Abdul Hakim Norazman, MEng Electrical and Mechanical Engineering

What do you like most about being a student at the University of Edinburgh?

The one thing I like the most about being a student at The University of Edinburgh is the plethora of amazing activities that are available across all campuses, fields of study and interests. From joining student societies such as swing dancing, sign language and trading; volunteering as a tutor, ambassador and technician; to working part-time as a lab demonstrator, shopkeeper and carer. There are lots of great opportunities to make new friends, learn key skills and unwind from the stresses of coursework. Some of my most memorable experiences have come from outside my academics and I continue to try new things every semester.

How would you describe your programme of study to a prospective student? What is the most interesting thing about this programme?

My programme of study is Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (MEng Hons) which is a five-year joint-honours degree combining both electrical and mechanical engineering subjects. I am currently finishing my third year and feel that the programme is great for students who are interested in electromechanical systems such as machines within power engineering, are keen to take on leadership roles of diverse teams in the future, and those who enjoy a broad learning experience. However, the combination of both fields does make this programme a challenging one.

The first year is relatively easy-going and covers fundamental topics such as Engineering Mathematics whilst second year will introduce you to technical topics such as Analogue Circuits 2. Most students find that third year is quite challenging due to difficult subjects, lots of coursework and long group projects. The key part of fourth year will be the exciting industrial placement and for firth year, the significant individual MEng project.

My favourite course was Digital Systems Design and Laboratory 3 where I had to write a Verilog code to programme an FPGA board to play the Snake game. I loved how everyone came together to solve the insanely hard final piece of coursework.

University Clubs and Societies: Describe your involvement in any student clubs and societies. What have you gained from this experience?

During my first year, I was an active member of an engineering team called The University of Edinburgh Hyperloop Team (HYPED). The Hyperloop is Elon Musk’s fifth mode of transport and HYPED is a student society dedicated towards its development in the UK. Every year, the team builds a prototype pod to compete against top teams across the globe at the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in California, US.

My role in the team was an Emergency Braking Engineering responsible for the design, manufacture and testing of the braking system for our second-generation pod, Poddy II. I was lucky enough to be given many opportunities to travel up and down the country for outreach events such as the Liverpool International Business Festival. HYPED was the only team in the UK to reach the finals and we passed all the mechanical tests, achieving a top six position in the world.

It was an extremely intimidating experience joining the team because I felt that I did not know anything about engineering. Luckily, I chose to stay on and ended up learning more that I could have ever imagined and made a bunch of fantastic friends along the way.

What sort of accommodation are you living in? What do you like about it?

I am currently in my third year and am living in a privately rented accommodation near the Scottish Parliament and Holyrood Palace. The apartment is fully furnished and consists of three bedrooms, a shared living room, kitchen and bathroom. Its best feature is the living room balcony overlooking the busy street which leads up to the Royal Mile. I really enjoy being able to get a bird’s-eye view of cool events such as the Edinburgh Riding of the Marches, March Pride Edinburgh and the Queen’s Garden Party. I also share the flat with two other students who I met in a student society.

Is there any advice you could share with new students to help them make the most of their time at Edinburgh?

My advice for new students to help them make the most of their time in Edinburgh would be to go out of your comfort zone and try as many new things as possible. Join a society, start a student-led project and participate in competitions. The University Student’s Association offers activities that can cover every dimension of interest and is a brilliant way to create memorable moments, fend off the exams stresses and gain some transferable skills along the way.

To prepare for life outside of the university, I would recommend practising how to budget effectively, sharpening your cooking skills and learning how to do your laundry, so that you can prevent some embarrassing university accommodation moments. I also wish I had gained some work experience and earned some money before entering university so that I could have travelled more during my early academic years.

What are you hoping to do after graduation?

My love for more practical academic courses, experience with the HYPED engineering team and part-time work as a Makerspace Technician at the uCreate Studio have inspired me to pursue a more technical career within engineering. Having knowledge within both electrical and mechanical engineering has also highlighted the potential for leadership roles in the future. I have recently built a keen interest in the energy sector after reading a lot about the oil and gas industry and building a prototype wind turbine within the course Sustainable Energy Group Design Project 3. As a result, a potential career with offshore wind turbines in a company like Equinor in Norway would be very exciting.

Abdul Hakim Norazman
Abdul Hakim Norazman