Maria McKavanagh

Maria McKavanagh
Maria McKavanagh

This degree has been by far the most difficult, yet most enjoyable, thing I have ever done. I have been pushed to reach my full potential by the academics who have taught me.


Enjoying mathematics and physics at school meant that when it came to choosing a university course, engineering was the obvious subject choice. I also had an interest in business and professional services but didn't want to be tied down to one career at such a young age. Having researched all the different types of engineering I discovered that, of all the engineering disciplines, electronic engineering was the most relevant in this technological age that we live in. If you cast your mind back to 15 years ago there were no mobile phones or Internet readily available, and iPhones weren't even a thought!

Technological innovation creates and makes available so much of what we take for granted in our daily lives. The speed at which technology has moved is astounding and one can only imagine what the future will bring. Studying this subject brings you to the forefront of an exciting, constantly evolving industry and by pursuing such a career I am excited by the possibilities and opportunities new technological advances hold.

The mathematical, analytical and problem-solving skills gained when studying this course mean that when I finish, I will be able to turn my hand to almost any profession that requires them. Therefore choosing electronic engineering allowed me to delay making my career choice by a few years, giving me time to mature and decide what I really want to pursue.

When I decided that Electronic Engineering was the degree for me, the choice of university was easy. For me, though, The University of Manchester offered both a leading academic record and an amazing social side. The course is also accredited by the Institute of Engineering and Technology. After I received my offer from Manchester I applied for an IET scholarship and was successful. I receive £1,000 per year and free student membership of the IET.

Over the years I have worked in my summer holidays in electronics companies, financial services firms and in the University. In my year in industry I worked as a Radio Systems Researcher specialising in Wireless Sensor Networks. Being exposed to this wide range of professions meant that when I came into my fourth year and had to start applying for jobs I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I had enjoyed the consultancy role I had in the financial services firm but I didn't feel I was using enough of the technical engineering skills I had picked up. I really enjoyed my year placement in wireless sensor networks, and did consider applying for a PhD in the area, however, I have found a company which provides a mix of the two worlds. It is a communications engineering consultancy, based in Manchester, and I was lucky enough to be offered a job before I sat my January exams. This took some of the pressure off me in my final year.

This degree has been by far the most difficult, yet most enjoyable, thing I have ever done. I have been pushed to reach my full potential by the academics who have taught me and the vibrant social life provided by the School of Electrical  and Electronic  Engineering Society (EEESoc), and the city of Manchester as a whole has helped me with my communications skills.

The team project in the fourth year, which has been sponsored by industry, prepares you extremely well for the world of work, with the team having its own office and lab facilities. Deciding to study Electronic Engineering at The University of Manchester was the best decision I ever made and I can't thank the staff here enough for the effort they put in to ensure we all reach our full potential. My advice to any new students is to ask for help when you need it, all the lecturers are extremely approachable and also get involved in some extracurricular activities, whether it is EEESoc or the Electronics Club or whatever else takes your fancy! In todays competitive job market little things like this will set you apart from the competition.

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