Oskar Dondelewski is currently an engineer in the Special Vehicle Operations unit at Aston Martin.
Why did you choose the AME course and what was your background before it?
I had a fairly straightforward reason for choosing the AME: this MSc course in Mechanical Engineering is the best of its kind. Imperial College offers leading postgraduate education in engineering, one of the best in the UK and perhaps in the entire world. Despite being admitted to other top programmes, I had no doubt Imperial was the best choice. Interestingly, my background was not directly related to mechanical engineering, but rather to electrical engineering, as my undergraduate studies focused on the subject of energy. A great strength of Imperial’s Mechanical Engineering department is the breadth of research themes that are multidisciplinary in nature. This helped me feel like home from day one.
How was your time on the course? What did you most enjoy about it, and what did you learn?
I would use two adjectives to describe my experience at Imperial: challenging and exciting. Measured by any standard, postgraduate studies at Imperial are intellectually challenging, but this challenge is what helps you grow as a scientist. What immediately caught my attention was how well ‘crafted’ AME modules were. Each of them encapsulated the core knowledge about the subject, often highly mathematical, yet they always managed to link it with various practical applications. A good example is the Computational Fluid Dynamics course I took, where before learning how to use commercial software, we were thought how to write basic solvers in MATLAB from scratch. This approach gives a powerful understanding of all principles underlying the studied subjects.
In spite of the high intellectual demands, the AME course was also very exciting. Lecturers and researchers are genuinely passionate about their work and this is very contagious, especially during the research component of the course when we worked in labs. You always got the feel of working on something that can be a world-changing discovery.
How has what you learned on the AME course helped you in your career so far?
Studies at Imperial are an excellent preparation for a career in industry or academia. Thanks to the AME course, I acquired postgraduate-level understanding of mechanical engineering, yet at the same time I was able to participate in the world-class research on lithium-ion batteries. The knowledge and skills I acquired proved to be desired by employers. More important, however, is that Imperial does not forget the graduates after they leave the college. In my case I was offered an opportunity to continue my research work as a Visiting Researcher, which was very helpful. This long-term support of its graduates makes me particularly proud to be among the alumni of this amazing institution.
What kind of work are you doing now? What are your plans for the future?
Currently, I am an engineer in the Special Vehicle Operations unit at Aston Martin. I am supporting the development of our flagship hypercar, Aston Martin Valkyrie, as well as many other high-profile sport car projects. My plan was always to become some sort of research engineer, where I could develop a deep, scientific understanding of the physical phenomena and use it in practical applications. My postgraduate studies at Imperial were certainly very helpful. Who knows, maybe one day I will consider doing a PhD.
"I would use two adjectives to describe my experience at Imperial: challenging and exciting."