Soumya Chatterjee

I loved cryptography and wanted to go deeper in the domain of Computer Security and we all know that, the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester needs no more introductions in this department.

Company: E.ON Generations Unit in Essen, Germany.

I studied for my MSc in Advanced Computer Science and IT Management at The University of Manchester. I graduated last December and it truly was an amazing moment! Let me take you a year back, when I first arrived in Manchester.

I undertook my schooling and undergraduate course in India, where the education system was different from that of Manchester. This is mainly because the studies in India revolve more around academic theories rather than practical skills. Due to high competition and the global recession, I decided to further my studies with an advanced degree after completing my undergraduate course in Information Technology.

I loved cryptography and wanted to go deeper in the domain of Computer Security. We all know that the School of Computer Science at The University of Manchester needs no introductions in this department. Also, being a Manchester United fan helped convince me to continue my studies in Manchester.

I arrived in Manchester on 8th September 2011. The modules began in late September and, at first, I was facing difficulties in understanding the models. Fortunately, I was able to seek support from the professors after class. Although this was helpful, I still had to invest more time to bridge the knowledge gap.

For me, the tuition fees and the living expenses were very high since the conversion rate was around 1:80 due to the Olympics, having been held in London in the summer of 2012. Coming from a middle class Indian family, I was always aware that my parents made a huge investment in me to study here, but I used their faith in me as a big motivation to succeed on the course.

I worked very hard during Christmas as it was a very busy time for me; preparing myself for the upcoming exams in January. Although I was not able to enjoy the holidays as much as my friends did, it was worth it as I did very well in my exams. I was half way through my course and online for a potential distinction. I now felt that I will be able to enjoy some time with my friends, knowing that I could handle the pressure of the course.

My MSc dissertation was based on tackling the security issues of an e-learning tool. During this time, I also applied for a PhD position on a project with INRIA (a prestigious research centre run by French government). With the support of my supervisor, Ms. Alexandria Walker, coupled with my own efforts, I was selected. She had helped me immensely during the course of the project. With her valuable advice, I was able to make the right decisions in time. The moment was unforgettable and I felt that I was on cloud nine.

After a few months, the final grades were published. I was one of the very few people in my department who was going to graduate with a Distinction. The graduation ceremony later that year was very special and I felt proud that I succeeded in my goal.

I am now currently working in the E.ON Generations Unit in Essen, Germany. I am a part of the E.ON INternational Graduate program or EGP. I will have multiple placements during this two year  trainne-ship and I also get an opportunity to work across different E.ON BUsiness Units like Retail and Global Commodities. Till now, my role is closely related to project management and data analysis, but I will be experiencing new roles and responsibilities in the upcoming placements. In general, Germany is a very nice country and people here are very friendly, and they are alo crazy about football!

The experience at Manchester not only taught me computer science, but also taught me many other lessons. During my stay, I also visited places like Liverpool, Blackpool and of course, London. I still don’t think that I was able to visit all the buildings in the North and South campus of the University.

I met many new people during small parties and reunions, watched some high voltage soccer action at Jabez Clegg and had an unforgettable experience at the Manchester Museum. Also, another noteworthy experience was the Old Trafford tour organised by the School of Computer Science. I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life.

Current position: Graduate, Isatec Ltd

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