Nell Agate Tsui (Materials 2010) has enjoyed a varied analytical career since graduating. Following her passion, she now works as a Commodity Strategist at Terrabotics, a UK start-up that aims to transform massive volumes of Earth Observation imagery into useful analytical services for Natural Resources sectors such as Oil & Gas, Mining and Renewable Energy.

What is your fondest memory of your time here? 

On the academic side, I am grateful for the advice and support I received from Prof. Mike Finnis during my studies who short-listed me for a placement at the Max Planck Gesellschaft in Germany, which was one of the first times I was able to appreciate theory in practice. I still keep in touch with a few of the researchers I met there! Never underestimate the network of friends and colleagues you build during your time at Imperial.

On the social side of Imperial, I took an active role as a Student Year Representative throughout my course, which meant I was able to quickly get to know my peers and build genuine bonds with both home and international students. As a result, I was one of several people who were awarded the CGCU Full Colours award in 2010 for my contributions, which improved aspects of lab-based coursework, time-management and project submissions.

How has what you learnt at Imperial helped you in your career so far?

My degree from Imperial remains instrumental for my career path, despite graduating almost a decade ago, at the time of writing.

My time in buy-side portfolio analysis required flexible lateral thinking to cover broad macroeconomic and volatile emerging market dynamics, skills I obtained studying Materials Science that forces you to investigate a huge spectrum of technologies from one day to the next.

My time in sell-side commodities research and at an independent natural resources consultancy enabled me to call upon facets of my metallurgy, crystallography and chemistry modules when creating quantitative models to simulate demand for certain steels, catalysts and battery materials.

More recently at Terrabotics, part of my work involves extracting compelling insights from near real-time data sources as well as participating in funding rounds with organisations such as the European Space Agency, both of which require extreme attention to detail and the resilience to deliver a superior service.

What have been your career highlights?

Presenting to over 250+ delegates at several separate international conferences held in Japan, Germany and Australia on the challenges and opportunities faced by producers and consumers of battery materials and related commodities. I made a lot of new friends and continue to benefit from the borderless knowledge-sharing relationships I have with people in very different industries and backgrounds.

What advice would you give to girls who are thinking about studying STEM, particularly at Imperial?

Go for it! It may be daunting to know of Imperial’s staggering contribution to modern science and technology, but after completing your STEM studies; you will personally leave fully equipped with new skills that enable you to be part of the next generation of thought leaders.

What makes you proud to be an Imperial alumna?

Looking back, I am proud that the rigour of the courses taught at Imperial are recognised and appreciated by employers in wider industry. There is a notable network of Imperial alumni who have taken up significant leadership roles in many global corporations. I have been lucky enough to have several such mentors over my varied career who graduated from the RSM (Royal School of Mines) and equally, I enjoy mentoring new, talented graduates who continue to uphold the university reputation.