Michael Jones, MEnv, BSc Environmental Science (International)

Michael Jones


What have you been doing since finishing your studies? 

I was lucky enough to secure a graduate role starting in the September following my graduation, so immediately after finishing studies I made the most of having minimal responsibilities before entering the real world!

I spent two years in Cardiff and have now relocated to the Manchester office.

I work for Arup, an international engineering consultancy and my job title is ‘environmental consultant’. I work on a wide range of projects for both private clients as well as Highways England and the Environment Agency. The aim of my role is to work with the project designers to assess and minimise potential impacts and to add environmental enhancements where possible.

I am both an environmental generalist being the point of contact for environmental advice for small scale projects and I have also specialised in the water sector, authoring water chapters of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and carrying out Water Framework Directive (WFD) assessments

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

The variety of modules in Leeds gave me the skills to assess unfamiliar topics, get a grip on new concepts and apply them to a variety of situations. This is a skill which I apply to my job all the time; I am constantly required to apply my knowledge to varied situations.

It sounds obvious and boring, but the importance of good organisation and prioritising tasks which I learned when under pressure with various deadlines at Leeds has saved me a lot of stress in my career. There is always a to do list, it is important to know when to get my head down and focus on one tsk and when to juggle to move several projects on in a given day / week.

Why did you choose to study your particular course and why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I chose environmental science because I have always been passionate about applying myself to make a positive impact on the world and I love being outdoors.

I was split between Leeds and two other universities; all of whom were well regarded for Environmental Science. I chose Leeds because of the well known social scene, the campus / city mixed feel to the uni, I found the topics covered in the open day presentation closely matched my interests and I liked how they related to the core sciences .. but the clincher was the integrated masters as a year abroad.

What was the best aspect of your course?

Aside from the year abroad .. the field trip to Arran in final year

Where did you study abroad?

McMaster University, ON, Canada

What has been the best aspect of studying abroad?

Having a ready made group of international students who are all of the work hard play hard mentality and eager to make the most of the year.


Do you have any advice for students considering studying abroad?

It was the best decision I made throughout university. Not only is the integrated masters a no-brainer in terms of time and financially, I also learned a lot about myself both academically and personally and it got me over the line in my interview for the graduate job.

If you are considering going abroad, I would say do it! Throw yourself into everything, both with the community of the host university and with the other exchange students if there is a group. Have confidence in your academic ability, we have a good core knowledge from Leeds and learning to adapt it to studies abroad deepens your understanding. It’s a unique situation to be in a country with all your time to yourself to do exactly what you plan. Make the most of it and come home with loads of memories!

What activities outside of your studies were you involved in?

I played rugby for both Leeds university and at McMaster; I’ve always played and have some great friends from both of these teams.

I love cycling and in final year started making the most of how close Leeds is to the Moors. After graduating I cycled to Prague with Leeds RAG which was awesome.

What would you say to students thinking about studying your course?

It was a very good course which gives you an opportunity to go in whichever direction you choose; you get a good understanding of the basic sciences in first year and can then carve your own direction. You get out of the degree what you put in – there are loads of very keen lecturers and professors who are more than willing to put in extra time if you show willing.

I was relatively open to which modules I took going through the degree, picking the ones which I found most interesting. If there is a particular career or direction you have in mind, speak to your personal tutor or course director to make sure your choice of modules complement each other.

Make sure you have a great time but in first year keep an eye on the score you need to go abroad – you won’t regret it!