Image of alumnus Nnanna Ijioma

Nnanna Ijioma

What have you been doing since finishing your studies? 

I graduated in December 2017, left for Nigeria in January 2018 and had a very eventful 2018. This involved job hunting, travelling, volunteering and networking; which led to my current job.   

Within that time frame, I also got to present an extended abstract at the EAGE annual conference which took place in Copenhagen. This was a result of my dissertation module which involved research with IKON Science.  

What company are you working for, what is your role and what does it involve? 

I currently work for Schlumberger as a Completions Field Engineer.  

In a nutshell, I prepare wells for either oil/gas production or water/gas injection after they have been drilled, cased and cemented. It is done via a combination of well equipment, production tubing and other accessories to meet our client’s objectives for their respective wells. It encompasses the design, installation and maintenance of well completions. 

What experiences at Leeds do you think have particularly helped with your career?

Prior to getting a job, I came across older alumni who were very helpful in during my job hunt.  

Due to the diversity, I gained the ability to interact better with people from different cultural and national backgrounds.  

My presentation skills, research ability and work ethics increased exponentially due to the numerous coursework which demanded a lot of smart work, quality research and the ability to concisely convey your findings in a few slides or certain number of words. 

A lot of people develop a sort of “mental boundary” which restricts their career options, this can be attributed to the fear that they can’t do certain jobs based on their backgrounds, but my time at Leeds instilled the confidence in me to do whatever I wanted to do because I learnt “how to learn”. Good example? Me; I was trained as a geophysicist and now I’m working as an engineer. 

These abilities to interact, learn, deliver top notch presentations and reports helped me get where I am today, and I believe they will help me grow further in this industry. 

Also, the network of friends I built from my time in Leeds is one I truly value as most of them are at the beginning of very rewarding careers and this makes me proud knowing I have a network of well-positioned friends. 

Looking back, why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds? 

I had a bachelor’s degree in Physics with applied geophysics and upon finishing my undergrad, I had to decide if I wanted to further my career in physics or geophysics, so, I chose the latter because it had better career prospects.  

At the time (2016), the oil and gas industry was in a downturn and knowing the major employers of geophysics labour belong to the oil and gas industry, I chose “exploration geophysics” because it was a more robust option, meaning I could apply most of the skills to other industries ranging from solid mineral exploration to near surface geophysics to sectors as far as information Technology and data science. 

I chose the University of Leeds because I found its curriculum the most attractive and robust out of all the universities I considered at the time and of course… its reputation!

What was the best aspect of your time at the University of Leeds?

In retrospect, the best aspects of the course in no particular order were: 

The Department’s enthusiasm towards the latest industry practises; the enthusiasm of the department to get students a place in the industry was remarkable, likewise their enthusiasm to keep students in touch with the latest practices in the industry.  

This was evident as we had weekly career talks and guest lecturers from various companies to deliver lectures on some of the best practices in the industry. We were encouraged to join relevant professional bodies, stay updated with the current industry trends and partake in their respective conferences and exhibitions. 

Also, with the aid of the department, a good number of colleagues and I were able to secure places in reputable geoscience companies to undertake our dissertation module. This presented me a fantastic opportunity to undertake my research with Ikon Science in their London office, I really appreciated this because it involved a good combination of programming, mathematics and geophysics. Moreover, it was a superb addition to my resume and I also got to form a new network of friends.  

Other highlights of Leeds included:

  • the infrastructure; almost everything you needed as a student was available, from the well-equipped labs to the fantastic libraries 
  • the diversity; I met people from almost every part of the world
  • the student/social life; social life both on and off campus was fantastic. After days (or weeks!) of studying, there was room for almost every type of personality to let off steam, from playing football at The Edge to going to Old Bar (or the city centre) for a good night out
  • the course content; which proved to be quite robust and the fact that I acquired a lot of transferrable skills which enabled me to get to where I am today 
  • the scenery; the university has really nice views, likewise the city, I encourage prospective students to make time to enjoy the scenery, if you ever feel stressed, just go out, take a walk and enjoy the views

My major highlights are the ones which involved a lot of team work and interaction with my colleagues such as:  

The 3-day data processing workshop, the field trips and all the times when we tried to meet coursework deadlines; especially in the second semester. Asides improving my time management skills, it was a period when my colleagues and I got to know each other better due to several nights spent in the lab together brainstorming and eating junk food. 

What other activities outside of your studies were you involved in? 

I enjoyed eating out, there are lots of options in Leeds if you are looking for a good dinner treat. Other activities included; playing football, running, fun nights out, cooking and of course watching movies. 

What would you say to students thinking about studying the same course at Leeds?

Go for it! the department is well equipped and staffed to support you in any way, shape or form and a lot of opportunities will come your way. I would advise you to stay motivated, start interacting with your coursemates from day one and grab the bull by the horn. The learning curve might be a bit steep depending on your background, but I can assure you will have a rewarding year.  

Leeds has a good reputation and the School of Earth and Environment is quite popular with a lot of employers. This is also a chance to join a well-connected network of alumni which can be very useful when you are looking to make your next career move. Good luck!