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Case Study: Edmund Bennett

Personal details
Degree:Theoretical Physics PhD Profile picture
School(s): School of Physics and Astronomy
Year of Graduation:Nov-2014
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: Systems Engineering & Assessment (SEA) Ltd
Job title: Engineer
Occupational Sector: Engineering
What has been your route to getting your current position?
In the last year of my PhD I joined LinkedIn and used it to perform regular job searches. An SEA advertisement attracted my attention and I applied. SEA was my only job application through LinkedIn.
What does your job involve ?
The work is varied and can range from quite technically demanding problems (i.e. fully fledged marine physics simulations) to more general analytics requiring fairly basic statistics (i.e. studies on the power consumption of equipment carried by a soldier). Generally speaking, the role of SEA is to bring together existing technology and recent conceptual developments to solve problems in a new space.
What are the best bits of your job ?
Interesting technical problems give me the opportunity to use techniques I learnt during my undergraduate degree (applied maths) in an interesting problem space.
Why were you successful?
For a theoretical physicist applying for jobs in the engineering sector, it is important to portray any evidence of practicality. Luckily, I chose to buy a speed boat towards the beginning of my PhD, which my interviewer tells me was the reason I was interviewed. Yes, I mentioned this on my CV!
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?
Good scientific rigour (tempered with practicality) and the ability not to be phased by complex problems.
What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?
Overall, a very enjoyably job. Joining SEA in September 2013 after my PhD, I was forced to adapt to the fast-paced project-centric mentality which pervades consultancies of this type. This meant getting used to short deadlines in a quickly moving field. For instance, one project I worked on consisted of a two week literature review of state-of-the-art acoustic beamforming techniques, the results of which were presented at a judgement panel who were mandated to decide whether the technology should be developed for the use of military personnel. In addition to the technical challenges, the job requires working with both engineers and ex-military, which provides an interesting balance of personalities in the work-place. Generally speaking, people at work are easy to get on with, although the average age in the company is rather high and there is no graduate program, although they are keen to hire.