KirushikaKirushika Ganthaswamy is a Systems Engineer with Airbus Defence and Space and a former student of the Department, having studied on the MSc Advanced Computational Methods for Aeronautics, Flow Management and Fluid-Structure Interaction.

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that students might be worried about finding jobs in the current climate. For Women at Imperial Week, the Department invited Kirushika to talk to students about her career path in Aeronautics and to give advice on careers after university.  

Early Life and University  

“Born in Sri Lanka in the midst of civil war, my family emigrated to Germany; at the age of 16, I moved to the UK to continue my studies, leaving my family behind. My journey to fulfil my aspiration towards becoming an astronaut began here.” 

“Studying at Imperial College has definitely opened up my future to a wider career pathway, and made me ready to take on any challenge at work and in life."


 “After finishing my undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey, I was overwhelmed to have attained the grades required to study at Imperial."

"Immediately thereafter, I applied and three weeks later, I received my offer from Imperial to pursue my Masters. My biggest concern at that time was how to finance my Masters. Unfortunately, the application deadline for the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Bursary towards tuition fees (2013) had already passed. Not knowing how to proceed further from there, I was ready to take another step into the unknown with challenges that made me grow further as an individual. I took a private loan and worked 2-3 part-time jobs (Imperial College Union Shop, telephone campaigns) to fund my studies."

"Whilst at university, I was determined to gain engineering related work experiences. I achieved that by working at LASSO GmbH (Germany), SEPnet (UK), Applus IDIADA (Spain) and BAE Systems (UK).”

“My advice to students is, whenever you have time, apply for placements, internships and part-time jobs - that experience is very valuable to employers!”  

After University

“On completion of my engineering degree in Aeronautics at Imperial College, I wanted to understand what I wanted from my career. Having been away from my family for eight years, I decided to spend time with them and explored for that job that was going to exceptionally challenge me."

“My first role in Aeronautics was as a Systems Engineer for Airbus (sub-contractor), responsible for testing A350 Landing Gear for Type Certification; be assured, the first role was the hardest to achieve (so be prepared for that!)

"My second role was as an Aircraft Simulation Engineer at L3Harris. I was responsible for debugging and resolving issues using C and FORTRAN (which I had learnt while at Imperial), writing codes and integrating systems on full flight simulators from engines to hydraulics on various aircraft types (A320, A380, B737NG, B737Max, B777, B787).  By showing you’re capable and willing to go the extra mile - that’s how opportunities fall into place. L3Harris not only provided me with the opportunity to lead the integration project of Windows 10 as the product owner, but also sent me on business trips for updates/full flight certification to Japan, USA and France. I was also a chosen engineer to meet HRH Prince Charles to represent the company and my role as an aerospace engineer.”  

“During a business trip in Texas, USA, I was assigned the role of ‘Programme Engineering Lead’ to complete the full flight certification of B737NG. I gained a lot of technical experiences in communicating with customers and the FAA and resolving challenging issues with the aircraft simulation interface on the spot! It was hard work and a steep learning curve which I will cherish for a lifetime. Never forget that engineers are natural problem solvers, who can solve any issues with the ideal mindset. I’d advise any young engineers to embrace every little opportunity as they really expand your skillset. My understanding of engineering as well as the other areas of business, from marketing to finance, customer service and team management has been enriched immensely. "

Careers advice

“I come from a background where I had no link to the aerospace sector. My knowledge base, work experiences and connections have been built from scratch with the support of career advisors and academics at the university. Go and make use of the Careers Service whilst being at Imperial!”

“You need to show your employer your willingness to learn, and a readiness to take on a steep learning curve. A willingness, when you start a new job, to do your homework and build your knowledge base through a consistent approach.”

“Companies are looking for more than that from you, the key things are perseverance, resilience and self-discipline; an ability to not just work but perform under pressure; your capability to be an empathetic team player, and your effective communication and interdisciplinary skills.”

“The commercial aviation sector has been hit hard by COVID-19 and will have a ripple effect on other industries. The current pandemic has brought a handful of challenges to the younger generations of engineers. Think of them as opportunities: engineers are natural problem solvers - that’s a key skill in life and to employers. Every job will improve your skillset, so don’t be afraid of opportunities. Consider applying for sectors relating to aerospace: Autonomous Vehicles, Consultancy, Data Science, Government agencies, Software, Space and of course start-ups! Don’t live in fear, face it and challenge it. Remember, growth comes from being out of your comfort zone.”

“Studying at Imperial College has definitely opened up my future to a wider career pathway, and made me ready to take on any challenge at work and in life.”