Author: Ben Saunders -

Application for the Competition

I applied to this competition having heard about it via the student careers fair at Bath, and after receiving emails from the placement office. It was a really exciting opportunity to present to a huge company about a subject that I really enjoy.

I had already completed my application but had not yet submitted it to Jaguar Land Rover as I wanted to do as well as possible in this competition. JLR were the company I wanted to work for, due to my love for the cars they make (especially the Range Rovers) and my love for cars and driving in general. JLR are a huge pair of brands associated with luxury and refinement, and this is a company I had been wanting to work for ever since I decided to do engineering.

Also, I knew that if I won this competition, it would make life a whole lot easier for me in terms of travelling for interviews and going to perform interviews, as I would skip the whole process, saving time and money. This could also possibly mean that I could be offered a Graduate job without having to do a single Interview!

Competition Process

The competition was a presentation based competition, requiring me to think of and present two problems that the automotive industry will face in the near future and an innovation that I would like to see implemented in the future. The problems I presented included electrification of automotive industry and the increase in congestion on the roads and the innovation that I would have liked to implement was a car sharing scheme similar to the one outlined by Elon Musk’s Master Plan Part Deux.

We were required to compile a presentation complete with notes and send it off to the placement office where it would be judged by the JLR ‘panel’. The best 10 presentations were whittled down and informed that they had been chosen to present to the panel. I was then allowed to alter the presentation into a more presentable format and then presented it to the judging panel. Although at first it was an intimidating process, the thought of working for such an excellent and well known company and the fact this offered a different route into a company drove me on.

Winning the Competition

I was informed that I had won the competition on the 8th of November, long before any of my friends had applied to any placements. This meant I had a lot more time and was free to focus on other activities as opposed to rushing all over the country performing interviews, which gave me an advantage in my studies. I was a lot less stressed than a lot of my friends looking for placements, and I had managed to work for the company that I had initially wanted to work for all along. Although the initial effort and process seemed like a long one, it was definitely worth it and once I knew the outcome I’d even say it was enjoyable!

What I’m currently doing

Winning the competition was not the best part-finding out where I was going to be placed within the company was. I work within SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) in a team called vehicle dynamics. This means we are essentially testing and tuning the feel of the car to meet specific requirements set out by the Vehicle Evaluation Team (VET). This also means a lot of travelling around Europe, as the UK does not have any proving grounds of high enough standard for car testing.

SVO make all the Halo vehicles for JLR: the Range Rover SVR and SVA, the F-Type SVR and the recently revealed Discovery SVX. These are cars I help tune daily, along with assessing the ride, steering feel and managing the cars i.e. where they go, fixing teething problems on cars when they are broken, whilst being given a year-long project. I am currently in the process of getting internal licenses to allow me to drive these cars, as they are all very expensive (all are V8’s with +500HP). I am going to France in November to learn to drive on track in wet conditions, and on the same trip travelling to the Nurburgring for another project during industry pool week. I am also going to Sweden in January to help tune Stability Control Systems (SCS) on some vehicles on a frozen lake!

All-in-all, applying for the competition was the best thing I did last year. Who knows where you’ll end up if you end up winning it? With JLR being such a huge company (up to 42000 of us now), there are endless departments to chose from and almost certainly one that you will enjoy, irrespective of whether or not you like cars!

Posted in: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Engineering placements, Undergraduate


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