Andrew, from Banff in Canada, is studying an MSc in Brewing and Distilling.
What did you do before starting your masters?
I obtained my bachelor's degree in chemical engineering at McGill University. I spent the last five years working as a Well Integrity Engineer in the oil and gas industry, obtaining my Professional Engineer designation in Canada.
Why did you decide to study Brewing and Distilling?
I first became interested in fermented beverage production, and the challenges associated with their large scale production, while studying for my bachelor's degree. While I didn't consider it as a career path at the time, as I gained a deeper appreciation for the industries, I gradually came to appreciate the technical knowledge and practical experience that an engineer could bring to said industries.
Why did you decide to study at Heriot-Watt?
Heriot-Watt has a strong presence in brewing and distilling science literature, boasting an excellent reputation in such respect. Moreover, Edinburgh is a beautiful world-class city steeped in history and culture; a great destination for those seeking to study abroad.
Has Heriot-Watt helped prepare you well for a career?
The postgraduate program at Heriot-Watt has helped to prepare for my career, in that it has provided me with a nucleation point for mastering the science and technology associated with the brewing and distilling industries. Perhaps equally as valuable has been the relationships which I have been able to garner through the various events organised by alumni and through faculty members with years of experience in industry; each presenting invaluable connections within relevant international brewing and distilling industries.
How does studying in the UK compare to studying in Canada?
I can only make a comparison so far as to the Universities at which I have studied in the respective countries. My alma mater in Canada is an incredibly well respected institution, worldwide, and I believe the reputation is quite well earned, especially when you consider that post-secondary education in Canada is publicly funded. I believe that as a result the focus rests on education, research and personal development. I also feel as though in Canada there is more emphasis on students taking pride in their place of study, by promoting involvement in supporting the various excellent sporting teams, and arts and drama groups. That being said, UK Universities are highly regarded and Heriot-Watt offers a variety of groups and societies which are easily accessible.