Karim El KhouryKarim graduated from the Concrete Structures and Sustainable Development MSc programme 2013. Karim is now a structural engineer and managing partner at a Lebanese development firm JKD

What have you done since leaving Imperial?

I have only recently graduated from Imperial College, however I did not delay my career one instant. Right after graduation, I have moved to Lebanon to work as a structural engineer and managing partner in JKDevelop which is a leading development company in the construction and real estate industry of Lebanon.

What has been your most rewarding project you have worked on and why?

I have been recently assigned to a new project which will hold a massive development of 80 residential units, a luxurious hotel and commercial facilities in the renowned mountains of Laqlouq (Lebanon) which are famous for their breathtaking landscape. I became involved during the early stages of the project which allowed me to integrate sustainable development considerations. This project will also include a thorough structural design that involves earthquake design, finite element analysis and value engineering for decision making. The opportunity to work on a large scale project that aims to involve sustainable solutions is both challenging and exciting  since it allows me to blend all the academic knowledge I have obtained from my MSc into a real life project.

How has your degree helped?

Having worked before and after my masters degree, I had the opportunity to fully realize what this program has given me. It is evident that the course offers a wide scope of topics, and gives the students the ability to chose from electives which allow them to orient their focus on subjects they are more interested in. This enhanced my satisfaction as a student because I always enjoyed my classes and felt in charge of my education.

Adding to this, the elite teaching staff allowed me to learn from the best professionals in the construction industry: Working in engineering requires not only theoretical knowledge, but also innovation and challenging thinking which is integrated in every bit of the course. The numerous projects and workshops enhanced my ability to works within teams and develop my research skills. To top it all off, the final projects which included the conceptual design of two bridges and then the detailed design of a high rise tower were the perfect ending of an intensive program. Being able to link all the modules and integrate them in a challenging project allowed me to combine my knowledge and cover any gaps through the supervision of my advisor. And having to present my project to a board of professionals prepared me to dealing with real life challenges in a professional sense.

Finally, I think the intensity of the program prepared me to coping with stress and taught me time management in order to meet deadlines. And to be honest, I was only able to fully appreciate this once I started to work.

What would be your advice to a student starting out on a career in Civil and Environmental Engineering? 

I think that a career in Civil and Environmental Engineering can be one of the best careers there is. The student should however be fully involved and totally dedicated in order to enjoy the challenge and bear the pressure such a career requires.

One's career starts with the academic formation, this is why any ambitious student should behave accordingly.  Imperial College London is the perfect transition from an academic life to a professional one, and this comes with a very intensive program that requires perseverance, commitment and a strong will to succeed. Any student should take the course as seriously as possible, as early as possible. This will allow him to enjoy the student experience  and also thrive in a prestigious institution, creating a solid foundation to a bright future.

I was able to graduate with distinction, my project was awarded by the Institute of Structural Engineer and I was student representative for both concrete structures and sustainable development courses, and I can  easily say I enjoyed my year more than any other period of my life. This is only because I was fully dedicated, and truly enjoying what the college had to offer. Any student with a similar mentality can excel. It's all about the attitude and the commitment.