After visiting all the top universities for mechanical engineering, I chose Loughborough because of the exciting projects on the course. These have included designing and building a wood cutting device, developing a new garden tool for Bosch and creating a stone skimming machine.

It is the practical application of engineering where Loughborough really excels, and I love applying the engineering principles learnt in the lectures to real life problems. I was also attracted to the focus on team-based projects and assignments as they build teamworking skills, which are vital for industry. The engineering companies I spoke to specifically mentioned Loughborough’s Mechanical Engineering graduates as being extremely competent and sought after, which gave me added confidence and trust in the course. 

The lectures and supplementary lecture notes are of an extremely high quality which makes it easy to understand and learn the content. Lecturers actively encourage an inquisitive mindset and are happy to answer any questions which makes the course more interactive and engaging.

Thomas Heylen

I have really enjoyed the exciting projects I have been part of. These include designing and building a wood cutting machine in my first year. My team and I were given the creative freedom to develop an innovative concept which enabled uninterrupted wood cutting. It is a great feeling witnessing a fully working prototype knowing that only a couple of months ago it was nothing but an idea.

During my second-year industry linked project I had the opportunity to look around one of Bosch’s factories. It was fascinating to see the automated manufacturing process and better understand the reasons behind some of Bosch’s design decisions. I also had the opportunity to disassemble part of a McLaren 12C engine which gave me an insight into the advanced materials used, and the close tolerances required to build such a high-performance car.

In my third-year project I used the extensive prototyping facilities to develop a stone skimming machine, including processes such as 3D printing, laser cutting, milling, turning, sheet metal bending and welding. I also had access to a wide range of materials, and the technicians are extremely supportive and helpful. So far, this has been my greatest achievement. The machine can launch stones at 45 mph and spin them at 2400 rpm which lead to more than 88 skims being achieved. To accomplish this, I applied mechanical engineering principles learnt in my first two years such as mechanics of materials, dynamics, and machine design.

The University has a very supportive environment, and the lecturers really want you to succeed. My third-year project supervisor was always very encouraging and gave me guidance and advice but ultimately, I was responsible for the output and direction of the project. This really cultivated my ability to work independently, setting my own targets and deadlines, and having the self-discipline to stick to them. 

Outside of my academic work, I have been a member of the cycling team and went on many group rides exploring the rolling hills of Leicestershire. Whilst on the team, I went on a training camp to Majorca which was an incredible experience, with some insanely fast descents down mountain roads. I am a member of the sailing club as well and went from being a complete novice to a fairly competent sailor in the space of a year, under the expert guidance of the more experienced club members.

I also had the opportunity to complete a year-long internship at Cambridge Consultants, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The breadth of projects I worked on was vast, ranging from the creation of a fluidic circuit to pump blood around a synthetic human arm, to the development of an innovative beverage dispense system.

From day one I was treated like any other employee, and I was given big responsibilities that I do not think many other companies would give, such as overseeing the mechanical design for a machine vision kitchen project. I was consistently challenged and whilst there was a steep learning curve, I learnt so much and gained so many new skills, such as my ability to confidently present information to clients. I could not have done this without the team-based project experience and technical foundation gained at Loughborough.

After I graduate, I want to work at an engineering consultancy for a few years. The skills I have gained at Loughborough will help tremendously with this, including experience following the engineering design process which involves starting with a problem and finishing with a working prototype or product. This is the same process used in industry and having practised this at Loughborough will give me a head start. Studying Mechanical Engineering at Loughborough University has given me a broad overview of all the engineering disciplines, so I am able to integrate myself into a multi-disciplinary environment comfortably.

I would also love to start my own business and studying at Loughborough has inspired me to do this by giving me the confidence to tackle difficult engineering challenges in an innovative and creative way, which is vital for a successful engineering company.

To anyone considering studying Mechanical Engineering at Loughborough, my advice would be that although it is not an easy course, if you are prepared to put in the work then it is incredibly rewarding. If you have a strong foundation in mathematics and enjoy using creativity to solve practical real-world problems, then you will find it very enjoyable. The first two years give a comprehensive overview of mechanical engineering principles with the opportunity to specialise later. Optional modules I have chosen include robotics, machine vision and sustainable engineering, which are tailored to my engineering consultancy career. 

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