Interview with Katherine Chimenes, Summer Intern at Arup
Name: Katherine Chimenes
Title: Structural Engineering Summer Intern
Company: Arup – London
Sector: Building Engineering
What inspired you to apply for the internship? Are you under a special internship (summer internship/department internship)?
I wanted to apply for this internship, because I knew I was interested in becoming a structural engineer. Prior to this, I had never had professional experience in the field. I have done other internships before, and I find them very useful in gauging whether a certain job or company is right for you.
Where did you see it advertised?
I have always had a strong interest in Arup, so I heard about it by finding it on their website's careers section.
What was the application process like? Did you interview? How long did it take?
The process comprised of filling out an online application form. This included a cover letter, a CV, as well as filling out some online forms covering in more depth the information that should be present in your CV, as well as some personal questions. I was expecting an interview, but didn't get interviewed in the end. The whole application process took a few months.
What does a typical day look like? Who do you work most closely with/what sort of tasks do you do?
Days are meant to start at 09:00, with a lunch break from 12:30 to 13:30, and finish at 17:30. I was working on a Finite Element Analysis model for the slab of a building, or designing some beams and columns among other things. Occasionally there will be a meeting with senior engineers to talk about what I was working on, or to get an update on the progress of the project. You can also have meetings with engineers from other departments, such as engineers from the geotechnics department or mechanical engineers, to address problems that need to be solved together. Arup also offers great talks by very interesting people from inside and outside of the company. I was supervised by a recent graduate engineer with whom I worked most closely, and I was also working with senior structural engineers.
What do you think you’ve learnt from your internship?
I learned how to approach design tasks with the client's needs in mind, and how to work with engineers across other disciplines. Of course, there is a vast pool of technical knowledge to be gained from the internship as well, which is refreshingly different from the way things are taught at university.
What advice would you give to people looking to apply?
Don't be intimidated by the reputation of the company; if you think you have what it takes, do it, and even if you don't, let the company decide for you. I really recommend it, these summer internships were the best professional experiences I have ever had; you learn so much and get to meet so many amazing people.
What did you study at school?
I study Civil Engineering at university, and hold a French Baccalaureate with a focus on sciences and the American International Option at school.