Mechatronics BE(Hons) graduate Michael always wanted to push the boundaries and produce innovative ideas and products to make things thought to be impossible, possible.
Qualification: BE(Hons) in Mechatronics Engineering
Role: Electronics Engineer at Motorsport Electronics, Technical Manager at Australian GT Championship
“I knew that Auckland had an excellent reputation for its engineering programme, and a huge variety of extra-curricular opportunities. I was particularly interested in Formula SAE as I saw it as a great way to gain work experience in my chosen field whilst studying. The University of Auckland also had a great halls environment for my first time living away from home.
“I have always been fascinated by technology and how things work, whether it be the mechanical workings behind a car, the electrons running around in a computer, or the magic of WiFi. When I couldn’t pick between Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Mechatronics was the perfect compromise! I also knew that I would be in safe hands with the high calibre of academic staff on board.
“I was pretty lucky to be involved with a lot of the new thermodynamics facilities at Newmarket. I worked quite extensively with Stephen Elder for my final year project using the University’s new AC dynamometer. Stephen and the rest of the thermodynamics technicians were great, not only in terms of academics, but they were also a great bunch of people to be around as well.
“I really enjoyed that we had plenty of opportunities to gain practical experience, whether it be in labs or in extra-curricular activities like Formula SAE. I always felt like I was well-prepared to make the leap from academic study to the workplace.
“Formula SAE became one of the highlights of my time here. I joined in my first year and continued doing it for the whole of my degree. Not only did I make some great friends, but I made invaluable connections with the motorsport industry, and got first-hand experience with motorsport electronics that I could not have got anywhere else in New Zealand to the same quality. Not everybody can say they helped make four race cars whilst at university!
“This helped to prepare me for my current job, where I work in a company specialising in developing and maintaining electronics for the automotive and motorsport industries, called Motorsport Electronics. I am involved with trackside support where I will be monitoring the performance and operation of a wide range of vehicles from open wheel formula cars, through to GT supercars such as Audis and McLarens. There is another side to my work in the preparation and development of the electronic systems for the cars too, including hardware fitment and programming, and also a bit of our own product development.
“One of the most fulfilling things I’ve done has been designing, manufacturing, and testing a new product from design stage right through to release. It really tested both my academic knowledge and my practical experience with similar systems but it is quite satisfying seeing a car go past on TV and knowing that something you have done is helping to keep it going!
“I definitely want to keep working in motorsport as it’s my passion. Although New Zealand definitely punches above its weight in the industry, the motorsport market here is pretty small in comparison to the rest of the world. It is likely that I will end up moving to Australia, Europe, or the USA if I want to progress much further.
“The University invested a lot in me as an engineering student; in providing a world-class education, specialised and well-funded extra-curriculars, and opportunities for practical experience and I always felt fully supported to realise my goals. I had a Summer Research Scholarship developing a MEMS-sensor with a great lecturer, Associate Professor Kean Aw. It was an excellent experience that gave me insight into developing and creating materials like I do now at work. The financial assistance enabled me to focus on improving my academic and practical skills in an area of great interest in preparation for graduation, rather than work somewhere less related over the summer.
“What I loved about studying here was the process of becoming a highly employable graduate with specialised academic knowledge and niche practical experience that absolutely enabled me to gain entry to the motorsport industry, which was my dream.”