Masters student in the School of Civil Engineering

Zainab Al Balushi

Why did you decide to study an MSc in Engineering Project Management at the University of Leeds?

As a sponsored student, my sponsor provided me with a list of the top 20 universities in the UK to choose from and the University of Leeds was on the top of that list. So I became enthusiastic to know the reasons behind its high rank. After surfing the net, I was so impressed to know that many students chose it because of the high quality of teaching and the high profile of its faculty. What encouraged me the most was the curriculum of my chosen program which was exactly what I want to study.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University so far and why?

Studying alongside other international students was the best aspect for me as it allows to learn different practices across the world and the teaching style helped a lot in achieving that because most of the gained knowledge was from having group exercises. These benefits were not only on academic level but also contributed to the development of my own character. For instance, in our group work we face some conflicts, which is normal as each one has different experience, and we try our best to resolve it in a professional way. This is one of many issues that we might face tomorrow in the work environment. So I consider this aspect as a habilitation phase for working environment where we will deal with different characters of people.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed.

All projects I have worked on were so exciting because each one was unique in examining certain element of project management dimensions like how to manage risks, funds, value, procurement, requirements, design and so on. I really enjoyed working on evaluating the success of the A2 motorway project which is one of the largest infrastructure projects in Poland. This project gave us the opportunity to apply a majority of what we have learnt in the course.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

To be honest, at the beginning I did not get used to the atmosphere of Leeds and this is normal for anyone decided to study abroad. But with the passage of days, my opinion totally changed and I loved Leeds too much because of its people as they are accustomed to the presence of international students and you will see them smiling all time and offering help whenever you ask them. Moreover, what i like more is the easy access to shops, entertainment places and availability of many types of transportation which i rarely use because most of the places are close to each other.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I look forward in the future to obtain PMP certification as it is an important and world recognized certificate for project managers. Achieving this goal will be easy for me since most of the areas related to the certificate have been covered through this course (EPM).

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

In fact I learnt so many things like how to arrange my priorities, how to manage my time and how to work in a team and all these skills are essential in the career life. Moreover, some social events were organised by our programmes' leaders to help us getting out of the study pressure and to communicate with the faculty and classmates outside the study atmosphere which I really appreciate as it enhances our communication skills.

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

If we look around us, we find all organizations whether public or private have projects which need to be managed effectively. However, an increase in projects failure is observed for many reasons including the inefficiency of project management. From this point, most of the organisations are keen to employ candidates who completed engineering project management course. So I'm sure that this course will provide many job opportunities for students but they have to focus on their studies. The course won't only develop your academic level but also the personal level so try to get as much as possible from the course, its assignments and group exercises. I found it an easy course because most of the discussions are based on realistic experiences for different projects.