Ashutosh’s international student experience
International Experience 7th November 2022
Ashutosh Karkare is an alumnus from India and he’s taken the time to tell us how he got inspired to undertake an MSc degree in Advanced Process Integration and Design at the University of Manchester:
I can vividly recall here that incident that kick-started my affection for the subject of chemistry. During my high school, at one of our annual science fairs, there was a sign with big bold letters scribbled with the name of the science experiment – the ‘The Iodine Clock Reaction’. The atmosphere was electric as I watched the dramatic reaction unfolding in the beaker from the front-row seat in a classroom chock-full of curious high school students. With occasional gasps of excitement punctuated with signs of utter disbelief, I was simply mesmerized to watch this chemical concoction swiftly switching colours between dark blue and a hazy white at perfectly timed intervals as if the chemicals had minds of their own. The spectacle was nothing short of a magic show.
This feeling has stayed with me through the years and I always go back to this moment, when the spark was lit in my mind. Although the chemistry behind this experiment and the concepts of chemical kinetics were esoteric to me at the time, this very event commenced my journey into the world of science and technology. There was no doubt that I would dive headlong into this world without looking back.
Over the years when my peers were obsessing over newly released video games or a just-launched game set, I would simply adore my set of laboratory glassware which my parents had been gifting over the years on each birthday. By the time I was in the tenth grade, I already had a full-fledged laboratory at home, replete with lab chemicals, and could successfully conduct safe experiments at my residence. There was no greater joy than to stand in my little lab lost in my own world where the chemicals spoke to me in their mysterious language. I religiously followed each activity from the ‘Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments’ by R Thompson and made a point to not only observe the experiments in the book but also understand the basic underlying chemical principles of the experiments. My parents would bemusedly fulfill my wishes to let me conduct experiments of increasing intensity.
My fascination turned to passion when our class visited a chemical plant in the eleventh grade. I was intrigued by the sheer scale and the complexity of the chemical plant where the action was intense. At one end I could see freight carriers unloading chemicals from one massive tank to the other, barrels of chemicals being neatly palletized and stacked on each other. There was order and method in these seemingly chaotic actions, the world of engineering had taken on gigantic proportions for me. I was entranced as I observed the manufacturing processes involved in the production of chemicals on a large scale and how each produced chemical was a key to yet another important process. This newfound admiration for process design and engineering eventually led me to choose Chemical Engineering as a major. It was clear to me then, that I wanted to hone my skills in this field.
I pursued a Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering in Mumbai and subsequently accepted an offer for a Process Engineer at a consultancy firm also in Mumbai for a few years. These early years in the oil and gas industry taught me very valuable skills and equipped me with the technical know-how required to design safe and efficient refinery processes. However, growing concerns about the usage and processing of fossil fuels and increasing demand for sustainable and renewable processes forced me to think about the future of the planet. I was determined to further enhance my education by studying a Master’s level course and play my part for a more greener planet.
The MSc degree in Advanced Process Integration and Design as offered by the University of Manchester was a perfect choice due to its ideal amalgamation of world-class academic curriculum and industrial relevance of the course. After perusing the course description and details of the course, I was certain that this degree would aid me in acquiring a deep and systematic conceptual understanding of the principles of process design and integration with relation to the energy and chemicals sector of the process industries. Further encouraged by the university’s strong collaborative links with the industry and its award-winning career services; it was a unique blend that would take me one step closer to achieving my future career ambitions. The high global rankings coupled with its exceptional infrastructure including libraries, study spaces, and experimental facilities gave me more compelling reasons to choose Manchester. The city of Manchester itself, a thriving multicultural metropolis with a huge student community, was another prime factor that led me to put forth my application for the postgraduate degree at the university.
Watch Ashutosh, along with other students, tell us about the support they received while at The University of Manchester: