Student Profiles

Kien Hoang
Interviewed in his fourth year, studying Structural Engineering

Kien HoangI chose to study Engineering because it seemed to me to provide a good mix between the sciences and human interaction. I did the standard Maths, Physics and Chemistry A Levels combined with Classical Civilisation and some Latin. I wish now that I had done Further Maths, but I managed to get up to speed in my first year here at Cambridge, which makes allowance for that.

I didn't take a gap year, but in my first summer vacation I went to Vietnam where I combined teaching English with a work placement with Vietnam National Construction Consultants. I had always wanted to visit Japan, and at the end of my second year I managed to get a work placement with a geotechnical consultancy company, Raito Kogyo. I went on lots of site visits and worked on instrument calibration and design and CAD projects. Altogether I spent two and a half months in Tokyo and had a great time.

My interests at the time were in Geotechnical Engineering, but then the creative side of me won through and I turned towards Structural and Architectural Engineering. I applied for sponsorship with Buro Happold, and on gaining that, I did a work placement with them in the summer of my third year. I also did two other work placements with structural engineering companies (one month at each) just to try them out. I enjoyed my time with Buro Happold the most, and will be going to work for them once I graduate.

To me, the best bit of my time at Cambridge has been meeting so many people from such a wide range of backgrounds - I probably learnt as much from them as I did from my course. In particular, I really enjoyed the time spent working for the student newspaper, and also my brief spell as editor of the College magazine. I am also a member of the Gliding Club - something which I would probably not have the chance to do elsewhere - and hopefully should go solo before graduating.

My fourth year project involves being part of a six-person team making an aircraft to take part in the British Model Association's Annual University Challenge, and here I am pictured with a wing that we have designed and made.

I think the Cambridge course is great because it is so flexible, but at the same time you can extend your studies as far as you want because the academics here are at the leading edge of their fields.

<< back