Jack Wishart

Jack Wishart

Name: Jack Wishart

Job title: Distillation Contact Engineer

Company: ExxonMobil

Country: UK
A-levels: Chemistry, physics, maths
University: University of Cambridge, UK

I enjoyed science A-levels so decided to study natural sciences at university – I didn’t really consider chemical engineering until after I’d completed my first year of study. I was looking into the different course options for my second year and knew a couple of people who were studying (and enjoying) chemical engineering at other universities. The course sounded interesting, challenging and varied, and after attending an open talk at Cambridge’s chemical engineering department, I took a gamble and it paid off!

Solving real world problems

My favourite subjects were the core engineering topics including fluid dynamics and thermodynamics. When I started the course I wasn’t really thinking about what I’d do after graduation but in the summer after third year I completed an eight week vacation course at ExxonMobil's Fawley refinery. I enjoyed applying what I’d learnt at university to solving real world problems so decided to start my career working as a chemical engineer.

I started working at Fawley Refinery in September 2015 in the Technical support group for the crude distillation units. My day to day activities involve working with the Process team to troubleshoot and optimize the Distillation columns onsite. I also work on longer term work items and various other assignments such as being a supervisor for the previously mentioned summer vacation course! My favourite part of my job is the variety of challenge that I get to work on.

Applying what you learn

My only advice would be to try and get some real world engineering experience before you complete your course – whether that’s one week of work experience or a full placement year. I find the best way to learn is to apply what you’ve heard in lectures or read in textbooks.