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EngineeringUndergraduate study

Andreas Zimmerman MEng Mechanical Engineering

Andreas Zimmerman's Photo

Southampton came out on top, especially as there were so many opportunities for projects and other practical work during my degree. Some of the other universities seemed far more theoretical and I wanted to do real life engineering



Why did you choose to come to Southampton?

“I considered several universities in the UK when deciding to study abroad, I looked at the rankings and found out more about the lecturers who would be teaching me. I also investigated the location of each place. Southampton came out on top, especially as there were so many opportunities for projects and other practical work during my degree. Some of the other universities seemed far more theoretical and I wanted to do real life engineering.”

What did you enjoy most about your degree?

“Right from the start we were doing practical engineering. In our first week we had to take a broken lawnmower apart, repair it and put it back together again. I’ve also enjoyed the practical sessions in the workshop learning basic principles and techniques. Although I chose mechanical engineering, the course is very broad and has covered subjects such as fluid dynamics and electronics, I’ve even learned how to code. I am now staying at Southampton to take a PhD and hope to stay in research and development afterwards or even consultancy.”

What were the lecturers and tutors like?

“If you’re interested and enthusiastic about engineering, the staff will do all they can to help you. They are friendly and approachable and will pass on news of opportunities. For example, in my first year, Professor Andy Cruden told me about an amazing competition in China about alternative energies. Three of us went out to Chongqing and worked with Chinese design students, our team was very ambitious and chose to develop a nuclear-powered car! Although we didn’t win, we achieved more than we could have imagined in two weeks. That led to our involvement in other competitions and now the very challenging and exciting Shell Eco-marathon.”

Tell us more about the Shell Eco-marathon

“I’m leading Southampton’s team to design and build a battery powered vehicle to compete against more than 200 other universities. It’s got to be light, strong and as fuel efficient as possible so we can go as far as we can on the equivalent of one litre of fuel. I’ve been interested in alternative technologies for years and enjoy taking part in competitions to learn more about what is possible and always try to win. We are about to start manufacturing the final version of the vehicle and the contest takes place in London at the end of June. We are all learning a great deal from the project, for me I’m project managing and motivating the team.”

Has there been any time for hobbies and interests outside your course?

“Preparations for the Shell Eco-marathon take up a lot of my time but I also work in a gadget repair shop in a local supermarket, fixing customers’ phones, tablets and computers. It’s an interesting challenge to diagnose and fix what is wrong and, of course, a good way of earning some extra money. I’m also developing my people skills. Although most customers are OK, some can be awkward and I’m learning a lot about the best ways of dealing with them.”

How do you think your course helped you in your career so far?

“Southampton has given me the perfect combination of high level engineering knowledge and practical skills along with challenging and rewarding project work throughout my degree and I’ve also been encouraged to take part in external activities that support my course and help me to develop new skills. I’m staying on for a PhD and know that will help me even more.”

What piece of advice would you give a prospective student?

“Make the most of your studies, there is so much to do at the University of Southampton both as part of your degree and through clubs and societies. And, if you have a special interest in a subject and there isn’t a club you can join, why not start one up yourself? I founded the Electric Vehicles Society with my friends Diogo Cardia Lopes, Michael Yu and Stefano Cinti in my first year and that has led to us getting involved in the Shell Eco-marathon. Things like this are great fun but also look impressive on your CV.”


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