Matthew Tomlinson

Why did you choose this project (with URS) as one to apply for?

I applied for the position at URS because of the position that the firm has within national and international environmental consultancy. The project offered to me looked like it would be able to stimulate me academically as well as giving me the perfect experience working within a large consultancy firm.  As a young graduate I know the importance of having work experience to break into the professional world, so having the chance to work alongside consultants at URS was something I could not turn down.

So far, what's the most interesting thing you've found out?

The most interesting thing that I have found whilst working with consultants is the focus and time that they put into business development. As well as the technical side of environmental consultancy I have enjoyed seeing the business aspect of contract development and client management, which is essential for any consultancy to grow and develop.

Are you finding any links between the taught part of the course and your project?  Are there any modules in particular that gave you information or techniques that you're using?

The placement has related directly to the Regulatory and Planning Context for Sustainable Project module undertaken during the first semester so I have been able to bridge the gap between academia and professional working life, one of the biggest benefits of the MSc Sustainability (Environmental Consultancy and Project Management) degree.

How do you find the logistics?  The practicalities of being based with a project host? In your case, I think you're doing the project alongside other work?

My project host has been very helpful throughout the placement and has never pressurised me to work on other consultancy work away from my project.  My time management, however, has allowed me to gain invaluable experience in many aspects of working consultancy life.  Alongside my placement, I have been to public consultation, helped with the business development of Shale Gas Fracking, contributed to various EIS and have been exposed to some of the largest development projects in the UK including HS2, Thames Tideway Tunnel and The Northern Line Extension.

How do you feel about the next 5 weeks, the second half of your project?

I have really enjoyed the first five weeks of my project and having been based between URS Scott Wilson's Victoria and Wimbledon offices I have had the opportunity to meet a wide range of their consultants working on various different projects.  This has given me the chance to brainstorm ideas for my project and I am looking forward to providing them with my research findings which will hopefully help them perform their work more consistently and accurately throughout the company.