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Material Engineering

Author: Alexandre Guiraud

Applied in: Winter 2013

University Offers: Imperial College, Queen Mary, Ucl, Warwick

A reading that really inspired me and probably crystallized my growing attraction towards Engineering was a biography of Thomas Edison, who was not only a very prolific inventor but also a great innovator and entrepreneur, able to take risks but also to admit his errors such as for the direct current. I was seduced especially by his ability to ally conception and manufacturing of a large variety of innovative products which he progressively turned into a big business. Various discussions with my uncle who supervises several building materials plants and my cousin, software engineer at Google Brazil, contributed as well to build up my interests for Engineering.

Above all, my natural inclination results in my love for Maths and Physics, which led me logically to choose the Scientific section (Série S) in the French Lycée in order to build-up my knowledge. I also selected the European section as it allows me to learn Maths in English and be better prepared for Anglo-Saxon universities. The diversity of engineering disciplines and the increasing need for combining these techniques is another determining factor in my choice, as illustrated by the course work I chose to run last year. We formed a group of 3 to make a presentation of a scientific topic, the myoelectric prosthesis, which uses the electricity of the human brain and transform it into energy and movement. We achieved an excellent grade for this work (17:20) which is an assessment for the Baccalaureate. This combination of biology, electricity and mechanics fascinated me and comforted my desire to become an engineer. Moreover, I am interested in studying business in order to be ultimately able to combine a solid engineering knowledge with entrepreneurial skills. For this school project, we had in particular to describe the pros and cons of the prosthesis in terms of price, movement capacity and speed and compare it with other prosthesis available on the market. I was passionate by the ability to sell such technological products whilst knowing how they are conceived and produced.

Living in 5 different countries (Spain, Egypt, Morocco, the UK twice and France during holidays) has enhanced my open mind and curiosity as well as my capacity to adapt to new or changing situations. It also fostered my ability to learn new languages (Spanish and English). In parallel, I became familiar with emerging markets which take a more and more central role in developing, manufacturing and using new technologies, sometimes faster than in the developed world as it was the case for mobile phones. My work experience at JP Morgan contributed to develop my communication skills thanks to presentations I had to perform in front of the team. It also enhanced my ability to work to deadlines within a true international organisation and my understanding of basic finance.

I enjoy swimming 3 times a week at the Chelsea Sport Centre and rowing once a week at the Chiswick Rowing Club which require commitment and discipline. Rowing has strengthened my ability for teamwork and good coordination whilst playing guitar regularly has developed my creative skills and imagination. Although my main goal will be to achieve the best academic results, I will do my best to pursue these activities in your university as they give me a well-balanced life. As a composed but determined person, I like taking risks but never forget to keep a cool head. It is reflected by my passion for demanding sports such as skiing, surfing (level “vague d’argent”) or even skateboarding, (although a few years ago). Such personality completed with a taste for hard work match well in my view with the qualities required for becoming a talented engineer. Hence I am resolved to study Engineering in a top ranked British university, which is a challenging choice due to a very selective process. However, I rather acquire a broad knowledge in materials science and engineering disciplines first, whilst keeping flexibility for the future to select the right speciality.

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