Sreedevi Somadas Kottayil, MSc Mathematical Modelling for Transport student at the University of Leeds.

Sreedevi Somadas Kottayil

Why did you choose to study this course at the Institute for Transport Studies?

During my work experience I realised I lacked a deep theoretical understanding of being a Transport professional. Being ambitious to learn and having keen motivation to become an expert in the field, I decided to take this course. 

I also chose to do this course because of the exceptionally taught modules in it. Three modules particularly influenced this decision.

The first, modules of ‘Concepts and Mathematics for Transport’, is one of the best modules for anyone who wants deeper insight into the subject. The second, ‘Transport Modelling in Practice’, includes all the relevant practical software used in the field, supporting the future career of students. Finally, with the new changes in the Transport sector, one must be up to date with developments all the time and the module of ‘Data Science’ is one which will help you stand out in the crowd. 

What has been the best aspect of studying your course so far and why?

The best aspect of doing this course is about learning about areas that you never thought about before and thinking in much more broader areas. Through different coursework you’re free to choose which areas you want to explore and there are no limits in acquiring knowledge here. The most important aspect is the support that I get from all my professors, they even help us with the tiniest concerns. Being a course representative here, I take part in Student Staff Forums and you get to see the effort that every staff member is putting in to help the students learning process. I’m lucky to be a part of the course and ITS.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

At ITS Leeds you get everything that you could want to for your future career. You will be molded so that you always stand out and you will start to explore new areas which you would never even have thought of learning about. I have also improved my writing and presentation skills in a more professional and academic way.

The ‘Transport Integrated Project’ in the second semester is an opportunity where you learn how to work with all the other disciplines as a team and come up with best solutions to transport problems, like how you do in real world organizations.

Finally, the Institute has given me the higher level of confidence. All the skills that I have developed at Leeds will help me to be a unique candidate in the industry as well as for stepping-up in my career. This has also made me think about doing a PhD in the sector after seeing all the interesting advancements you can do research on. For an inquisitive and ambitious person like me, this course is exactly what I wanted.

What transferrable skills do you feel you have gained on your course?

I have been gaining a lot of skills through my course. The first semester modules have helped me develop the very strong foundation skills that any Transport modeler and planner should have. The module ‘Concepts and Mathematics for Transport' helped me understand the transport planning and modelling theories which is required for understanding the software packages available.

This module helped me to think and explore more on theories that I have not looked into earlier. The module ‘Transport Modelling in Practice’ is another module which has helped me with gaining real world practical experience, through software packages such as VISUM, SATURN and DRACULA. 

Being a Transport professional it’s important to understand policies and other planning aspects, skills which I have developed through the module ‘Shaping Future Transport Systems’. The second semester kicked-off with the ‘Transport Integrated Project’ that helped in building skills for working with a real world project in a multi-disciplinary team. The course has fascinated me so far and I believe it’s only going to get even more exciting. I have also gained strong transferrable skills in theory, software and computer programming through using software such as MATLAB, R, Python; key pieces of software in the industry.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed.

The ‘Transport Integrated Project’ is one of the exciting projects that I did, which is the second semester module. I got to work with different experts in the field and improved my skills in being a transport professional. I got chance to work on many areas including transport economics and appraisal which I have never done before. I am looking forward to starting my dissertation which is in Data Science and I am really thankful to the faculty as they accepted my self-suggested topic.

Have you been on any fieldtrips? If so, what was your experience of these?

In ITS you have field trips from day one of your student life. We had field trips as part of induction to explore the University as well as to explore Leeds City Centre, which everyone coming to Leeds should be familiar with.

We even had a short field trip to Headingley as part of the module ‘Transport Modelling in Practice’. The ITS Metropoly field trip was another exciting trip that was organised and there was a lot of fun. Then, the field trip to Sheffield helped us to learn about different real-world transport aspects, like planning, engineering and traffic control and the second day hiking at Castleton was remarkable as well. 

What are your ambitions for the future?

I wish to be an expert who supports the transformation of the transport sector and helps to develop a better society. I intend to do something that would benefit everybody in the world and improve the livelihoods of people, as transportation is indispensable part of everyone’s life. I’m hoping to restart my career in the field with the best degree in Transport Studies and go on to make my aims come true.

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

Everything over here is the best that you can get. The Institute of Transport Studies is the most renowned around the world and you get to learn from the best among best professors in the world. It is important that you know that is one of the best degrees that you can achieve. Trust me, you will be unique and talented, and will be proud of it. And remember, it’s just not work here, you will have loads of leisure and fun activities during the course, even at different module workshops.