Juan José Avila Velandia

Juan José Avila Velandia

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

The international recognition that the University of Leeds has was one of the motivations to study here. However, the knowledge that the master provides to students is unique, because it prepares students to analyse new technologies and the possibilities to make them commercial. This idea motivated me due to I was interested in the business development in the area of engineering since I started to participate in engineering projects and I was able to make decisions trying to obtain the best result.

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

Firstly, the University of Leeds is international and for instance it has students from diverse countries and cultures around the wold offering to me the opportunity to learn more about diverse cultures and manners. Secondly, the opportunity to investigate and learn about new technologies that can offer great benefits to the society. Such as new technologies for the early diagnosis of cancer and the integration of smart grids with smart cities. 

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

The principal and the most exciting project was my dissertation, which is related to the development of a business model for an emerging technology and its application in the early diagnosis of cancer. Where I used the technical aspect of technology and its challenges to develop a concept of the product, its operation and the creation of a strategy to make that people understand the importance of an early detection of cancer.

Others project were The Role of Smart Meters in Smart Grids and challenges that countries have to face, the feasibility analysis of local manufacturing of electric scooters and the future of autonomous car and their deployment around the world.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

In general, the city is very well located allowing trips to well-known cities such as Manchester and York. Additionally, the city offers different types of entertainment such as restaurants with diverse types of food. Performing tours within the city museum or the armoury are worth visiting, and their entry is free. On Friday nights the centre of the city becomes the perfect place to dance and spend time with friends. On weekends, hikes on the farm or along the river are excellent methods to relax and change the atmosphere.

What are your ambitions for the future?

My long term goal is to use my experience and knowledge to open a technological and innovative firm in my country that could help to the industrial development of it. Although, in short term, I would like to work in a technological company where I can apply the knowledge that I gain in the master and previous courses, my experience as a project engineer and leader to analyse and develop an strategy for novel technologies.

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

The opportunity to collaborate with people from different background, cultures and industrial sector helped me to develop a better understanding of teamwork and its integration. 

Additionally, I rented a flat with a stranger, now he is a friend, made us responsible for the development of a cleaning schedule, for the best selection of electricity, gas and internet providers, and even to solve issues of wrong taxations from the city council and TV license. An experience that helps me to understand some different rules that the UK has in comparison with other countries and how to solve problems, keeping calm.

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

Not spend too much time with people from the same region, interact with people from other cultures to learn more about them and also improve your listening of different English pronunciations. To value the knowledge and the experience of the lecturers, learning from their experience and knowledge.