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Homepage / Driving Innovation: How Cranfield Shaped My Career in Supercars

Driving Innovation: How Cranfield Shaped My Career in Supercars


How has Cranfield and your MSc impacted your career? 

Cranfield University has significantly boosted my career. Before studying there, I already had a solid foundation in automotive design, having worked at Nissan as a Cockpit Module Design Engineer for five years. The MSc program at Cranfield provided me with the tools and knowledge needed to transition into the world of supercars. 

At Cranfield, we delved deeply into carbon fibre and new manufacturing techniques. By the end of the course, I had acquired a comprehensive understanding, enabling me to secure a position at McLaren, a company renowned for its hypercars. 


Why did you choose to study at Cranfield? 

I chose Cranfield for three main reasons: the professors, the facilities, and the resources. The university boasts an airport, a flying laboratory, a 737 aircraft, and extensive resources that allow limitless learning and research opportunities. Additionally, Cranfield’s strong industry connections and the real-world experience gained through projects, like my Group Design Project (GDP) with an aerospace company, were crucial in my decision. 


How was your experience studying for your MSc? 

My experience at Cranfield University was exceptional. The professors are top-tier experts, bringing extensive knowledge and experience to the table. The MSc programme was the perfect blend of challenging coursework and opportunities for self-study, research and development. 

The course covers everything you need to know while allowing you the freedom to explore areas you are passionate about in greater depth. 

Did your time at Cranfield change your career plans?

I studied Aerospace Vehicle Design MSc at Cranfield University, as I wanted to move into the aerospace side of engineering and design. I envisioned myself graduating and working for an aerospace company. However, my career trajectory changed in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Today, I work for McLaren, which was beyond my wildest dreams. I had a very tunnelled vision of what I thought my career could be, and then Cranfield opened the world of opportunities up for me.

What are you up to now?

I am currently a Senior Project Engineer at McLaren. My primary responsibility is to develop the interior of their cars, from concept to manufacturing. This involves defining the car’s concept, validating safety systems, ensuring compliance with international regulations, and enhancing the driver’s experience of comfort and sportiness. It’s a comprehensive role where every detail contributes to the premium feel of our sports cars.

What do you think of the facilities on campus, and which facilities did you use as part of your course? 

A standout memory for me was the student experience flight. It was an incredible way to apply classroom knowledge in a practical setting—and it made for some great Instagram content! Living on campus was also a significant advantage. It provided an international experience, and the convenience of being close to the library and other facilities made late-night studying safer and more manageable. I stayed at Baroness Young Hall, a modern complex that greatly helped me adjust as an international student. 


Could you tell us more about the student flight experience? 

I am always open to new experiences, and the student flight experience was unforgettable. We had two flights: the first to learn aircraft controls and the second for advanced manoeuvres. The pilot asked about my limits, and I eagerly volunteered for all the stunts, including rolls and loops. It felt like being in Top Gun, especially when we spin dove. It was an incredible, unique experience at Cranfield. 


What advice do you have for any future students? 

Don’t be afraid to embrace new experiences; your time at Cranfield will fly by! Explore every corner of the campus and take advantage of all it has to offer. There is always something happening, and you don’t want to miss out on any opportunities. 

Carlos Castro

Written By: Alice Kirkaldy

Senior Project Engineer, McLaren (Aerospace Vehicle Design MSc 2022)

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