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Talk with Jonas Thorsager Lassen (Recent Graduate)

This week, we got the chance of having a talk with a fresh competent graduate, Jonas Thorsager Lassen. He is a competent graduate of demanding MSc.Eng Chemical and Biochemical Engineering programme from Technical University of Denmark from 2021. Earlier, he studied B.Eng in Chemical Engineering and International Business from DTU in 2019. He got his degrees from his home country, but went for exchange during both BSc and MSc programmes.

During his engineering school days, he has gathered hands-on experience through internship and student assistant roles. He has worked as an intern at Ørsted, and has worked as Student assistant at some big companies including Azelis and OFS. He has an in-depth and robust knowledge of chemical engineering, and therefore was also selected to be a Teaching Assistant multiple times during his university years.

Within his engineering programme, he has specialised in process engineering and modelling. He has therefore strong expertise within process modelling, simulation, optimisation and unit operations. Jonas is a fresh graduate, and therefore is looking for employment within an engineering and technical role within process engineering. Given his impressive and broad portfolio, his expertise and experience will be an asset for any industry, and any team will be lucky to have him as a chemical engineer.

Education Experience

Jonas is a graduate for MSc in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and B.Eng in Chemical Engineering and International Business, both from DTU.

How was the workload of your degree? What do you spend most time on?

There was a high workload during the degrees. We spent most of the time on Project Work and classes. But the workload also felt harder because I also had to prioritize student job.

Many people tend to believe that Chemical Engineering is the same as Chemistry. Was there a lot of chemistry in your curriculum?

During my bachelor’s degree we had to study the basic chemistry, organic, inorganic, biological and physical chemistry. This makes sense to give everyone all the basic knowledge needed, and some student found out that they were more into applied chemistry than process engineering.

What topics did you find the most difficult during your degree? What was so difficult about it?

In general, you must put an effort in every course, but I also felt that that I got challenge a lot in courses that included modelling such as reaction engineering, transport phenomena and model analysis where the workload was especially high. However, I also like challenges which then made these courses some of my favorites.

What skills you think have learned through your degree(s)? How do you think Chemical Engineering has prepared you for the real world?

In general, my degree has taught me to dig deep into certain topics in courses. And chemical engineering gives a very good fundamental knowledge and the capability to tackle problems you might run into any environment. You get a lot of technical knowledge during the education and especially on how to explain scientific phenomena and describe these with mathematical expressions/models

Did you write your MSc. thesis with your university or with a company? How was your experience in that? Was it better in order to get some real life experience?

I wrote my master’s thesis in collaboration with the danish food/biotech company Chr. Hansen. Thus, I had a supervisor from the company as well as a professor from the university. I was super happy to do my thesis with a company and felt it increased my motivation to deliver a good final product. I think it highly depend on the student if a company collaboration is better than a project solely with the university. Some people are more research oriented while others more industry oriented. However, there are great opportunities to collaborate with a company when you are a student on DTU.

You have specialised within process engineering, what did it include? What have you really specialised within? Could you give an explanation of your skills and the level of complexity?

I have had coursed which is related to process engineering but actually without a more specific specialization. I have had courses in traditional chemical engineering courses such as reaction engineering and process design, but also courses which relates more to biochemical engineering such as recovery and purification, membrane technology and biorefinery. Else than that I also have an interest in bioenergy, where I have had courses in gasification and pyrolysis of biomass

Did you have student jobs during or between your education? How did you get them? Where did you work? How did it help your education or future career?

Yes, found them on online job portals and got a teaching assistant job through the university. These student jobs helped in giving me some insight and some valuable experience and network. I also used my jobs as a break from my studies and of course it is not bad with an extra income which also strengthens your CV

How does having a student job work with your degree workload? Is it easy to manage or tough at time? How is your student job preparing you for the future career?

It is very time consuming to have full semester and student job, so it requires some prioritizing and flexibility. You need to very good in managing your time and delegating your tasks. But it was good to have student jobs, because it gave me a network and insight in part of chemistry and working tasks. Also most companies know that students have a lot of work with their studies and are flexible in times with high workload.

Future Work Experience

What industry do you wish to work in? Have you limited yourself to only engineering jobs or are you also interested in non-core jobs?

Not important where but want to work with technical solutions within process engineering. Biotech and pharma are very big industries in Denmark so might be an opportunity.

What skills do you think you have gained from your chemical engineering education, which are vital and are in need for the industry?

I think I can use a lot of the knowledge I goth through my courses, but it highly depends on the job position which will be mostly in focus. Overall, the scientific methodology and project work is useful in every single job position as well as the ability to communicate and solve problems.

What type of opportunities do you see for yourself with this degree?

I think there are ample opportunities, and I am looking forward to opportunities within sustainable production, production optimization and scale-up.

How has been your job search? Do you there are job opportunities for core-chemical engineering jobs in Denmark?

I think my job search has been fine so far. Good variety of jobs to apply where I feel I have the competences the companies are looking for. I have also had some interviews which also keeps your motivation up.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years? Have you plans in working into more technical specialist roles or into the management roles?

I am open to both develop myself as a specialist as well as generalist. Right now, I am just very curios to start and learn in a company. By getting different experiences throughout my professional career I am sure I will figure out what kind of role that fits me better and motivates me more.

Any suggestions for other graduates? Something they should be doing while they are still in university getting their degree.

Study abroad. I have been so happy to be abroad two times during my studies. Just the new environment and getting out of your comfort zone gives you a lot of life experience and challenges. It is also a great opportunity to get some good memories outside your studies and a great international network.

What skills should they focus on during university years? What they find interesting and want to work with in the future. Personally, I found modelling in term of CFD and reaction engineering very interesting. But I know that other students are more practical and enjoy lab-work or analysis on a more microscopic scale.
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