From finance to mechanical engineering: Adrienne Koor

Adrienne in front of a red brick wall

In surveying the career landscapes of a fast-changing world, Master of Engineering student Adrienne Koor is keen to talk about the value of course flexibility and diversity.

Adrienne is currently studying a Master of Engineering (Mechanical with Business) after completing a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance and Management) in 2018.

Like many school leavers, Adrienne says she wasn’t sure what to specialise in when considering her university options and it was Melbourne’s unique curriculum that allowed her to explore with confidence and sense of security. She says it allowed her to start with an undergraduate degree in commerce knowing that it would not limit her options to study engineering … my passion .

There is no other university in Australia that offers this flexibility, says Adrienne, explaining how this was also the catalyst for leaving home in Sydney.

I initially intended to stay at home and pursue a double degree [in commerce and engineering] at a Sydney University but on researching this further I realised that the University of Melbourne value proposition was far greater. In about the same amount of time, studying at Melbourne means I can graduate with a Bachelor and Masters degree, as opposed to two Bachelor degrees if I had studied elsewhere. This also means I am entering the workplace more qualified with a degree from the #1 ranked university in Australia

New home

Motivated by her course options and the collegiate environment at the University of Melbourne, Adrienne says she settled quickly into Melbourne.

This city is arguably one of the most incredible places to live and the array of events and activities means there is something for everyone, no matter how niche your interest or passion. Because of this I think it attracts an incredibly diverse mix of people.

This demographic has also translated into my classroom experiences. I have been exposed to peers from diverse backgrounds and varied paths of study. This has fostered interesting discussion and group work experiences.

Adrienne has immersed herself into what she describes as a rich ecosystem of student clubs, committees and initiatives which has added to her learning experience.

As a female I wanted to be able to study in an environment that I knew was incredibly supportive of gender and wider equality of education. I can attest to how much the faculty invests in its students.

Making the most of her time at university, Adrienne is a student member of the global university-based consultancy, 180 Degrees Consulting; and has also been involved with Engineers without Borders in Nepal, completing a Humanitarian Design Summit in 2019 in which she helped implement a game in primary schools to raise awareness of personal hygiene practices to minimise the spread of communicable diseases.

Adrienne has completed a number of study experiences overseas including a consulting project for Pacific Hydro in Chile and a six-month exchange to USC Marshall Business School in Los Angeles. This is in addition to local internships with PwC, Deloitte, the Future Fund, Vesparum Capital and AustralianSuper.

The internships I have completed offered the chance to extend my learning past the classroom and gain practical, hands on experience. They allowed me to test what I enjoy in a real world setting and adapt the way I approached my studies to make sure I could get the most out of university and allowed me to contribute my ideas to companies and teams composed of incredible people.

Adrienne working on a racing car
Adrienne working in the Melbourne University Racing workshop

The power of agility

As her Masters course has evolved, so too have Adrienne’s career aspirations.

Initially I was leaning more towards a finance role, as I enjoyed this discipline in my undergrad. I have, however, become increasingly passionate about future transport, mobility and automation. I would love to work in this space – anything to do with service design, intelligent mobility, user experience, connected and automated vehicles and innovation design engineering really excites me.

I am fortunate enough to be a Westpac Scholar which means I have had the opportunities to develop these passions. I completed a connected and automated vehicles course at the University of Michigan last year and will be completing further studies at Imperial College in London.

Advice from experience

Adrienne says one of the best aspects of undertaking an Engineering Masters degree is that, while this pathway can be incredibly specialised it still allows exposure to, and involvement with other areas of specialisation.

For example, just within my Mechanical major I have a choice of pathways, all with different experiences and career paths at the end, and even then, the skillset you gain from engineering means you can easily take on another role you may not have previously considered.

So I would say, meet engineers from other disciplines, or students from other faculties and join clubs and committees – Melbourne University Racing if you like cars, Engineers without Borders for volunteering and humanitarian design work, Women in Science and Engineering if you’re a girl passionate about STEM, Melbourne University Chemical Engineering Students’ Society offers netball for all engineering students and the list goes on.

Engineering at Melbourne leaves every door open for you to explore. You just have to take the first step.

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