Alan Middup

Department of Mechanical Engineering

MEng Mechanical Engineering with a Year in Industry

Alan Middup

What did you study at A-Level?

Maths, Physics, Further Maths, Chemistry and Geography

How did you decide which degree course to take?

From an early age, I've been interested in how things work, and why we've designed things to be the way they are. From school, I discovered a talent for maths and physics, which enabled me to understand the science behind these inventions. I have always been interested in large-scale engineering and things that move, like airliners, vehicles, and engines, meaning mechanical engineering was a perfect choice. This is because a mechanical engineering degree is probably the least specific of the engineering disciplines, allowing you to specialise in pretty much anything you want to, and giving you a great diversity of interesting topics to study. For example, as a mechanical engineer, you can study biomechanics and design prosthetic limbs, or you could design the latest gas turbine engines for the next fleet of civil airliners. This variety means you can definitely work on a project you're passionate about, and that will benefit society.

Which part of your course have you enjoyed most so far?

I enjoy design projects the most - I've designed a range of products from a spring powered racing car, to a sugar-bag stacking device! I am currently working on the design of a rear-wing for a racing car, which will provide downforce and improve the car's performance. 

Why did you choose Sheffield?

Sheffield has a strong engineering heritage, and when I was looking at different universities it was second in the rankings for mechanical engineering in the country, so it seemed like a good choice for one of my options. After visiting Sheffield, I really liked the city and the university layout. The course seemed interesting and the facilities were excellent. Sheffield is also really close to the Peak District, which is great as I love getting out of the city.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m on a course with a year in industry, which means I spend a year out working for an engineering company. I have secured a job at Rolls-Royce and if I perform well during the year, there’s a good change I’ll be offered a graduate job. I’m not treating this as my only option though, I'll look at other companies and pick the job which I think is most rewarding. One of the great things about an engineering degree is the career prospects - engineering companies are hiring increasing numbers of graduates, so you can really pick and choose where you would like to work. 

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