Muhammad Hashim Latif Malik
Hashim, an international student from Pakistan, is studying Environmental Impact Assessment and Management MSc at Manchester.
On choosing Manchester
Before joining Manchester, I studied my undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering. I’ve always wanted to develop a career in the environmental sector so that I could contribute towards the growing challenges of climate change and environmental degradation. The University of Manchester has been at the forefront of the implementation of the Sustainable development goals (SDGs) in terms of doing research around innovative ideas. As a result, it has recently received the first position in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2021. Therefore, I preferred Manchester over any institution to study Environmental Impact Assessment and Management.
On the highlights of my course
My MSc degree has polished my knowledge and skills around Environmental Assessment and planning procedures. I have also gained key transferable skills including communication, presentation, and report-writing skills.
I produced various pieces of work such as screening and scoping reports, a pre due diligence environmental audit-plan, a briefing paper, achieving an average of distinction marks. I have also worked on the ISO14001 & ISO50001 Management Systems as a part of my Environmental Law module. Throughout the master's, I have enhanced my pitching abilities by delivering individual and group presentations. Additionally, I have developed problem-solving skills when facing project limitations and finding suitable alternatives, as well as fostered critical thinking skills extracting relevant and useful information from extensive documents or a site visit.
On the challenges of my course
Adapting to virtual learning processes due to the COVID-19 pandemic was one of the main challenges, but it was a new experience and it did not diminish the ability to learn. Through collaboration amongst lecturers and students, we were able to meet the learning goals and I would strongly encourage students to adapt to these circumstances because learning should never stop.
On my work placement
As a part of the placement module in the course, I undertook a virtual placement with Jacobs. I worked as an Environmental Scientist for 5 weeks. I discovered how the environmental consultancy sector works and got involved in private and public sector projects. I reviewed Environmental Statement (ES) chapters and specific technical reports of different disciplines as a part of multi-disciplinary teams. Additionally, I conducted data analysis, synthesis, and report writing for different projects, collaborating with clients and EIA specialists in virtual meetings. This experience has helped me gain a grounding in the environmental sector and it significantly boosted my employability.
On my student experience
My time at Manchester has been great. Manchester has a really diverse culture; you get food of all cuisines near Wilmslow road, and it is an extremely student-friendly city.
Additionally, I have been a student representative at School level for my course. This was a wonderful experience of helping fellow coursemates. By interacting with people from different backgrounds and sharing ideas, you always learn more and enjoy your study.
On your advice for prospective international students
Unlike other universities, Manchester has a huge number of international students and a more inclusive and diverse environment. This inclusive environment never makes you feel left out. You have equal opportunities as local students at all levels.
Incoming International students should always focus more on their career prospects and with the new graduate route visa, they have a unique selling point which they can use to gain employability and establish a career inside the UK.
It is always better to engage and learn. Get yourself involved in societies and career events to gain more out of your degree. Grades are not everything. Networking really helps.