"Utilise the fantastic resources that Keele has to offer"
Year studied MSc Geoscience Research
Geology and Physical Geography from Keele University
Graduate Geophysicist, AECOM (formerly URS).
What did you do after graduation and how did you get this job?
During my MSc placement at the University of Oviedo, Spain, I decided it was in my best interest to start looking and applying for jobs. I applied for one job in February 2014, thinking that they would never get back to me, and three days later I received a call to say that they would like to interview me and that they would pay for my flights from Spain. I had the interview in Nottingham and within two hours of leaving the interview room they offered me the Graduate Geophysicist role. The best thing about it was that the company were kind enough to accommodate me whilst I was conducting research in Spain and deferred my start date to June 2014.
I have been working full-time since three months before the thesis hand-in deadline date and managed to gain an MSc with Distinction.
What does your job involve?
AECOM is a global civil engineering company that works in a variety of different markets, such as buildings, energy, environmental, governmental, transportation and water. I am a part of a tightly-knit geophysics team in the Nottingham office and I am responsible for the collection, analysis and interpretation of geophysical data.
Since starting in June 2014 I have been involved in a wide variety of projects that include monitoring railways, highways, airports and infrastructure from all over the world. I am involved in a number of projects that relate to the civil engineering sector and, fortunately, no two jobs are the same. Each job will have a specific set of tasks and criteria that the client would like us to achieve and we do this by producing factual reports based on geophysical data. I would say approximately 75% of my time is taken up by processing and analysing data within the office. However, I am occasionally on site collecting data which leads to being away from the office for weeks at a time.
What did you learn on the MSc Geoscience Research which helped you get the job, or helps with your role now?
The MSc Geoscience Research Training course has provided me with invaluable knowledge and skills which have proved extremely beneficial to me. The course has undoubtedly provided me with a solid foundation and understanding geophysical techniques in order to tackle anything that may occur during my working life.
Techniques such as data collection, analysis, presentation skills, report writing and language learning have also been beneficial to me as it has given me a greater confidence to apply myself in almost any scenario that may come my way.
Do you have any advice for current/prospective MSc Geoscience Research students interested in a similar career?
I would say the best thing to do is to tackle this MSc head-on and do not leave anything to the last minute. Treat this course as a 9-5 job and you will achieve greatness. Get involved with any practical work you can to gain the hands-on experience needed for working life, whether that is volunteering on practical excursions with lecturers, conducting your own mini fieldtrips, or actively pursuing training opportunities. All of these will boost your CV. Also, utilise the fantastic resources that Keele has to offer and do not be afraid to ask questions if you have any doubts. But, most importantly – apply for jobs!