Michal studied for an MEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering at City, University of London, and graduated in 2014.
Why did you decide to study at City, University of London?
I walked into open day presentations by accident and enjoyed what I saw and heard. I got talking to another 'attendee' who happened to be a member of staff and he convinced me to join.
What was your favourite aspect of your course?
The multitude of opportunities offered by studying in the centre of London while being surrounded by international staff and students. It greatly reflects the city we live in. The relationships City has with its partner universities across the world were also very useful when deciding on where I wanted to go for an exchange.
Can you tell me about your time at City?
Studying hard, reaped great rewards. I was confident in my lecturers and I realised that as long as I studied hard and understood the material they taught, I would be able to pass my exams. In the end, I achieved a 1st class degree, so there were no problems there.
What was the highlight of your time at City?
Building my own robot after coming back from an exchange in South Korea as my 3rd year project. I had received all the support I needed from the staff within my faculty, as well as from my project supervisor, even though at the time there was no robotic–oriented teaching staff at City.
What was the main benefit of completing a course at City?
Achieving a first class Masters at City allowed me to choose my own career from the many interesting offers. I could not have asked for more.
How did City prepare you for your chosen career path?
City provided me with a variety of transferable skills and knowledge necessary for a variety of jobs within the engineering sector. My time working within TfL's graduate scheme has thus far been split into a number of placements of around 3 months each. There is a great emphasis on experiencing as many aspects of engineering as we can, which means I have found myself in placements requiring a variety of skills – from circuit designs, systems modelling and control, mathematics, programming, communication systems, economics of the power industry, electronics, power engineering and even (and I thought I’d never say it) engineering management.
How would you describe your current working environment? What is it like working for TfL?
Thanks to the way the graduate scheme is organised in our company, the experience has always been positive. You have some degree of control over which team you are going to be working with, provided you stay within the required area. Every team I worked with was very happy to have me on board and everybody has been happy to explain what it is they do exactly and what they have been working on. This then led to my involvement in much of the team's projects they were working on. It is a win-win scenario with TfL graduates – project teams teach us practical knowledge which we later apply to benefit the project teams.
What has been the biggest challenge with regards to your job?
Changing jobs every 3 months can be quite challenging. Each time there is a new pool of knowledge and skills that are required for a particular role. It takes good few weeks of learning until you start producing results and then another few weeks until you are confident with your work. And then, just as you begin feeling comfortable with what you are doing, it is time to move to another business area and repeat the process.
What has been the most rewarding experience?
Each day I come to work with knowledge that what my colleagues and I do will improve the lives of people living in London. That is why I became an engineer, and of course... the good salary. Some of the exciting projects I was involved with included writing new software to test certain automated systems used on central line trains or working alongside managers of multi billion pound projects and helping them understand the impact of business decisions on engineering solutions.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps?
Apply for as many interesting schemes as you can. Sometimes it is just a numbers game and even after preparing perfectly for your final interview your interviewer might have had a bad day and you don’t get the job offer. Do not take these things personally, do not give up and plough on until you succeed. Do not take any job for granted until you actually start working there. If you decide to apply for a position with TfL one thing that could help you is that we are a public company. You can get a lot of interesting information under the freedom of information act that could help you prepare for your interviews and stand out from the crowd. Everybody seems to have a 1st or 2:1 degree these days. What makes you stand out?
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