Student Profiles

Caroline Westall
Interviewed in her fourth year, studying Manufacturing Engineering

Caroline studied Maths, Physics and Chemistry at A Level with Further Maths and French at AS Level.

Caroline Westall"I had always been encouraged to study engineering by my father, but I wasn't sure which type of engineering to do. I applied to and was awarded a student scholarship through the Institution of Electrical Engineers when I was in the sixth form and also took part in the 'Year in Industry' scheme through which I got a work placement with a company making agrochemicals during my gap year. I worked in the engineering design department and got some experience using computer aided design (CAD) programs as well as experience of mechanical engineering.

The course at Cambridge meant I did not have to make a decision about my specialisation straight away. I chose Manufacturing Engineering in my third year because I am very interested in the design process. The course is both management and business based - we get a grounding in economics as well as subjects such as materials selection and processing, human resources and organisation.

In my third year we went to Italy to attend a seminar on engineering management and met students from other European Universities - it was great fun. I was able to use some of the money that I was awarded under the Engineering Leadership Awards scheme to fund my travel expenses.

I have greatly enjoyed making use of the language facilities at the Engineering Department - I learned French in the first year, and then German in the second. I have been on trips to Paris and Munich as part of this scheme - we visited a number of different engineering companies in France and Germany which was fascinating. I am now learning Japanese.

We take part in many external industrial placements during the course, which is extremely interesting (for instance I have just been in Manchester making turbochargers). I am in charge of organising the end-of-year study tour this year, which will be in the Baltic States. I hope one day to set up my own company - one thing we learn doing the manufacturing engineering course is that there is no limit to what you can achieve with sufficient motivation.

In my spare time I play violin with the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra which is totally student run. It's a very nice way of meeting different people and doing something creative and relaxing. I also play football - that is very useful for picking up skills in leadership and management!"

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