Wong Ho Yin Dennis
- Course: Engineering Geology MSc
- Year of graduation: 2018
- Nationality: Chinese (Hong Kong) / Australian
- Job title: Graduate Geologist
- Company: Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Ltd
Looking back, why did you choose to study your particular course at the University of Leeds?
The well-structured curriculum has kept the course highly recognised and relevant within the industry.
The course has been designed to equip graduates with in-depth technical skills and the school has maintained close relationships with companies to ask for advice to keep the course up to date by revising the curriculum in order to ensure graduates meet the standards and quality expected by employers. This undoubtedly has enhanced the employability of students and helped them to be competent enough to solve the challenges faced in the workplace.
What was the best aspect of the course and studying at the University? What were your highlights?
A big merit was the practical assignments based on real case examples, including the bridge-crossing assessment, pumping test interpretation, contaminated land assessment, rock cavern design, lab data analyses, etc.
These assignments allowed students to get involved more easily and provided a better imagination and visualisation of the problems. The debriefings or feedback sections of these assignments were especially useful with lecturers pointing out common problems or mistakes faced by practitioners in the sector.
The field trip to Cyprus was another highlight which let students apply knowledge learnt throughout the semesters to the problems on site. Moreover, students had the access to a large variety of the latest software, including gINT, ArcGIS and Rocscience tools etc., which are commonly used in the industry.
The University’s Careers Centre was a truly useful platform which arranged advisory services, resume and cover letter checking and mock interviews. Mock interviews were particularly helpful as the interviewers commonly had working experience in the same or related industry and knew the background and usual practice of different employers.
What company are you working for now? Tell us a little about your role and what it involves?
I am currently working in Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong Limited as a Graduate Geologist to provide engineering geological inputs to various civil and geotechnical projects and undertake hazard and risk assessments.
My main tasks include seismic studies for countries in Southeast Asia, natural terrain hazard assessment, aerial photograph interpretation, geomorphological mapping, rock discontinuity survey, slope stability analysis, proposal for landslide preventive measures, supervision of ground investigation works, characterisation of ground conditions and construction of geological conceptual models.
What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career?
The course curriculum covered all the essential topics and assisted me in building the strong knowledge foundation that was required to become a professional practitioner. The latest techniques, like the use of point cloud data and different modelling software, which are still new within the industry, were also taught to make me stand out.
The coursework did not just train me to be capable to work independently and professionally, but also let me work in a group to cooperate, to share ideas and to learn from the others. The course content was also based on Eurocode which allowed me to familiarise with the standards and design procedures widely adopted in the industry.
In terms of networking, the school has strong links with alumni who I could meet in a number of social functions to seek advice on career development. Another merit was the accreditation by the Engineering Council which will be very useful if I want to pursue an engineer chartership alongside my geologist chartership to pave way for a better career prospects.
What would you say to students thinking about studying the same course at Leeds or thinking about the same career?
All the aforementioned are what is offered by the School but whether or not you can make use of this platform to transform yourself depends on your own efforts.
It will be a challenging yet fruitful and enjoyable year. After a year, when you look back, you will then realise how much you have gained. I hope you can enjoy the time in Leeds like I did.