Ashwin Sandeep, Automotive Engineering student at the University of Leeds

Ashwin Bharath Sandeep

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

I have wanted to be actively involved in motorsports and work in a Formula 1 team for a very long time. Research led me to the fact that most Formula 1 teams have a base in the United Kingdom and that the sport is very popular in the country. Hence, I started looking for the best university in the UK that would help me reach my goal. The Automotive Engineering   programme at the University of Leeds, which was ranked second in the world, really stood out. The flexibility in the course where you could choose to do a 3, 4, or 5 year programme with an option to study abroad or go into industry for a year impressed me. The variety of modules and the resources available to help students also struck me. However, what impressed me most was the Formula Student programme, where the students get a hands on experience on how to build and race a Formula car. All these factors helped me to confirm the University of Leeds was the best place for me.

What has been the best aspect of studying at the University and why?

A variety of different aspects have contributed to life at university being fulfilling so far.  The lectures have been scheduled on Mondays and Tuesdays with the rest of the week having at the most three laboratory sessions, which means students find a lot of time to both study and have an active social life. With respect to academics, the professors are very approachable and are there for you in case you need any help. Also, the amount of practical work in each module makes them exciting. This is contrary to what I have experienced in school where it is mostly theory-based teaching.  The range of societies, clubs, and volunteering opportunities at university mean that you never feel left out or bored. There is always something for everyone to do.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far?

In the first semester, under the Design and Manufacture module, we were given an assignment where we had to design and build an elastic band powered buggy. This is basically what I will have to do as an engineer in Formula 1 but on a much smaller scale. We were split into groups of 6 and were given around a month to complete the project. Although intimidating at first, seminars, workshop inductions, and lectures focussing on the project made things easier and a lot more exciting. We were expected to make the design on a software called SolidWorks and then build the buggy using the materials available in the department workshop.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?

Leeds is a very student friendly city with a pub at every other corner. A five minute walk from the university takes you to the city centre with a range of shopping malls, bars, restaurants, and cinemas. Right next to the university is Hyde Park, the perfect place to get fit with facilities for tennis, skate boarding, football, and a lot more.

What are your ambitions for the future?

Upon completion of the course, I hope to get into a Formula 1 team. If the opportunity does not arise, I will do a MEng in Motorsport Engineering. However, the range of opportunities in this field is huge and you never really know what is going to happen in the future. Making the sport more popular back in India is also something that I hope to achieve.

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

I hope the various group projects and assignments at university will help me develop both the technical skills and the soft skills required for an engineer to function in the real world. I also hope to take up summer placements in automotive companies which will be a good opportunity for me to apply what I have learnt at university.

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

I would advice the students to be fully prepared for the course that you wish to take up. Physics, Mathematics, Computing, and a bit of Chemistry is needed for Automotive Engineering. Try not to skip lectures and submit all assignments on time. At the same time, be careful not to go into your shell. Remember to have fun along the way.