International Office Blog

News and information from the International Office at the University of Brighton

Student Mario Vattakunnel

Graduate Mario shares how Brighton has shaped his aerospace career

An international student from Italy, Mario made the most of every available opportunity while studying here at Brighton.  

He tells us how his Aeronautical Engineering course helped him get where he is today working for European multinational aerospace corporation, Airbus 

Mario also shares how university societies and his role as a course representative contributed to who he is today, especially now in his role as a STEM ambassador inspiring the next generation and championing the benefits of mentorship. 

Why did you choose the University of Brighton? 

“My journey to the University of Brighton was guided by a burning passion for aerospace from a young age living in Rome, Italy. This institution, with its academic excellence and practical opportunities, seemed like the ideal place to nurture that passion and lay the foundation for a successful career. 

“[Brighton’s] vibrant academic community was known for its dynamic atmosphere, where students from all around the world come together to learn, grow, and share their diverse experiences. 

 “Brighton itself was a city full of life and colour – a place where creativity and innovation  flourish, mirroring my own aspirations. The city’s energy and welcoming atmosphere made it a perfect setting for my academic journey.  

“The course at the University of Brighton offered a perfect blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experience. One of the most exciting aspects was the opportunity to have a one-year internship in the aerospace field. This was invaluable to me because it meant I would not only be learning in the classroom but also gaining real-world experience, which is essential in the aerospace industry.” 

How did studying at Brighton help your career? 

“The combination of theoretical knowledge and practical experience was the cornerstone of my education at Brighton. It allowed me to bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world application, equipping me with the skills needed to excel in this field. 

“The professors and instructors were exceptional and not only experts but also passionate about what they taught. Their enthusiasm was contagious, and their open-door policy meant I could seek guidance, ask questions, and engage in discussions whenever needed. 

“The hands-on experience through laboratory work and projects was invaluable. It was during these moments that I truly felt the concepts coming to life.  

“Engaging with peers from various backgrounds brought in a global perspective and taught me the importance of collaboration and adaptability in an interconnected world. It was an essential aspect of my education, preparing me for the international nature of the aerospace industry and the experiences and lessons from Brighton continue to shape my career and life.” 

Tell us about your experience of the societies at Brighton. 

“My journey was not limited to academic pursuits alone; I was actively involved in extracurricular activities and clubs. During my first year, I joined the university volleyball team, which had been a passion of mine since I was young and had been part of a competitive team back in Italy. 

“I also founded and served as president of the Bollywood Dance Society, aptly named BDance. It quickly became a platform for me to not only express my passion for dance but also share my [Indian] culture and heritage with others. It gave me the opportunity to represent my university in various competitions and I’m proud to say that we achieved notable success, including winning the ‘Best Male Dancer Award’ at the Just Bollywood competition in 2018. 

“These extracurricular activities and clubs were more than just hobbies – they allowed me to develop leadership skills, collaborate with diverse groups of people, and foster a sense of belonging within the university community.” 

Tell us about your stand-out moments from studying at Brighton. 

“I treasure the lifelong friendships I formed during my university years. These friendships are a testament to the sense of community and camaraderie that the University of Brighton fosters, reminding me that the connections we make during our educational pursuits can be as valuable as the knowledge we gain. 

“Another defining aspect of my university experience was my role as a course representative. This role was instrumental in building employability skills and attributes. My peers entrusted me with the responsibility of representing their concerns and feedback, which strengthened my leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills.  

My role with Airbus and STEM ambassador 

“My journey with Airbus began during my internship as an Airbus Operating System iIntern in 2019. During this invaluable experience, I delved into the world of aerospace manufacturing and learned the intricacies of producing wings for commercial aircrafts. This exposure not only enhanced my technical knowledge but also honed various skills, including public speaking, time management, project management, and leadership skills. 

“This internship inspired me and as a result, I eagerly pursued a graduate scheme opportunity with Airbus as Plant Industrialisation and Business Management graduate, which is a highly competitive process, but I’m delighted to say I got the job. I was able to draw on my firsthand experience from the internship and the insight I gained into the workings of the company undoubtedly strengthened my application. 

“The graduate scheme allows me to work in different departments and this diversity has exposed me to various aspects of Airbus, including production processes, project management, quality control, supply chain operations, public affairs, and plant safety. 

“I also take great pride in my role as a STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and Airbus Ambassador, which provides me with a platform to inspire the younger generation to choose STEM as their educational pathway. It’s an opportunity to share my own experiences and passion for aerospace, encouraging others to embark on this exciting journey – allowing me to give back to the community and inspire the future leaders and innovators in the field. 

Do you have any final words of wisdom for our students? 

“Make the most of the diverse opportunities available at Brighton. Engage not only in your academic studies but also in extracurricular activities, clubs, and leadership roles. These experiences beyond the classroom are equally valuable, offering a well-rounded development that can shape your future career.  

“Build relationships with your peers, professors, and professionals in your field of interest. These connections can open doors to opportunities and collaborations that can significantly impact your career journey.  

“Embrace the value of mentorship. Seeking out mentors can provide invaluable guidance. I wish I had actively sought mentors who could have provided insights and advice specific to my field of study and career aspirations. Mentorship is a powerful tool for personal and professional development 

“Dare to dream big – with dedication, perseverance, and a positive attitude, you can accomplish more than you ever imagined. Your time at the University of Brighton is a crucial part of your journey, but it’s just the beginning of a path full of possibilities.” 

About the Brighton Effect 

The Brighton Effect is that ripple of energy that grows with you during your time at the University of Brighton, and throughout your life. Uniquely individual, you carry it with you through time, careers, passions, curiosities, travel, discoveries, teaching, and learnings.

Find out more. 

Aeronautical EngineeringAerospaceBrighton societiescareerinternationalinternational studentinternational student experienceSTEM Ambassadorstudent experiencestudent lifeThe Brighton EffectUniversity of Brighton

Clare Cornwell • June 7, 2024

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