Chibuzo Okereke

What have you been doing since finishing your studies? What are you doing in terms of your career?

After graduation I started out as Proposals Engineer with a Control and Automation firm. In that role, I worked on cost engineering and generating several types of technical and commercial proposals which offered the firm's products, services, and solutions with the purpose of supporting the Sales team's efforts towards winning contracts for the company. I was also involved in other activities for the company intermittently, such as planning and execution of company marketing exhibitions. I recently moved into the software division of my company and currently work as a project engineer under the design, simulation and optimization group. 

What company are you working for, what is your role and what does it involve?

I currently work for Schneider Electric's Software business as a project engineer under the design, simulation and optimization group. My role is focused on project support and mainly the development of operator training simulators which are advanced computer-based training tools for industrial processes, using SE's proprietary software programs, which enable the simulation of the process and controls with a dynamic model that helps give operators the skills they require to run a process or a plant.

What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career/will help with your future career?

I believe the transferable skills I gained during my course such as planning, organisation, report writing, and preparation, referencing, researching, presenting, to mention but a few, have helped me immensely in my career and will continue to do so. I took advantage of several Skills Library workshops which added  a lot of value to me as an individual and enhanced my learning experience at Leeds tremendously.

Looking back, why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I chose my course because I have a BEng in Chemical Engineering and wanted to advance my knowledge of the field in order to build a career in it. I chose the University of Leeds because I wanted to obtain a masters level qualification from a top ranking British university with a renowned reputation around the world and especially in Nigeria where I intended to pursue my career. Another key factor for me was the fact that the MSc Chemical Engineering course had been independently accredited by the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), of which I have been a member since my undergraduate years, and that the University is a member of the Russell Group.

What was the best aspect of the course/the University and why? Any highlights?

One major highlight for me was being taught by academics who had done years of research and could actually teach us from the results of their research instead of just from old text books. I thought this was incredible! I also enjoyed the general student vibe of the University, regardless of where you were from, what you were studying or what your future goals were, there were always several opportunities and avenues for you to exert and develop yourself; you could always find somewhere you could fit it. Personally, I volunteered with a couple of energy and waste management groups because these are areas I have always been been interested in, which were very enlightening experiences for me. Another highlight during my stay occurred when I was invited for an impromptu interview by an FMCG company and dashed to the Careers Centre for guidance. Regardless of the short notice, they organised an aptitude test and mock interview for me that same day, it was amazing. The counselors were very supportive and gave me a lot of advice and guidance which lead to a successful 1st stage interview for me. 

What other activities outside of your studies were you involved in?

I was involved in an ACTION Greenstreets recycling project, a DEFRA energy study, and Squash during my year at Leeds.

What would you say to students thinking about studying the same course at Leeds/thinking about the same career? 

Seize the opportunity and make the most of  every minute your time there. There are unlimited resources and opportunities for you develop yourself technically and otherwise. You will be taught first hand by academics that are making advances in the field, whose research is being used to solve problems and optimise solutions across several industries. You will be surrounded by great minds who are constantly looking for innovative ways to advance technology and ultimately the quality of human life. In this kind of environment, there's no knowing where your studies will take you. Your future at Leeds will be entirely what you make of it.