Alex Hall

Lead Engineer, Jaguar Land Rover 
MEng Mechanical and Automotive Engineering (2010) 

I made some fantastic friends at Birmingham – both students and staff, and I owe a lot to the degree and general basis for my career that Brum gave me.

Lead Engineer for Torque-on-Demand Transfer Cases, working on the development and sign off of the Transfer Cases in JLR’s active 4WD systems.

What is the best thing about what you are doing now?
Having exposure to some fantastic cars several years before they come to market is a real privilege and exciting to be a part of. It’s satisfying to work on something with such a tangible outcome –seeing a car you’ve worked on out in the real world is always a nice feeling.

To what extent did your degree set you up for your career?
The engineering principles taught in my degree are fundamental to my day-to-day work at JLR. Formula Student was also a huge catalyst for my career – it gives you the opportunity to apply your degree and put it in context several years before you hit professional life. That gave me a massive head start – I wouldn’t have reached my current position without it.

What were the most positive and also the most challenging aspects of your course?
I made some fantastic friends at Birmingham – both students and staff, and I owe a lot to the degree and general basis for my career that Brum gave me. Challenging aspects – balancing coursework and exams alongside the far more important business of building a racing car proved very challenging indeed! Some of the academic modules were pretty tough, but I guess you have to expect that when you’re doing a good degree.

What advice would you give to current students studying your course? 
Savour it – it’ll be over far sooner than seems fair! Make the most of the extra-curricular opportunities outside of the sport itself – it’s not about boosting your CV, they’re the things that you’ll remember from Uni and they’re the things that will give you a head start when you graduate and go looking for the next adventure.

What was your favourite thing about the university? 
There’s a great atmosphere on campus, and the social life is pretty special! 

What is your best memory of your time at Birmingham? 
I still get goosebumps when I think about seeing the car we built cross the finish line to complete the Endurance event at Formula Student Germany 2009. After a long and exhausting year, ending in weeks of working through the night to get everything finished, we achieved what we’d set out to do. A few tears were shed and plenty of beer drunk.