An image of Harriet FrierDegree programme: MEng Materials Science and Engineering 
Year of Graduation: 2018
Current job role and organisation: Manufacturing Engineer (Materials Support)

Why did you choose to study at Imperial? 

I didn’t really know what to study at University, because I loved all my A-Levels (Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry & Physics) and I didn’t really want to give any of those subjects up. In the end, I applied to do Physics, but I wasn’t successful in getting a place. Then the Materials Department offered me an interview; I didn’t know much about Materials Engineering, so I did some research, went to the admissions day and realised that Materials was way more along the lines of what I wanted to study. The offer of a place came after my interview and I accepted immediately; I loved London and it seemed like fate.

What are your top three memories from your time here?

  • Celebrating results at the end of final year (not because uni was over, but because everyone got the results they wanted and we were all so so happy);
  • Bottle Match (all of them, I genuinely cannot narrow it down to a single year)
  • MatSoc trip to Amsterdam.

Can you tell us about your current occupation? 

I started my time at Rolls-Royce in 2018 as a Graduate Engineer based in Derby (I also did a Summer Internship with RR in 2017), and when I finished my Graduate scheme in 2020, I moved out to work in Germany. I currently work as a part of the Rework/Cleaning/NDT team in Assembly & Test in Rolls-Royce Deutschland, based in Dahlewitz, just outside of Berlin.

I am training to become the Materials Support for my team, so I work with both the Materials Special Process Group (SPG) and Rework/Cleaning/NDT. My role is a new role, but I will eventually do the job of Materials SPG within manufacturing. Materials SPG approve processes (internally in our own manufacturing facility and externally in our supply chain) that change the material properties of a part – there are a really wide range of processes; painting, etching, cleaning, NDT processes, to name a few.

What are your ambitions for the future? 

Short-term goals: In order to be fully qualified to do my job, I need to qualify as a lead auditor for aerospace, and as a Level III NDT authority. These qualifications can take years because you need lots of experience, and to pass some exams too. Hopefully I’ll be able to qualify in 3-5 years!

Long-term goals: I genuinely could be doing anything in 10-20 years’ time, because I like to keep my options open! There is lots of work starting to happen in the aerospace industry to make flying more sustainable: hybrid or fully electric engine programmes really interest me (I did a STEM Outreach project on digitalisation and electrification during my Grad Scheme!), so I think this would be a cool thing to get involved with. I studied materials almost totally by accident, so if a good opportunity comes along, then I’ll take it!

What piece of wisdom can you share with our current students?

Get your applications for internships and grad jobs in early in the year (like before term starts in October, early). Places are first come first serve and once they’re gone, that’s it. Be yourself during your applications, you’re all very talented people, and companies would be lucky to have you!