From Mechanical Engineering to designing top sports car
Mechanical Engineering graduate Nicholas David, Senior Concept Designer for General Motors in Hollywood, recently launched his Chevrolet TRU 140S in Detroit.
We caught up with Nicholas, who has swapped the coastal scenery of Swansea for California, to find out about how studying engineering has helped in his car design career.
Why did you decide to study engineering at Swansea University?
The main reason was that I had always been fascinated by engineering and the various disciplines that you end up learning, from design to aerodynamics right through to some very intricate mathematics. Mechanical Engineering at Swansea University gave me the opportunity to experience several different classes and give me a wide breadth of knowledge.
The second reason was due to its location. I was competing in surfing competitions around the country as well as representing Wales in the European surfing championships. You can surf, mountain bike, rock climb down the Gower - it's just a great place to balance your studies with extracurricular activities.
What are your favourite memories of the course?
From an academic point of view, it was the standard of teaching. The engineering amenities were also great. I did my final thesis on the aerodynamics of racing cars and aircraft, so having a wind tunnel on site was useful.
Being required to work in group environments several times during the course was also good practice for real working environments too. I made some great friends from the group projects.
From a social side, meeting so many people from different areas of the country and even different countries was an eye-opener. It brought me out of my shell and I certainly matured a great deal during the course.
How did studying engineering help you to achieve your current job role?
Studying engineering is what makes me a good designer. I have knowledge of how things work, how things are made and a practical outlook on designing. It has certainly helped me when designing, since I take a more realistic approach to the cars I am working on.
What would you say to any students who are deciding whether to study engineering, based on your own experiences?
The great thing about engineering is the various disciplines that make up the course, giving you a great foundation to whatever career path you decide to go down in the future. I went on to specialise in Vehicle Design by doing a Masters course.
The Mechanical Engineering course is great; lots of hard work and it took discipline to get all the work done on time, but the outcome has literally changed my life!