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Nikita Chandrashekar

I decided to study engineering because it involves applying theoretical knowledge to solving real, practical problems. Chemical engineering, in particular, interested me due to the diversity of industries to which it was applicable from food products, to pharmaceuticals to petrochemical processing.

Before coming to Cambridge, I did the International Baccalaureate (IB) in Thailand. This helped prepare me for university both academically and in learning to manage my time effectively.

The chemical engineering course at Cambridge has a strong emphasis on understanding the fundamentals which builds a good academic foundation. It also presents many opportunities to apply these principles practically and develop soft skills like working in teams and making presentations. Notably, at the end of the third year, students work in teams of 5 or 6 design an entire process plant in five weeks! In my year, this was an instant coffee plant in a project sponsored by Mondelez International. Despite being challenging, it allowed us to learn about how we fit into a team and work together towards a tight deadline.

The Department is very well connected to industry with many companies coming in to present career opportunities in the form of internships and graduate jobs. Through one such recruitment event, I acquired an internship with ExxonMobil in their commercial sector analysing natural gas markets. Even though this wasn’t the technical chemical engineering I had been studying at university, the problem solving skills were easily transferrable.

The chemical engineering department at Cambridge consists of a relatively small cohort of students, making it a very friendly and relaxed learning environment. Many departmental social events are organised throughout the year, like a termly department dinner and summer barbecue – which few other departments do.

After graduation, I will be returning to ExxonMobil in a commercial role involving gas and power marketing.

College: Churchill
Route: Chemical Engineering via Engineering
IB Higher Level: Maths, Chemistry, Physics
IB Standard Level: English, Economics, French, Further Maths