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Cranfield MBA Blogs

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Cranfield MBA Blogs  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Sep 2019, 08:06
Here you’ll find the latest blog posts from students and staff specialising in leadership and management. You can find out more about our work in leadership and management, and take a look at our courses, on our main website.
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My experience of studying Strategic Marketing at Cranfield University   [#permalink]

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New post 29 Sep 2019, 08:08
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: My experience of studying Strategic Marketing at Cranfield University – Term 2 & 3
As I promised in my previous blog, you will explore Terms 2 & 3 of studying Strategic Marketing through my personal point of view as I share with you my most memorable moments. 

Term 2 had started with two interesting modules: Managing Brands and Marketing Communications.  Starting with Managing Brands, through reading case studies and through working with my team, I learned the strategic role which brands play in creating competitive advantage for a firm as well as how brands are managed to influence consumer behavior along with the creation of shareholder value.  Continuing with the Marketing Communications module, I understood and learned how to apply various aspects of marketing communications through very interesting and integrating teaching methods.  Something else that I won’t forget about this course is our visit to Museum of Brands in London, where we discovered how brands’ marketing communications have changed over decades.  Also, we had the chance to improve current packaging designs of famous brands in relation to future consumer habits and market trends.

This term continued with the Retailing and Omnichannel Management module where we learned theoretically and practically to apply different tools and techniques for developing an omnichannel retail strategy.  Particularly, working both individually and in teams, we applied our knowledge through studying and improving the current strategy of a high street retailer of our choice.  Another useful and interesting course in this term was the Accounting for Marketing Managers module, which enabled us to discover the value of accounting and financial information for enhancing the effectiveness of our decision-making as marketeers.   

The masterclasses and workshops in this term were very interesting and valuable for me.  I really enjoyed the masterclasses of Gustavo Imhof, Jon Norton and Neil Ashworth.  In Imhof’s masterclass, we discovered new aspects of customer experience and we had the challenge to create our own airline with our promotional strategy through working in teams.  This was enjoyable for all of us.  In Norton’s masterclass, we heard about the risks of repositioning a brand through exploring some recent cases of major marketing failures, which was also valuable for my learning experience.  Additionally, in Ashworth’s masterclass, we learned in-depth aspects of the omni-channel retailing, which was helpful for me associated with the knowledge I took from the Retailing and Omnichannel Management course. Accordingly, in this term, we had the opportunity to attend in a social media workshop, in which the speaker Annmarie Hanlon provided us useful information about the social media management in organizations.

Moving on to Term 3, I faced one of the most challenging, time-pressured and stressful learning experiences in this masters which was the Consultancy Project.  We were divided into teams and we worked on a real-world marketing problem of Fitflop; a British footwear designer and manufacturer which sells on a global scale. This project had to be ready in less than a week and it was presented to the client. During this experience, I improved my time-management skills and I learned that good teamwork can bring valuable results for meeting the demands of a real-business problem.  

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Term 3 was also important for me as through the Research, Insights and Statistics module, I increased my skills in SPSS and NVIVO, which was useful for me both for the dissertation and for my future career as a marketeer. Regarding the dissertation procedure, the professors suggested different interesting topics and we had to choose our top three or to suggest our own topic for approval. Luckily, I took the most interesting topic for me. The whole researching and writing thesis procedure took me 3-4 months, in which I upgraded many skills and knowledge and I worked very effective with my supervisor.

This was my whole Cranfield experience! It was a full year of good memories which helped me a lot for my future career. I suggest this course to everyone who has a passion and love for continuously learning new things.

Thank you for taking the time to read
my blog!Image
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Developing Self-Inflating tyres  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Sep 2019, 08:08
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Developing Self-Inflating tyres
As the automotive industry continues to grow, so has the
increase in environmental pollution due to exhaust emissions and tyre wear. Globally
there is much interest around things like electric, and hydrogen powered
vehicles, however the problem of pollution from tyres goes largely unmentioned,
yet still exists.

As the world moves towards electric vehicles by 2030, up
to 90% of harmful emissions will be generated by particulate matter from tyres.

Generally there is little awareness about the particulate
matter generated from tyre abrasion. These particulates are so small (2.5
micrometres), which not only toxifies the urban air but is also inhaled (nasal
hair is incapable of capturing such small particulate matter) creating a
serious health concern (autoexpress.co.uk, 2018).

Tyre wear is a dynamic phenomenon which occurs due to
various factors such as excessive braking and overloading, but the most
significant factor being under inflation – less air inside the tyre than the
manufacturer’s recommendation.

As part of my MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering,
Cranfield provided me the opportunity to choose my own research topic for my
individual thesis. I decided to make a self-inflating tyre in an attempt to help
save Mother Nature.

If successful this idea will not only reduce
environmental pollution but will also increase tyre life, smooth steering and
increased fuel efficiency.

For project support I was fortunate to be assigned Dr. Jerry
Luo, a highly skilled supervisor with a strong background in energy harvesting,
and he was the best guide I could hope for during this project.

Phenomenal resources and facilities at Cranfield, access to unlimited research journals, study material and the guidance of highly skilled and knowledgeable faculty were enough to give wings (or just better inflated tyres) to my idea.

Considering the model of self-inflating tyre to be economical and with a strong determination, my journey started with the engineering design, durability testing, environmental impact and cost per component if mass produced was analysed using the University’s well-resourced IT laboratory.

After the technological review of the design it was decided to make a fully funded, functional prototype.

Manufactured on site using Cranfield’s extensive facilities, a working inflating system was made which could be installed in any wheel assembly to make it self-inflating. Design was purely mechanical with no external energy used.

Cranfield University truly is an ocean of opportunities,
and gave me a platform to showcase my thesis work at the exhibition day in
front of invited guests including and not limited to researchers and
representatives from industry, and helped me to make strong industrial
connections to help launch my career.

With the exhibition day done, and the celebratory barbeque party thereafter, my time as an MSc student at Cranfield University ended on a positive note. However my journey with Cranfield University is not yet over – we are currently looking for ways to take the Self project a step closer towards commercialization, and registering it as an intellectual property. With a successful commencement of my MSc course funded by Cranfield Energy and Power Bursary and a Tier 2 visa Sponsored Job, joining Cranfield University is so far the best decision of my life.

  • Image
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Introducing the Kings Norton Library  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Sep 2019, 07:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Introducing the Kings Norton Library
Welcome to all our new students! We are looking forward to meeting you all soon.

You will find the Kings Norton Library in the centre of the Cranfield campus, and it is open 24/7 to all staff and students. There is also a smaller library in Building 111, called the Management Information and Resource Centre, which provides dedicated support to those in the School of Management.

Getting started
You have a lot of information to absorb during your first week at Cranfield! If you want to get a headstart, we have an interactive PDF to introduce you to the library services available to you : Quick Start to the Library

You will have a timetabled hands-on training session with us at the start of your first term, called Discovering Quality Information. show you how to find the information that you need for your assignments, projects or research. We strongly advise you to work through our Discovering Quality Information eLearning​ and do the quiz before coming along to your session. This means that in the face-to-face session we’ll be able to concentrate on learning how to search our resources effectively.

You can also watch our induction playlist on YouTube to get an overview of our services, and find out how to log in to our resources from off-campus, use Library Search and request an interlibrary loan.

Resources
Use our websites to access our databases, eJournals and eBooks, and to find details of our printed collection. Library Search is a great place to start, because it allows you to search across our printed collection and a broad selection of our online databases. We recommend you search specific databases individually when you need to find more targeted content relevant to your particular subject.

You can access nearly all our online resources from anywhere using your University network username and password.

Go to the Library website

Study space
The Kings Norton Library offers a variety of group, individual and silent study areas – please look out for the signs to make sure you are sitting in the right area! There is also a large PC Hub on the ground floor, which is very popular.

Talk to us!
You will meet your Information Specialist at the start of your course. They are your main point of contact when you need help using the resources in the library. They know your Course Director and the modules you are undertaking, and they understand your area of study.

There is also a Welcome Desk on the first floor of the Library. Please ask the staff on this Desk if you need more general help using the building; for example, help finding a book on the shelf, using the self-service machines, printing or photocopying, booking a seminar room for group work etc.

You can also ask us questions and get in touch with us via Facebook and Twitter.
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Get started using Library services  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Oct 2019, 07:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Get started using Library services
If you are a new student you can watch our Quick Start to the Library video (01:38). It provides an overview of the services, training and resources we offer and how you can find them.

We also have an accompanying Quick Start to the Library PDF which provides more detail and is a handy 10 page reference guide you can download or print.

We strongly recommend that you also attend your timetabled session with your Information Specialist. They will introduce you to the main online resources you will need to use to support your work, and show you how to get the best results from them.  Look out for the session in your course timetable.
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Helping new Master’s students develop academic skills  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Oct 2019, 08:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Helping new Master’s students develop academic skills
As a new student,
we know you may be a little overwhelmed. You will be trying to get to grips
with your course, make friends, settle into your new accommodation, navigate
your way around campus, and find out about the support available to help your
learning.D

Your Information
Specialist will run a teaching session to introduce our services and the
specialist resources you can access. You may already have attended it, but if
not, look out for it in your course timetable.

SATM and SWEE
students will also benefit from working through
our Discovering QualityInformation eLearning​ before coming along to their session.

All students are welcome to work through our online Referencing and
Avoiding Plagiarism
 module. It explains
what plagiarism is, and why it is an important issue. We cover the role and
importance of citing bibliographic references, and how you incorporate the work
of other authors into your literature review correctly, and without
plagiarising. This course is only available online. Choose the correct link for
your school to complete the eLearning module: 

SOM students​

New PhD student? We’ll be publishing a special post about how we can support you next week!
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Finding your reading materials  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Oct 2019, 08:03
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Finding your reading materials
You can find all the resources you need to support your work from our library website. You will need to select the library you are most associated with to get started:

  • Science and engineering students primarily use the Kings
    Norton Library (Cranfield site).
  • Management students primarily use the Management Information and
    Resource Centre (MIRC) (Cranfield site).
  • Barrington Library supports the Shrivenham site.

Using Library Search

The first place to
start is Library Search. This is the search box on your library’s homepage. It
allows you to do a very quick search of our Library Catalogue (for our printed
stock) and a selection of our databases.

If you want to do a more in-depth search, we recommend you go to the Library Search system where you can find more advanced search features. To go the system, click on Search library resources in the blue bar at the top of your library website, then select Library Search.

Read ourquick guide to using Library Search

A large number of
our databases are not included in Library Search. If you want to perform a
comprehensive search, we recommend you search the individual databases listed
in your subject guide. You can find the link to all our subject guides on your
library homepage.

Finding your course reading list

We have launched
new reading list software this month to help Master’s students find course
reading lists. From your library homepage, click on Search library resources in
the blue bar at the top, then select Reading lists. Search for your course name
to find your list.

Go direct to our reading lists

Buying course books

If you would prefer
a personal copy of a book rather than borrowing it from the Library, you can
take advantage of our online bookshop. This is a partnership with Wordery,
selling over 10 million books for both academic and
personal use, including fiction and children’s’ books. It is
competitively priced against larger retailers such as Amazon and offers free
delivery to over 100 countries. Buy one book and get 10% off everything else in
your basket by using code CRANFIELD10 at the checkout.

Visit the Cranfield University online bookshop
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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The Exec MBA – 1 module down and only another 21 to go!  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Oct 2019, 02:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: The Exec MBA – 1 module down and only another 21 to go!
Well that was a very
intense 4 days, from the moment I entered the Cranfield Conference Centre after
rescuing another EMBA student who I found wondering around campus until I left
95 hours later it was full on but everything and more that I’d hope it would
be.

For some reason, I didn’t
feel nervous, a little anxious maybe. Was it because I was use to the
environment, that I had insider knowledge of what to expect and I didn’t have
the extra stress of getting lost on campus (I mean clearly Building 122 is
going to be next to Building 3)? Quite possibly, being an insider (and not a
seed as a couple of members of my team suspected) especially on the first day
does have some advantages.

In some respect I felt like
my 13 year old self again starting upper school, albeit not wearing a uniform
and having every item of my clothes and possessions named (I did get a new
pencil case though). Was it more daunting now that I was older? Yes a little,
as I have had many years of over analysing my behaviour and how I might be
perceived by others (ladder of inference comes to mind here). I very much liked
to be liked.

Rather than giving a run
down of each day, I will just pick out a couple of my highlights and surprises
from each day:

Image

Day 1 – Orientation Day

o Registration – I now
see why they allocate 2 hours to this. There were 4 different stations I had to
go to and thank goodness I listened to my colleague and made a run for the
lecture room door at the first hint that we were going to registration so to be
near the front of the queue.

o Meeting the Supreme
7 aka my learning team – I mentioned these lovely people in an earlier post so
have a read if you can.

o The Welcome Dinner –
listening to David Beever, former chairman of Premier Foods speak about how the
Cranfield MBA changed his life was so inspiring. Also, just in case you’re
wondering I went with ‘black heels’ in the end (see my last article to make
sense of this).

Day 2 – Organisational Behaviour

o Professor Richard
Kwiatkowski – having worked with Richard for many years I finally got to
experience him in action. Let’s just say I was not disappointed.

o Belbin & MBTI –
with this being my area, I was very much looking forward to these sessions. I
enjoyed seeing my team’s reactions and confusion when reading their reports and
being able to explain different elements of them felt good. I will never forget
one of my team member’s reaction to his MBTI report, he thought he knew himself
until he read his report. Thank goodness for the Best Fit session which I hoped
brought him a little clarity and not more confusion.

o 50% of my learning
will come from those standing at the front of the lecture room, the other 50%
will come from my peers. And, in some cases the ratios of peer input could be
even higher.

Day 3 – Strategic Marketing

o Every ‘Star’ will
become a ‘Cash cow’ and we all need ‘Cash cows’.

o Even markets have
levels of attractiveness.

o Marketing models –
who knew there were so many? Not me that’s for sure.

Day 4 – Strategic Operations Management

o  Building the
Bridge with my LT, quite literally – this was a great team building
activity, you know the type, those you initially dread but actually don’t mind
doing and then eventually secretly end up enjoying. In case you’re wondering
our bridge managed to hold 2 bottles of water! Also was great data for our
QOITs (next time you see an Cranfield Exec MBA alumni just mention the word
QOITs to them and wait for their reaction).

o Everyone is in
Operations! That’s right in some way or another we all have our hands or at
least fingers in some of the operational activities within our organisations.

o Operational models –
who knew there were so many? Not me that’s for sure.

o SCRUM – this model
doesn’t just have to be used in business, tried it at home with my boys as a
way of speeding up the painful bedtime routine in a series of visual tasks.
We’re 3 days in and so far so good, although I suspect it’s more the incentive
of a pack of Pokemon Cards if they stick to it for the next 11 days rather than
the model itself. Anyhow at this stage and with time so precious, I’m just glad
to be able to save even 10 minutes and my voice – maybe I could experiment with
a new model with them each week. Now there’s an idea.

Top tips from me (I can’t take credit for all of these)

o  If you’re
running short on time, prioritise the pre-work and complete anything that says
‘prepare’, ‘plan’ and ‘discuss’. Look at those which say ‘Read’, only if you
have time.

o A great app for your
pre-work is ‘VoiceDream’, it reads PDF documents with a high level of accuracy.

o If completing the
EMBA as part of the Level 7 Senior Leader Mastership. Make notes (even
handwritten ones) of anything you attend/complete that you could use to
evidence your knowledge, your skills and/or your behaviours. You can always
disregard them at a later date but it is better to have more evidence than not
enough to choose from.

o  Asking
questions – if you don’t understand a particular model, rather than ask the
lecturer to explain it further just ask ‘Google’ as my boys would tell me or
even better ask a peer if they can explain it to you. Not a big thing really
and I understand this is not always possible but often slides were rushed or
even skipped as we ran out of time.

o Be open to new
experiences and walk into each session with ‘magnet eyes’ and ‘listening ears’
(taken from my son’s school) as the lecturers and your peers give you golden
nuggets of information and their experiences that aren’t on the slides.

So in answer to the
question I posed in my last article, is it goodbye to my life for the next 2
years? Absolutely not! My life has been changed but in such a positive way and
when my 5 year proudly informed me that he’d told all his 17 girlfriends (yes
that’s right – he will soon learn that 1 is more than enough) that I’d gone
back to school to make myself more cleverer, in that moment I knew I’d made the
right choice in starting the EMBA. Although in my son’s mind, what he is
learning is far more difficult than any of my subjects and maybe he’s right as
it can be hard learning new things no matter what age you are.

Roll on Module 2 and cheers
to all those other crazies embarking on this journey with me! Now to choose a
new backpack, do I go for one in black or burgundy? And no the Exec MBA is not
just an excuse for me to buy myself new things as one of colleagues assumes.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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The Result You Got Today Is Not The Result You’d Get Today!  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Oct 2019, 02:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: The Result You Got Today Is Not The Result You’d Get Today!
Interesting isn’t it? The General Public accept that the winning numbers in the Lottery are pure luck! The probability of 7, 10, 15, 44, 49 with 3 and 12 Lucky Stars winning is finite and can be calculated and it’s very small (for the EuroMillions it’s 1 in 139,838,160). 

What’s more interesting is that if those balls all started in exactly the same positions (let’s call them starting conditions) and the Lottery machine was started over again (which we’ll assume hasn’t been changed in any way) then would the General Public expect to get the same results 7, 10, 15, 44, 49 with 3 and 12 Lucky Stars? I suspect (but I have no evidence) most people would probably say not, and they’d be right!.

So “Here’s the Thing”:

Why do the News, Executives, Police Officers, Hospital Managers, etc. – as well as most of the General Public – think it is worth comparing an isolated result (e.g. Sales or Crime Figures or People who got sick) in one month with a previous result in some other month? The problem is, that if you got 7,237 (who cares whats) in September 2019, and you started September 2019 again at one second after midnight on 01 September with exactly the same starting conditions in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous – see previous blog on this if interested) world – most people act as if they think they’d still get 7,237 at the end of September!

So “Here’s the Next Thing!”:

The world out there is incredibly more complex (not complicated, but complex – see another previous blog on this if interested) than the Lottery (which, by the way, operates in a highly controlled environment) – so the 7,237 result in September was actually an accident.

Yet we keep on going around comparing a latest result versus a previous result and declare “it’s getting worse” or “it’s getting better”, as if these results have significant meaning! And making decisions based on this! And eventually getting into a lot of trouble as a result! Einstein had a word to say about this: 

INSANITY!

There is another way!
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Researching a market or industry?  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Oct 2019, 04:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Researching a market or industry?
If you’re looking for industry data, trends in the market, market value, forecasts, or who the key players in a market are, then you might like to look at some of our key market and industry databases.

MarketLine Advantage is just one of many and covers both company and industry profiles. It is useful if you’re looking for key facts, an overview of a company or even a SWOT analysis. The industry profiles on MarketLine include key market data, information on who the key competitors are and a Porter’s Five Forces Analysis. IBISWorld is great too if you want reports on industries within the UK, US or globally. BMI’s industry coverage provides overviews, SWOT analyses, forecasts and regulatory information on a global scale for more than 20 sectors. Another useful source to look at is Thomson One which provides brokers’ and analysts’ reports on both companies and industries.

For market research, we would recommend Mintel for B2C markets in the UK and Passportfor consumer markets worldwide.

If you’re looking to assess a company’s financial performance, MIRC also provides access to a vast number of financial resources. FAME is particularly useful for financial data on UK and Irish companies (both public and private), while Thomson One provides financials for thousands of listed companies worldwide.

To find out what press coverage there has been about a company or industry, take a look at Factiva which provides access to over 10,000 global press sources.

To find out more about any of the resources above, please get in touch or pop into MIRC and ask one of the team.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Library support for new research students  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Oct 2019, 06:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Library support for new research students
If you have recently joined Cranfield to work towards your PhD, you will be in the early stages of exploring your research topic and understanding the academic skills and rigour you will need to develop.

Hopefully you will already have found the Research Student Hub on the University intranet which is your starting point for all the support available to you.

In this post, we want to highlight how the Library can help you in your first few months.

Talk to your Information Specialist
Hopefully you have already attended your Discovering Quality Information training session and met your Information Specialist. Now you know how to find the information you need for your research, you can request a personalised induction session. At this session, we can find out more about your specific research needs, show you the most appropriate resources to use and explain more about how we can help you with publishing your research, research data management and skills training.

Learn how to manage your research data
It is important for the integrity of your research that you follow best practice in storing and sharing your data, and meet your funder requirements.

We have produced a research data management module online. It provides everything you need to know to get started with managing your research data – from a general introduction (RDM 1), to explaining how to write a data management plan (RDM 2) and using our data repository, CORD (RDM 3). We recommend that as a doctoral researcher you should work through the RDM 1 training within your first few months. You must write a DMP (data management plan) for your project before starting data collection, and may well use CORD towards the end of your research.

If you prefer, we also offer a full suite of RDM training (1, 2, and 3) face-to-face via workshops and webinars that you can sign up to via DATES.

And if you have any questions, just get in touch: researchdata@cranfield.ac.uk.

Next steps
When you are ready we can provide you with advice and support to help you:

  • manage your references
  • undertake and write your literature review
  • understand the legal aspects of undertaking research (including data protection and copyright)
And later on, when your research progresses, don’t forget that we can provide extensive advice on how to make your research Open Access , as well as how to publicise it and measure its impact.

Go to the Library research support page on our library website. Choose your library, then Help and support > Research support.

Image by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash
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STEM: What lies underneath everyday technology?  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Oct 2019, 03:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: STEM: What lies underneath everyday technology?
Dr. Ata Khalid (Lecturer in Sensors and Sensor Systems, CDS) and Dr. Sandra Messenger (Knowledge Exchange Manager; Research and Innovation Office) went to Sharnbrook Primary School to give two classes, the opportunity to use screwdrivers, allen keys and pliers to have a look at and understand what lies inside everyday technology.

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Sandra liaised with different Cranfield departments including Information Services and Facilities who were exceptionally helpful and invaluable in providing equipment that was destined for recycling and tools such as: speakers, keyboards, disc drives and printers.

In the STEM workshops we, as representatives of Cranfield University, have the opportunity to showcase the exciting work we do and explain the advances in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths that we are trying to achieve.  Exploring this through a fun practical class and giving the children the chance to explore and ask questions means that they learn without even realising it.  This is the ultimate way for children to learn and a chance for us to inspire future generations.

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The schoolchildren were enthusiastic and had a fantastic time taking the equipment apart and asked Ata great questions that related to what was they found on the inside of the items.  One of the children was overheard saying, “I wish this practical would never end!” 

Both Ata and Sandra had to curb some of the children’s enthusiasm by making sure they knew they weren’t to try what they done at home without permission from a grown up!
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Introducing… Mendeley  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2019, 06:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Introducing… Mendeley
Are you looking for a way to manage your references and to create reference lists for your assignments or thesis? If so you may wish to consider using Mendeley.

Mendeley is a free reference manager which also offers links to an academic social network and a library of resources.  It can be accessed anywhere in the world and has online, desktop and mobile versions. Specific features of Mendeley which make it popular among academics are:

    • A Mendeley Web Importer plugin which can be added to your browser to enable search results to be easily imported from websites and databases, including PDFs where available
    • The option to drag and drop documents into your library
    • The ability to synchronise your online and desktop library
    • A search facility across all references within Mendeley to find citations to add to your library
    • Annotation and collaboration facilities
    • A mobile version for both IOS and Android devices
    • Mendeley Word plugin to create reference lists which support the Cranfield Author-Date and Cranfield Numbered referencing styles
    • A library of your PDFs
    • A free version which provides up to 2GB storage space and the option to create one group with up to three collaborators (ideal for group projects!)
Interested in finding out more?  If so either come and ask us and we’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, create an account  and then check out Mendeley’s excellent support pages which include: guides to getting started with both the web and desktop versions; video tips and tricks; articles and a support forum.
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24/7 opening in the Kings Norton Library  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Oct 2019, 06:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: 24/7 opening in the Kings Norton Library
The Kings Norton Library on the Cranfield campus is open all day, every day for the benefit of our students, so they are able to study at the times that are best for them.

We thought new students might appreciate an explanation of how to access and use the building during 24/7 opening, to make it a safe, comfortable place to study:

ID card
For security, the main doors are locked outside core working hours. During this time you will need your University ID card to enter and leave the building. Use the swipe card system on the lobby door. (The lobby is at the front of the building to the right of the main doors.) Never lend your card to anyone else or hold the door open for someone you don’t know.

After 5pm each weekday evening, and all day at weekends, you will also need your ID card to use the PC Hub.

Welfare
Although the Library is open 24/7, please take regular breaks and go home to get enough sleep. Sleeping in the Library is not permitted and Security staff will ask any students found sleeping to leave.

When the Library is quiet, you might feel more comfortable working in the PC Hub with other students nearby.

Using the self-service kiosks
You must use a kiosk on the first floor to borrow or return books or other printed items. If the kiosks have a fault, please do not remove stock from the building.

Group study rooms
The study rooms on the first and second floor remain open overnight and at weekends. You can book them using the online booking system on our intranet site.

In case of emergency or suspicious behaviour
Please report any problems to the University Security guards who patrol the building. If you are unable to find one, or there is an emergency, please contact them directly by calling extension 2222 from a Library telephone on the first floor.

If the fire alarm sounds, leave the building immediately using the nearest fire exit.

And if you need help from Library staff…
Library staff are happy to help you in person, by email, telephone or Skype during core working hours – Monday to Thursday 8.30am – 9pm, and Friday 8.30am – 5pm.
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My experience of studying Process Systems Engineering at Cranfield Sch  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2019, 03:03
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: My experience of studying Process Systems Engineering at Cranfield School of Water, Energy and Environment
As the UK’s only exclusively postgraduate university, coupled with a greenery environment, Cranfield University boasts of its world-class expertise, large-scale facilities and unrivalled industry partnerships which results in creating leaders in technology and management globally. Cranfield is renowned for its relevance to business and industry hence facilities such as the Cranfield private airport, 3D print Hub, thermal conversion laboratory, air traffic laboratory, energy process laboratory, intelligent automation laboratory and many more are available. As an international school with excellent facilities combined with quality education and research, I will say Cranfield University is the ideal place for any student pursuing his or her postgraduate studies.

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My one year journey in Cranfield began on the 1st October arriving a week after school reopened to pursue an MSc in Process Systems Engineering. As an international student from Ghana, I was a bit anxious since this was my first time studying abroad. As induction and orientation began, my anxiety turned into enthusiasm, determination and a desire to explore the numerous opportunities available in the university became my personnel goal. Placed in the school of water, energy and environment our induction took place in the auditorium of Vincent building. The various sessions provided the necessary information needed to succeed and complete the course. I was able to meet my course mates, my course director in the person of Dr Dawid Hanak and other students from other MSc courses, PhD programmes and research programmes as well.

My usual day at Cranfield University begins with a 15 mins bus journey from Cranfield village to the university. As the course representative, it was my responsibility to ensure that all necessary information was relayed to my course mates and also as a member of the Cranfield Student Association body, it was my duty to attend all meetings with the schools governing body and help make important contributions that will better the students and also the school.

The early stages of my MSc course  began with the taught modules where interesting subjects like computational fluid dynamics, risk and reliability engineering, process design and simulation and many more were taught with practical sessions which included laboratory works, computer simulations and hands-on skills on the industrial scaled facilities available  such as the pilot oil rig plant, wind turbines, calcium looping pilot plant and many more. As said earlier Cranfield is renowned for it’s relevance in the application of technology to business, as such we took a business course which involved project management, marketing and finances, world economics, entrepreneurship and we got the opportunity to create our own business and compete with each other in groups using the school’s business simulation program. The projects I undertook during this course included the use of Artificial intelligence in carbon capture in the calcium looping plant and also the material selection and operating conditions of the gas-fired supercritical CO2 plant.

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Cranfield University has many clubs and societies and other social amenities. I joined the Christian union, the music society and the chess club. I had the opportunity to play on the football pitch, the basketball field as well as utilise the university sports centre which offered gym services and other sporting facilities. My MSc course study in Cranfield University was a success and my thanks go to the almighty God, my course director in the person of Dr Dawid Hanak, my supervisors and all my colleagues and friends thank you.
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Continuous Improvement – How Do You Know You’re Doing It? And Is It Wo  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Oct 2019, 04:03
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Continuous Improvement – How Do You Know You’re Doing It? And Is It Working?
Continuous Improvement – How Do You Know You’re Doing It? And Is It Working?

On our travels, we haven’t come across any organisation (Private or Public Sector) that either hasn’t got a Continuous Improvement Function / Department, or isn’t running multiple Continuous Improvement Programmes / Projects! And when we hear Continuous Improvement being bandied around, it sounds off very loud alarm bells in our ears! How it is done says a lot about Leadership & Organisation, Understanding Business in terms of Processes and People & Culture. But what also surprises us is the Continuous Improvement Techniques – or rather, lack of – being applied to focus effort in the right place or to demonstrate success.

Let me explain.

To measure the performance of business processes, the leading technique is to apply Extended-Statistical Process Control. And it absolutely must be Extended to handle trends and patterns that are often found in a business environment, such as daily, weekly, annual cyclicity (the last being often referred to a seasonal), amongst others. Yet in many of the so-called Continuous Improvement efforts, there is no SPC-chart to be seen!

Furthermore, all efforts we have observed at teaching SPC into a business environment deliver a vanilla manufacturing-style approach – and 6-sigma is one of these approaches. And, amongst one of the most serious errors in applying this approach is the mantra “If there are no results above or below the upper or lower control limits (referred in the manufacturing parlance as special-cause – we say ‘signals’), take no action”. This is fair enough in a manufacturing environment, where the production-line is subject to much more control than a real-world business/services environment. Early introduction of SPC techniques into the services industries were an attempt to wean business managers and executives off of binary comparisons (see previous blogs on the subject). Binary comparisons are where they compared a latest result against some other number (previous result or target) and, more often than not, exercised knee-jerk reactions which made performance worse. With this, multiple, synchronised knee-jerk reactions followed – and pretty soon you had a real Riverdance of worsening performance! But now it’s time to move on ……

So the very first start of any Continuous Improvement project should be to visualise the problem you’re trying to solve using Extended-SPC techniques and tools. One of the charts in this toolbox is what we call a Benchmark Chart which helps focus an organisation on where to start to apply Continuous Improvement. Having selected an area to start with, the next step is indeed to establish if there are any signals, and put in place means to eliminate their root-cause(s). BUT THIS IS ONLY WHERE 5% – 10% OF THE BENEFIT RESIDES – IT IS JUST THE START OF THE CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT JOURNEY!

THE NEXT STEPS – THE NEXT 90% – 95% OF THE BENENFIT AVAILABLE – involve drilling down into all the results between the upper and lower control limits  – we say ‘noise’ – looking for the main driver of the noise. Hence, if an organisation is truly carrying out Continuous Improvement we expect to see Benchmark Charts like this, pointing to where to focus improvement effort (in this case France which has the highest monthly value shipped (in brackets (£53,758.07)) and has the joint highest ‘noise’ (longest green bar which equates to unpredictability)):

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And we expect to see charts like this, with Annotations indicating what Improvement Action was taken, first to eliminate root-causes of signals (5% – 10% £benefit), and then to reduce drivers of noise (next 90% – 95% £benefit):

Image

Or alternatively, you can keep on employing Dogbert to tell you how his 6-sigma programmes have delivered such impressive benefits.
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Bright solar future in South Africa  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Oct 2019, 09:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Bright solar future in South Africa
I wanted to reflect on my experiences from a fieldwork in
South Africa last week.

My centre for Energy Systems and Strategy aims to inform
decision makers on how technologies and society co-evolve together and what
interventions might be needed to ensure that outcomes are ‘just’. One of my
projects analyses the sustainability and livelihood impacts of concentrated
solar thermal power (CSP) plants. This is part of a larger research project, SOLving
WATer Issues for CSP planTs (SOLWATT), awarded by Horizon 2020 programme by the
European Commission (H2020-LCE-11-2017 under grant agreement n°792103). My
colleague, Pegah, is working with me on this project.

We selected communities near Khi Solar One (see the picture
on the right), a solar tower thermal power plant, in the Northern Cape province
in South Africa to find out their views on how this plant affected their
wellbeing. For those of you who are fans of ‘Planet Earth’ documentaries, this province
is based in Kalahari region, home to different types of wild animals and Kgalagadi
National Park. We have partnered with the University of the Free State (UFS) in
Bloemfontein, Prof Lochner Marais and his research team to undertake this case
study.

To be honest I didn’t know what to expect in South Africa.
During my undergraduate studies, I helped out at Habitat II, the Second United
Nations Conference on Human Settlements that was held in Istanbul. I had met
someone from South Africa then and he told me about ‘apartheid’. As I like
watching Olympics, I also know that South Africa is strong in a number of
sports. I like having red bush tea every now and then. And finally yes, I had
seen some pictures of ‘shacks’, corrugated iron houses but because I never saw
one in real life, they seemed very distant and surreal to me.

Our journey started in Bloemfontein where I had the
opportunity to talk about my research on ‘low carbon economy transitions’ at
Centre for Development Support at UFS. I met a number of faculty and students
to find out about their research interests. Then we met two colleagues from
UFS, Jan and Phia, who had agreed to run our focus groups in Afrikaans with us.
They took care of all the preparatory work in advance of our arrival. We
travelled for six hours from Bloemfontein to Upington. On our way, we saw
giraffes, ostriches and antelope running around freely in game fields.

Upington is a small city with a population of around 75,000
people. Our hotel was on the high street in walking distance to many shops and
restaurants. Over three days, we ran seven focus groups. some of these were
held in guest houses (‘bed and breakfast’ as we call them in England),
community halls or a church. All focus groups took place in Afrikaans, though
some people talked to us in English. Luckily, Jan was very skilled in writing
notes in English in his computer so that we were able to follow the
discussions.

My take home messages are that:

  • CSPs bring
    benefits as well as some potential disbenefits to the local communities. We
    came across a spectrum of people, young and old, male and female, highly
    educated and limited education, slim and stout, short and tall. People raised a
    number of issues around the impacts on wildlife, waste, types and duration of
    jobs created as many CSP and solar farms become part of the scenery in Northern
    Cape. Yet, they also expressed their frustration that despite all these plants,
    they still have ‘load shedding’ where power is cut during certain hours in a
    day.
  • As humans
    we are all connected. During the focus groups (whilst trying to keep up with
    reading Jan’s notes), I very much enjoyed observing people: with different
    complexion, some with brown or hazel eyes, some with such animated gestures
    where arms are almost raising to the clouds, some who kept very quiet, some
    with openness and enthusiasm in their voices… all of which made me feel the
    power that connects us together even though we can not talk the same language.
  • The gap between rich and poor is massive in
    South Africa. I saw that shacks indeed exist. Some areas are looked-after
    so well with nicely cut lawn and beautiful houses, some with swimming pools.
    Yet this wealth coexists with neighbourboods made up of shacks where small
    children are walking around with bare foot.
  • Social
    issues are at the heart of many economic problems in the developing world. During
    my conversations with Phia, a community development practitioner turned
    academic, she told me about her work on self-healing and wounding. How ‘feeling
    of inferior’ through generations influences people’s self-esteem and wellbeing.
    She told me about work done in Australia on how a vicious cycle of inferiority/
    ‘perceived’ superiority impacts indigenous people and their relationship with
    their own children, fuelling issues of violence (spreading from adults towards
    children to children towards children), alcohol or drug dependency and extreme
    forms of sexual assault. These conversations reminded me of the past (Bosnian
    women) and current (Rohingya women) dramas families, including women, men and
    children are facing in different parts of the world.

I’m hoping that our research to understand how communities
near these large plants benefit/ disbenefit from them will inform the
communities, energy industry and policymakers so that low carbon energy
transition is ‘just’ for us all. Like the trees that are full of energy and fighting
for survival in a brown landscape I saw in different places across Northern
Cape, I am positive that we can make the world a better a place. We have a lot
of work to analyse these issues as perceived by the communities and assessed by
the experts via interviews. We will be visiting other global destinations too,
so stay tuned.

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Cranfield University Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associates – helpi  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Oct 2019, 07:03
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Cranfield University Knowledge Transfer Partnership Associates – helping businesses to achieve growth with academic expertise
Cranfield University has a portfolio of diverse collaborative projects with business that are run under Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme (KTP). Our current KTP business partners include: Siemens Industrial Turbomachinary Ltd., Warden Plastics Ltd., Primagraphics Ltd., SPI Lasers UK Ltd., Spinnaker International Ltd., Haddonstone Ltd., Garrandale Ltd., The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), Elsoms Seeds Ltd., Pamela Steel Associates Ltd., Renishaw plc and Autoglym Ltd.

Today Associate’s from Cranfield University, that are employed full time on the KTP projects, were given the opportunity to network, learn from each other and share their experiences as KTP Associates.

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Left to Right: Gerard Taykaldiranian (KTP with Garrandale Ltd.), Dr. Robbie Gillett (KTP with Elsoms Seeds Ltd.), Dr. Sandra Messenger (Knowledge Exchange Manager), Maxine Glover-Bennett (Research Impact Co-ordinator), Devanshu Mudgal (KTP with Haddonstone Ltd.), Anjani Parsotamo (KTP with Warden Plastic Ltd.), Dr. Lakshmy Subramanian (KTP with Pamela Steele Associates Ltd.) and Leoni Padilla (Knowledge Exchange Co-ordinator)

The KTP scheme
creates a partnership between the organisation and a UK knowledge base
(generally a University) that has appropriate knowledge that can be further
developed and transferred to build and embed for the future the knowledge and
the capabilities the organisation requires to develop the product or service
they have in mind.

A key aspect of the
KTP model is the expectation that the project will create value for the
organisation such as access to new markets, increases in sales income,
reductions in cost and increases in profitability. The project is also expected
to lead to benefits in the University in terms of teaching, research,
publications and enhanced relationships with industry. The knowledge is
developed and transferred into the commercial organisation by means of the partnership
recruiting an Associate who is employed by the university but who works at the
organisation’s base.

Image

The Associate’s
role is to work with the organisation and the university team to develop the
knowledge required to solve the particular challenge the company is working on
and ensure that existing company personnel are trained in the technology or
techniques required to maintain the new capability into the future after the
end of the project.

If you are interested in finding out more about the KTP scheme please contact: sandra.messenger@cranfield.ac.uk
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Need to top-up your print card?  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Oct 2019, 10:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Need to top-up your print card?
If you find you are running low on print credit, it is quick and easy to top-up your card using the SafeCom top-up service.

SafeCom is available 24/7 enabling you to purchase additional print credit via secure online payment.

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Click here and login to view/top-up your print credit.
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Autonomous future developments and career insight from industry expert  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2019, 09:02
FROM Cranfield SOM Blogs: Autonomous future developments and career insight from industry experts.
The Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control MScis reviewed annually by a panel of industry experts. Their advice and guidance ensures that you graduate from Cranfield University with the appropriate knowledge and skills to differentiate yourself in today’s competitive market. Vicky Mason, Aerospace Marketing Manager conducted interviews with three of the panel members to gain their insight on future industry developments, plus their insight into careers in this exciting sector.

Hear from:

  • Ricardo Verdeguer Moreno, Software Engineering,
    Connected Autonomous Vehicles Testing and Development, Spirent
  • Trevor Woolven, Technical Lead for UAS & ISTAR
    Integration and Design Authority for Future UAS, C4ISR and Autonomy, Thales
  • Professor Nick Colosimo, Technology Strategy
    Executive, Principal Technologist, Global Engineering Fellow, BAE Systems.

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Ricardo Verdeguer Moreno Trevor Woolven Professor Nick Colosimo

What are future technologies and applications in this sector?

Ricardo:

One of the most exciting sectors to work in is the connected autonomous vehicles in the three senses; so connected – connectivity between all the devices in terms of V to X, vehicle to anything technologies. Then autonomous – that is mainly what we do here in this masters. Then also the vehicle side of things – more of the simulation of dynamics and how they work.

Trevor:

Applications are in all kinds of unmanned systems, particularly autonomous systems that can work outside the sphere of human control, whilst still remembering that they’ve got to present the information that they gather and process back to the human decision makers. The technologies are based on data analytics but the use of AI and various emerging AI techniques.

Nick:

There are many new and emerging technologies which are set to have a pretty profound impact in aerospace and defence. They include things like artificial intelligence and autonomy which is associated with that, quantum technologies, electrification as well which we are seeing in automotive as well as moving into aerospace. Really there’s actually quite a long list and the applications really involve improving the performance of vehicles, improving the capabilities but also many of which are dual use as well so they actually spin off into other sectors as well, such as automotive.

What skills are employers seeking from graduates?

Ricardo:

I think that the most important skill would be the cross-functional capabilities of that person. Nowadays the role specs change so fast and you need to adapt to so many challenges. Cross-functional capability is what we look for.

Trevor:

Immediately we are looking for knowledge of AI and various AI techniques, and how they can be developed and made more robust, more resilient.  We are also looking at data scientists to help us perform data analytics to extract the value from the data that we collect and then present it to the human operators.

Nick:

We are always looking for a variety of skills, but I think the most important factors relate to being flexible, being adaptable, being willing and able to learn because you never stop learning. Even though you’ve graduated you still have much still to learn and there is much that we can teach, so hopefully by having flexibly and adaptability you can tailor your capabilities to a range of challenges that we have, and we have such a range of challenges within our organisation that there’s something for everyone.

What are typical job roles for recent graduates?

Ricardo:

I would say Software Engineer, these kind of roles or Hardware Engineer – really generic. It is good when you are given a generic role or a generic name because you then you can kind of shape your future. If you were given a concrete name or a precise name maybe you would be more limited in your jobs you are doing.

Trevor:

Most entry-level jobs will be looking at some form of systems engineering. We like to have people who can do a bit of software, who understand a bit about hardware, and the integration of the two together, but the systems engineering covers quite a wide sphere so we’ll be looking for skills covering software integration, user design, applications of AI, how to make data science work but start off looking for systems engineering roles.

Nick:

Systems engineering is a key part of what it is that we do. We integrate systems, we take technologies, we mature them, we integrate them in order to produce very, very capable and very complex products and so systems engineering is really a key area for us but ultimately there are a variety of different career paths open to new engineers.

What makes a Cranfield graduate valuable to an organisation?

Ricardo:

I was a graduate here – you are put under pressure in some moments of your master’s and that is really good because you know how to deal with this pressure, you are more prepared to the work environment.

Trevor:

Cranfield graduates tend to have a very practical outlook on life so they’re about understanding the technologies and then how to apply them in the real world.

Nick:

I think Cranfield University is quite different from many universities, in the sense that it is much more applied, much closer to industry than many. As a result of that, we find that Cranfield graduates are already well equipped and well aware of the needs of industry and how industry operates, largely because we’ve got a range of industry involved capabilities here on campus, we have a range of academics that spend time with us in industry. Likewise some of the academics are ex-industry and so there is a really good mix of academia and industry and that really bodes well for the future.

If you are interested in joining the next intake in October 2020 view the course page for further information: https://www.cranfield.ac.uk/courses/taught/autonomous-vehicle-dynamics-and-control
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Autonomous future developments and career insight from industry expert   [#permalink] 29 Oct 2019, 09:02

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