities for day- and night-time events easy.

Why did you choose this particular course?

Quantitative and analytical subjects, such as mathematics and chemistry, were always among my favourites at school. Given that I was most interested in using mathematics to solve practical problems, engineering was a natural fit and my interest in chemistry led me to choose chemical engineering. As well as this, the idea of knowing how the products surrounding us every day are formulated and manufactured fascinated me.

What have been the best aspects of studying your course, and why?

For me, having lecturers and professors that have spent significant time in industry has been a key aspect of the course that I’ve enjoyed. Adding this dimension of real-life industrial experience to the course brought many of the theoretical concepts to life and helped to ensure the course was grounded in practical application. 

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed on your course?

Completing a full plant design in third year, including detailed individual equipment designs for furnaces and distillation columns and other key equipment, was a real challenge but was an incredibly rewarding culmination of all the scientific principles learnt in the first few core years. Having to navigate working in a team to share data and ensure progress felt like an excellent replication of what a dynamic career in engineering could look like.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

Leeds is an excellent place for those prospective students looking for a city experience but in a condensed size. The city centre is a 20-minute walk from campus and is compact enough that almost all activities are easily within walking distance. From UK-renowned nightlife to quaint cafes and galleries, there’s always something to show people when they come to visit! Outside the city there is also an abundance of activities that have been a real highlight – from rock climbing in Almscliffe Crag to hiking around Ilkley Moor.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I aim to work as a strategy consultant to the energy industry, with ambitions to work abroad from early on in my career. My course has prepared me with the specialist knowledge for a career in this field, while both general interactions with the internationally diverse Leeds community and programmes with the study abroad office have solidified my penchant for working abroad.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

What stands out to me about my experience at Leeds is the wealth of leadership and responsibility opportunities that I’ve been presented with. From leading the Chemical Engineering Society to representing the university abroad through summer schools, my experience has developed a sense of independence and personal confidence that without a doubt will put me in good stead to have the best impact in my future career. 

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

Take advantage of the opportunities that the school and university present. Leeds has an incredible specialism in placing students in both academic and vocational placements abroad and I would wholeheartedly recommend seizing these experiences. 

Within the course, develop your understanding of the underpinning science in the first few years and then contribute fully to group projects. Working in teams to solve complex problems is one of the most rewarding aspects of any engineering course!