Ruthu Prem Kumar

Ruthu explains how the BSc in Physics with Music paved the way to a career in sound and acoustics.

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 Ruthu Prem Kumar

Why did you decide to study physics and astronomy at the University of Edinburgh?

I was always interested in physics and maths when I was young, and I also picked up music around the age of 12. Edinburgh was not only on of the top universities in the world, but also one of the few that had a BSc degree in Physics and Music at the time, which was what I wanted to study.  It was a fairly easy choice for me to make. I was mainly driven by the specific degree and the flexibility in the course choice.

How did you get where you are?

I graduated in 2021 and then moved to London where I worked for two years as an Acoustic Engineer at a company called Sandy Brown.

I was working with architects and consultants to design acoustic spaces in buildings. These could be office spaces, residential buildings or concert halls and studios. We designed the acoustics related to the environment, including sound insulation between rooms. I would take measurements, do site inspections and a lot of calculations in terms of what was required for each room! I really enjoyed this experience and it was very much in line with what I my expertise and what I studied at university.

I have now relocated to Barcelona and recently started a Masters in Sound and Music Computing. I had actually applied for this Masters two years ago, when I was still an undergraduate student. Although I received an offer to start the programme, I decided to accept the job in London. I believe that two years was a period of time to gather a reasonable amount of work experience and understanding of the industry. I now feel ready to return to education and pursue the Masters. The programme focuses on machine learning for audio applications and I am excited to have the opportunity to expand my knowledge in this field.

What did you gain from your time at the University? Were there are any experiences which particularly help to prepare you for life after graduation.

The academic knowledge and transferable skills I acquired through my degree was invaluable, and this is what I used in my day-to-day job in London.

While I was a student I worked as a Resident Assistance for three year and a Student Ambassador for almost two. These work experiences developed my oral and written communication, and the ability to work as part of a team. This was a very useful set of skills to have when I started my job in London.

A special mention goes to the Careers Service. At the end of my degree, once I received the job offer from London and an offer to start the Masters in Barcelona, I was very confused and not sure what to do. Susan Bird, the Careers Consultant for the School of Physics and Astronomy, helped me gauging the pros and cons, and thanks to Susan’s advice and guidance, I was able to make my decision and take the job in London.

Do you have any favourite memory of your time in Edinburgh?

I enjoyed my third year the most. I was spending most of my time in King's Buildings and JCMB. I was working on fun physics projects with my classmates and one of the highlights was going to the wrap bar every day for lunch! In second year, I was involved in the organisation of the Physics and Astronomy Ball, which was a great event.

What do you wish you had known as a student?

I wish I had gotten involved in a lot more societies in my first and second year. The degree workload in the first two years is lighter, and this is the perfect time to get involved with what the University has to offer.