From politics to piloting, Ronaldo Mupudzi's aerospace journey

Ronaldo Ngoni Mupudzi’s path to aerospace engineering was anything but conventional. While many of his peers went down the traditional physics and mathematics route, Ronaldo was delving into the world of Politics, AS Law, Economics, and Business Studies at A-level. However, his unique background did not deter him from pursuing his passion for aviation, starting our MEng Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies (Foundation Entry) course in 2019. 

Ronaldo's aerospace engineering career takes off

By his final year, Ronaldo had set his sights firmly on a career in aerospace engineering. His dedication and hard work paid off when he accepted a graduate Systems Engineer role with Thales, a global leader in aerospace technology.

He'll play a crucial role in the design, development, and management of complex systems. His responsibilities span multiple stages of the systems engineering lifecycle, from initial concept through to final implementation and support.

What's more, he'll likely progress into more senior roles with the backing of all the things he learnt whilst studying at UCLan. 

What he did at uni to get the job

Ronaldo's course is designed to make him highly employable, however, he took part in a series of additional impressive projects and leadership roles that really made him stand out. 

  • Project Manager for the Masters Group Project -  he led the development of a proof of concept for the Bladeless Advanced Aerial Vehicle.
  • Design Lead for the reverse engineering of a VTOL drone and managed a project focused on creating a renewable materials RC aircraft optimized for small space storage.
  • Co-founded the UCLan Aerospace Society in 2021.

Ronaldo's interest was with aircraft design and simulation, utilising tools like SolidWorks, ANSYS Fluent, and XFLR 5.

About Ronaldo's foundation year

Our foundation year gave Ronaldo the time to adjust to the academic challenges of aerospace engineering, and the lifestyle changes that come with moving away from home. 

"With the option of taking a foundation year, I knew I could delve deeper into my interest in aircraft while learning how to be a pilot"

Taking the foundation year meant an additional year at university, but proved to be a wise decision. He was able to explore the interconnectedness of aviation and aerospace, giving him a broad perspective that would shape his career ambitions.

At the start, Ronaldo felt like he was falling behind due to his social science background. But he gives credit to the incredible support from his teaching staff, who helped him to feel back on track. They helped him grow his confidence and technical knowledge in a way that suited him.

Why he chose the course

Ronaldo really liked the unique perspective combining aerospace engineering with pilot studies provided. He felt it was similar to that of the relationship between an architect and civil engineer. Initially leaning towards a career as a pilot, Ronaldo’s passion began to shift towards aerospace engineering as he progressed through his studies. He was able to develop his interest in aircraft design and simulation, utilising tools like SolidWorks, ANSYS Fluent, and XFLR 5.

"A systems engineer must see the bigger picture, communicate effectively across disciplines, and create solutions for problems. This fits my personality perfectly."

Ronaldo Ngoni Mupudzi, MEng Aerospace Engineering with Pilot Studies (Foundation Entry) graduate
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Here are some pics of other students using the engineering facilities01 / 04

A student using one of the flight simulators
A student using one of the flight simulators

Final thoughts from Ronaldo

Thinking on his journey, Ronaldo reflects on the importance of being himself and working hard. He says "You want to look back at your course and be proud of what you have achieved—I know I am."