Our world is your world. Careers in land-based industries.

Desmond Connolly

My Harper Adams: Desmond’s memories of university

Why did you choose to study at Harper Adams?  

Harper has always had a good name in the Agricultural industry and I felt as though with this name on my CV many more doors in the professional agricultural engineering industry would open for me.

Did the degree make you more employable?   

The course’s main advantage for me is the 12-month placement where students are placed into a real professional environment with some of the world’s leading manufacturers.

Tell us about some of the projects you worked on. 

In our final year we had a group enterprise project whereby we were required to modify an autonomous lawnmower, implement new safety features and develop the navigation system to be able to provide a working demonstration at the end. This particular project not only introduced us to a new area of engineering which we were not familiar with but demonstrated how different people react in a team environment. With the stress of completing dissertations and other core final year projects on the go many of the group members acted much differently towards each other than previously in a social role -  this was important to experience as not only were we learning about the subject but we were unknowingly developing our people skills.

Other projects on the social side included working on the annual St Patrick’s Day ball with Harper Ireland. This experience was very important it helped me to learn about the importance of creating and managing a budget in a real life and large scale situation. Additionally I learned the challenges of attempting to organise and manage volunteers and the companies and people providing services on the night.

The teaching/staff support at Harper was …

Second to none I became personal friends with many of the staff at Harper Adams. They helped me throughout my time in university, growing and developing every aspect of my life. 

What are your favourite memories of Harper Adams? 

All of them! 

Would you recommend Harper Adams?  

It worked for me! Getting the right balance between your social life and studying is important and at Harper Adams you get to experience both. Also, I don’t know anyone from my graduating year that isn’t now in a successful job. 

Desmond’s placement year

Where did you spend your placement? 

I worked with CNH Industrial as a product support intern. This role involved providing support to dealers in the UK and Ireland primarily both through ASIST (the technical support system where information is shared and advice is given to dealers trying to resolve a technical concern in the field over the internet and phone). Additionally I visited many dealers in the UK, going out to help with major overhauls and to diagnose and resolve major technical concerns. Throughout my placement I was involved in a number of international projects which involved providing technical support to both dealers and manufacturing sites across the world. I was fortunate to visit many countries in this role including Austria, Brazil, Belgium, France and Portugal, to mention just a few.

What were the best things about placement? 

During my placement I was fortunate to work under one of the most professional managers I have ever come across: Mr David Rapkins the Territorial Manager for the UK and ROI at the time. David helped me to develop and drive my career path forward, allowing me opportunities to prove my capabilities that far exceeded my expectations and dreams prior to entering the company,  introducing me to and giving me the opportunity to prove myself in front of many very high up people within the corporation. 

Do you think placement enhanced your career prospects? 

Placement not only enhanced my opportunities, decorating my CV with achievements and experiences, but directly introduced me to my current manager, Mr John Mollaghan, who contacted me prior to graduation informing me that he had a position coming up in his department that he thought I should apply for. From my experience in the placement position and willingness to travel at short notice he felt that working in product support for the African, Middle East, Ukraine and Moldova product support would be just up my street.

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