Sankalp's Student Story

You did your undergraduate studies in India. What led you to studying engineering in UCD?

I first came across UCD at a grad fair in India where I learned that Professor Bogdan Staszewski was coming to UCD School of Electrical Engineering; I knew Prof. Bogdan from what little research I had done in my undergrad, he’s a pretty big deal in the world of analog design, so straight away UCD went up on my radar. I consequently applied to UCD who even offered me a scholarship, so my mind was made up – I’m coming to Ireland!


Why did you choose this particular degree?

It was pretty clear that I wanted to study electronics. I’ve had a passion for electronics ever since I was 10 years old. The Electronics and Computers Engineering programme seemed a great choice for me because it does take you to the embedded side of things and is a really encompassing degree.


What are the key skills and knowledge you feel you gained from this degree? 

RF Electronics with Professor Anding Zhu really stood out – it was amazing. And that is essentially what helped me land my first job in Ireland. Also a module on embedded systems by Brian Mulkeen was fantastic – he is really good at what he teaches. So between Anding Zhu, Brian Mulkeen and Bogdan Staszewski, the course was fantastic. You could pick and choose what modules you wanted to study, so that flexibility was amazing.


You now work in business development / strategic marketing. How did you make that transition?

I ended up in marketing because I took one elective module in finance which piqued my interest in the business side of things which is why, in my first job, I was keen to get involved in the business development team.


How does your engineering degree support your career?

You have to be a good engineer to be a good business person. I couldn’t do what I’m doing if I didn’t have the engineering background – it’s necessary to be able to understand the customer’s problem and to be able to come up with creative pathways for a solution to that problem. I think engineering is the key to what I do.


What are your career goals?

I see myself continuing to work in the marketing and business development area within the engineering industry for the foreseeable future. Engineering plays such an important role in shaping our society. Engineers do so much work which generally occurs behind the scenes, and it can be difficult to showcase the impact of their work. I feel that by working in the marketing and business development side of things, I can help bridge this gap and shorten the time to market.


What did you enjoy most about UCD?

There’s a lot! There were always a lot of events happening in the Global Lounge. For me as an immigrant  it was fantastic to have all these events run by Indian society and other societies, so you could mingle with people of different nationalities. I made a lot of good friends that way and didn’t get homesick at all (which my mother doesn’t like me saying!).

The campus is fantastic, there are so many opportunities to learn different things – I got involved in the kickboxing club which I loved. The libraries are great and I’d also like to mention the staff at the UCD career’s office: they go out of their way to help you with things like resume editing and preparing for interviews. These were really vital supports for me, which is why I now volunteer in this area, I mentor students for interviews.


Any advice for prospective international students?

Just go for it, don’t overthink it! UCD is a very welcoming place and I felt integrated in the UCD community from the start. As an immigrant, I liked the fact that there are lots of Indians everywhere. I would say the Irish are the friendliest people of all. Random strangers would offer me directions if I was lost, and they would offer to walk me back to campus!


Sankalp's Supporter Story

After graduating from UCD, did you still feel part of the UCD community? 

Yes, I definitely did. I would get regular emails from the UCD alumni about different events and initiatives you could take part in and when I lived in Dublin, I would still pop back and attend a lot of different events on campus. It’s good to continue to feel and be involved. So that’s part of the reason why I got involved with the UCD Buddy Programme.


How do you find the experience of helping / mentoring students? 

It’s very fulfilling to help students, I love being able to give them support and encouragement when they need it. I got a lot of assistance from UCD, so I like to pay something forward if I can. Students face a lot of difficulties and can get really stressed out. One of my ‘buddies’ was getting very anxious about his job applications because he wasn’t getting any responses from employers. We had a chat and I could help calm him down and I know from my own experience that sometimes having someone listen to you can make all the difference. I like providing feedback to students to help them put their minds at ease. I can offer them guidance in terms of which skills are in demand in the industry at the moment.


You have been a supporter of the alumni-led UCD Champions student scholarship programme for one year now and you also encouraged your company to participate in a gift matching programme to support even more scholarships. What initially inspired you to become a donor?

Without my UCD scholarship it would have been difficult for me to do my masters so I feel strongly about doing the same for other students to give them the same opportunity.


Any advice that you would give to a student about to start at UCD?

Make the most of your student time: get out of your shell, get involved in different things! Reach out to alumni and seniors in your course – most people will be delighted to help. Don’t think twice about asking for help, it’s always worth it.


It’s very fulfilling to help students, I love being able to give them support and encouragement when they need it. I got a lot of assistance from UCD, so I like to pay something forward if I can.”

-Sankalp Sieghardt

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