Tell us about yourself

Sharon Suresh Kumar has fast-tracked her career by securing an exhilarating job at Ricardo, a global designer and manufacturer of high performance sports cars.

The Mechanical Engineering graduate from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) joins the company’s 2,000-strong team of engineers, consultants and scientists, whose clients span the commercial, rail, defence, motorsport, marine and environmental industries.

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How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?

“As soon as I walked in for my interview I felt it was meant to be,” said Sharon whose role as a Graduate Automotive Engineer will include developing her knowledge of quality analysis, manufacturing and assembly for sports cars such as the McLaren V8 and Bugatti Veyron.

“I had other interviews too, but Ricardo was my first choice and it feels great to say that my first job after graduating is also my dream job.”

How was the experience at De Montfort University Leicester?

Sharon feels her course prepared her well for industry, saying: “Everything I learned on my course – from manipulating different materials and using CAD design to project management and discovering thermodynamics – directly relates to my new job.

“The structure of the course is brilliant too. You get to apply the theory you learn through practical lab experiments and then you back those up with research and write it all up into a report.

“The variety is also great because it opens up different career paths within the industry. You could end up pursuing trade journalism, becoming a project manager or going into marketing.”

The outstanding opportunities Sharon took advantage of while at DMU also enabled her to stand out during her job interview.

Any real projects that you worked on?

As a dedicated member of DMU Racing, Sharon based her final-year project on Formula Student – a competition run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers which challenges university students worldwide to design, build and race a single seat racing car in one year.

For her project she designed the car’s chassis, contributing to the DMU team finishing in the UK’s top 15 and completing the third fastest time in the acceleration event – 0.62mph in 3.75 seconds.

She said: “Being part of DMU Racing is like being part of a family. I learned so much from our weekly meetings where we explored ways to overcome the challenges we faced.”

Sharon also impressed the interview panel with the international experience she gained during a #DMUglobal trip to South India where she and other students learned about the importance of waste management in rural communities and schools.

Eager to leave DMU with as much experience as possible, Sharon brushed up on her administrative skills during a Frontrunner internship with the Technology Placement Team.

This led to roles as both a Brand and Student Ambassador, representing her course and DMU at Open Days and in local schools.

Advice to students?

“I think it’s important for young people, especially girls, to have a role model when it comes to subjects like Mechanical Engineering,” said Sharon.

“I had to switch to a mixed school when I was younger, because my all-girls school didn’t offer Physics. So going into schools with DMU was a way to inspire other girls to follow their dreams too.”

Embracing the full student experience, Sharon was a founding member of both the International Development for Engineers society and the Tamil Society.

She said: “There are so many opportunities offered by DMU and it’s up to students to take full advantage of them and leave uni as experienced as possible.”