Alec McMurdo, BEng (Hons) Motorsport Engineering, 2015

What are you doing now?

I am currently working at Lotus Cars as a Design Engineer within the Chassis Dynamics Team. Since graduating I kept myself busy with job applications and further studying – you never know when the call might come!

What were the main reasons you took that course?

I always wanted to work in the automotive industry and be successful at whatever I do. I applied to the University determined to get a place and learn as much as I could do to increase my chances of a good career.

Why did you choose to study the course at the University of Derby?

After meeting Steve Hill and seeing the facilities at Derby I instantly accepted a place at the University. I always had the vision of getting a first class honours degree and I knew it was possible with what was available at Derby.

Make the most of lecturers and workshop staff, they’re incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about what they do.

 What impact has studying this course at Derby had on your career?

Studying at Derby was an incredible experience and very challenging. The course gave me a good understanding of automotive theory and engineering fundamentals.

The most significant experience for me was being part of the University’s first successful Class 1 entry into Formula Student through the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. This allowed me to apply the knowledge gained in lectures to a real world project involving designing for manufacture, assembly, performance and to budget. These basic principles are applicable throughout the motor industry and were valuable skills that have got me where to I am today.

How did the lecturers inspire you?

I am very thankful for my senior lecturers as they are incredibly knowledgeable, encouraging and put passion into what they teach. This is evident in lectures, around the University and via email at ridiculous hours of the day! 

What are your future plans?

I plan to continue learning and improving myself. The automotive industry is constantly changing and I still have lots to learn!

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to study this course at the University of Derby?

To both current and prospective students I would say make the most of lecturers and workshop staff, they’re incredibly friendly, knowledgeable and passionate about what they do.

For me it was hugely important to take part in Formula Student - it allows you to understand the full spectrum of design, manufacture and assembly. It also gives you a good opportunity to speak to and get feedback from workshop staff - being able to design for manufacture and assembly are crucial industry skills. In terms of job opportunity, the Formula Student experience might be the only thing that separates you from next guy.

Other than that, make the most of the library and pay your fines!

Studying at Derby was an incredible experience and very challenging. The course gave me a good understanding of automotive theory and engineering fundamentals.

Who are you still in touch with from University of Derby?

I have recently been in contact with my senior lecturers and I plan to continue contact – they have been a very important part of my career so far. I have also made good friends whilst on the course, potentially good contacts within the industry.