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PhD Success Story - Mechanical Engineering

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Professional Experience:

  1. 1 year at Lalpir Thermal Power plant as a Trainee Engineer (Operations)

  2. Six months at Catalonia Institute of Energy Research in Barcelona , Spain

  3. Six  months as and R & D Engineer at XYZ company, Lahore


  1. B.Sc. Mechanical Engineering from University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore (CGPA: 3.71)

  2. M.Sc. Renewable Energy at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden and Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) in Barcelona, Spain

  3. TOEFL: 110/120, GRE: 313/340 (AWA: 4)

After finishing my Bachelor`s in 2013, I worked for a year at a Thermal Power plant in South Punjab. I then went on to do an InnoEnergy Master`s; the scholarship was provided by the EIT (European Institute of Innovation and Technology). Near the end of my program, which was around March 2016, I started searching for jobs and PhDs, mainly in Europe. This was because I had spent a considerable time in the continent, had very friends there and was used to the working environment and culture. Unfortunately, I could not get anything and had to return to Pakistan on 5th October 2016, two days after defending my Master Thesis (Spain does not give any job seeking visa after studies like Germany, Netherlands and Sweden do for example).

I started working in a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) company in Lahore and kept on looking for more opportunities. It was around December 2016 when I joined the Scholar Den page and managed to learn by interacting with seniors and mentors that getting into the USA for higher studies was not as tough as I thought!

Since for a PhD, it was advisable to always contact a potential supervisor, I started doing so by first short listing several universities based on my profile.  I managed to email around 10-12 professors with whom my research interests and previous MSc work aligned. Out of the 12, only 3 replied, two saying that they don’t have available vacancies this term while the 3rd guy expressed an interest in my profile and strongly encouraged me to apply.

I thus applied on 28th February 2017; my main effort was to make my Statement of Purpose (SOP) excellent since although I had a very good CGPA in Bachelors, my GRE score and grades in Master`s were not very outstanding. I gave a skype interview on 4th March and received an offer letter on 8th March!

My advice to all juniors is that always email professors whose interests align with you. As far as I am concerned, I had a PhD offer at City University in Hong Kong and a PDEng offer in Technical University of Eindhoven (TU/E) in Netherlands, and so I just applied to one university in USA. However, it is advised to always apply to around 5-6 to increase your chances of admission