Parade Profile: Harley Beattie (MEng Mechanical with Automotive Engineering 2021)

Posted in: Engineering & Design, Parade profiles

After graduating from the five-year mechanical with automotive engineering course at Bath in 2021, Harley Beattie now has a varied and international career in the aerospace sector. She credits her professional successes since attending Bath to her incredible placement year with McLaren Motorsport, as well as the valuable skills she learnt on her course and as part of her wider University experience. 

Why did you choose to study at Bath? Did you have a particular career in mind when you chose your course?    

I wanted to be an engineer in the automotive industry throughout my teen years and Bath had one of the most highly rated courses in this space.  

Having visited a couple of universities in England, Bath stood out for its hands-on opportunities, amazing placement scheme and of course the beautiful city. 

Can you tell us about your experience of studying here? Any favourite memories, or places to go on campus and in the city?    

Harley Beattie I loved my time at Bath, particularly the third and fourth years of my studies. In my latter years, I got involved in the Bath Zero competition team, which set out to design, build and race an electric motorcycle.  

Though the COVID-19 pandemic dashed our hopes of getting the bike finished and racing, I have been in touch with members of the team in the cohorts that inherited the bike from us and they have managed to finish our design. Some of the project group and I have even started an alumni racing team! 

Were you a part of any societies or sports clubs during your time at Bath? What did you enjoy most about them?  

I was part of the mountaineering club and was on the committee for two years. Without a shadow of a doubt, this was the highlight of university for me.  

The club was really active, organising domestic and international trips and plenty of social events, as well as encouraging us to try new elements of mountaineering. The club gave me my first taste of traditional climbing and winter mountaineering, neither of which would have been accessible to me without the club. Most importantly, I made lifelong friends. 

Tell us about your placement experience. 

On my placement, I worked for Quick Release (QR) as an analyst, placed in McLaren Motorsport as a PDM analyst and weight engineer. I was given a lot of responsibility from my first day, which was a fantastic way to learn and develop quickly.  

During my placement, I also had the opportunity to travel to Spain and Germany, move around to different areas of the business as part of various projects and develop my technical skills.  

Describe your career journey since graduating.  

After graduation, I was employed by the University as a KTP Associate in collaboration with QR. The KTP was a two-year project aiming to develop the internal IP and methodology for Engineering Change Management, a key service offering for QR.  

This rather unique role enabled me to apply academic research in an industry setting, take what I’d learnt from the industry and feed this back into academia. Through a mixture of projects and conferences, I was able to travel to Saudi Arabia, California, Germany and Thailand during the two years.  

After the KTP, I joined QR on a permanent basis as an associate consultant and am currently working in the aerospace sector.  

What is a typical day like in your current role?  

My day as a consultant varies hugely and usually involves a lot of travel! I’ve been in my current role for three months, and in that time, I've done a 46-hour (!) stint in San Francisco to facilitate a client workshop, delivered ‘Lean Six Sigma’ training to my team and am currently working with Rolls Royce on a process improvement project.  

Project work is usually a mixture of data analysis, running workshops and meetings, and solution development.   

How did your studies help you to develop? 

My time at Bath helped me develop the ability to research, learn and problem solve independently. Though it wasn’t immediately obvious at the time, the course is designed to simulate an industry environment, particularly in the third year with the group business design project.  

The strong sports and society culture at Bath was also beneficial for developing leadership skills, particularly during the years I served on the committee.  

What advice would you give to prospective students thinking about studying your course at Bath?   

The job I have currently is a direct result of my placement. If you want to study a course that is both academically stimulating and provides a strong pathway into industry, I think Bath is hard to beat.  

I would also tell first-year students not to be afraid of getting stuck into practical projects. This is one of the best learning tools available and, in addition to being great fun, is something employers will be interested in.  

Posted in: Engineering & Design, Parade profiles

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