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Alumnus Abdel shares his journey as an M.Sc. MME-CAME student

Abdelrahman Abdalla (short: Abdel) is an alumnus from Egypt and participated in our M.Sc. Management and Engineering in Computer Aided Mechanical Engineering. In his exciting testimonial, we learn more about Abdel's story, from his unexpected setback with his visa application to his acceptance into our master's program, and how he overcame the challenges of online learning in the midst of the global pandemic.

Watch our interview with Abdel

Check out the interview with our alumnus and get all his first-hand insights in detail. In this video, he shares why he studied MME-CAME, his opinion on the benefits of the program, and some advice he can give to future students.

Thank you so much Abdel, for taking the time to share your experiences!

Language & Subtitles: English

After completing his M.Sc. MME-CAME program, Abdel is now working as a research assistant at the Teaching and Research Area Mechatronics in Mobile Propulsion at RWTH Aachen University. Johanna Uciechowski, student advisor of our Intake Team, met Abdel in our office building and talked with him about his career path.

Tell us about the beginning of your journey to our M. Sc. MME-CAME program

I applied for the MME-CAME program and got accepted for the Intake 2019. Unfortunately, I did not receive the VISA on time (It took the German embassy in Egypt more than 5 months to reply). 3 days after the end of the enrolment, I finally received my VISA, but due to the extended deadline I was not able to enroll myself on time. Instead of waiting in Egypt, I decided to go to Germany, study the German language and re-apply again. During this time, I improved my German skills up to a level of C1 and took my GRE test in Belgium.

Shortly after, I re-applied for the Intake 2020 and got accepted once again for the MME-CAME, specialized on the track of modelling and simulation. I could finally start my studies in October 2020. Since this was the start of Covid, all the lecturers took place online. My classmates and I created a WhatsApp group and were able to meet in person in Aachen!


How was the start of your studies? Were there any particular challenges that you had to overcome?

The start of my studies was a little overwhelming because you must get used to the registration system, the RWTH Aachen standards and all the new subjects. Most of the subjects were theoretically based, which requires a lot of studying.

In the first semester I took the course ‘CIE’= Computational Intelligence in Engineering. This was my first project-based subject; hence it was very new for me! The subject required 2 projects instead of taking an exam and every student had to present their projects afterwards. The content of the project mainly focused on how to apply deep learning and how to solve tasks with high accuracy. Honestly, the project was a bit challenging since I did not have any previous knowledge in this field.

At the end of the course, I was able to finish the project with a result of 1.3. More importantly, I realized that I wanted to focus my interest on this field and specialize on it – which was a huge first awareness for my future.

How did you like the combination of technical subjects and management courses in the upcoming semesters?

In the following semester I took courses like IMES = Intelligent monitoring of engineering systems, where I also finished a project which was focused on applying neural networks to predict the material of a machine process.

Through the third semester I had to do 5 courses in the field of management, such as: ASE (Advanced software engineering) and ACS (Advanced control systems). I skipped the ACS, since I regularly had to finish it in the first semester. I was able to focus and finish 7 subjects in the first and 5 subjects in the second semester. Honestly, ACS was one of the most challenging subjects and contained lecturers, a lot of exercises and projects. I was able to pass it, but it was a lot of work.

I really enjoyed adapting the new knowledge of the management courses. They made me understand how to use my engineering knowledge in a managerial position.

So, when exactly did your master's thesis start?

I finished all my subjects by the 3rd Semester and started to search for a topic for my master thesis. I decided to write my master thesis in the field of artificial intelligence/deep learning. After a lot of preparation and research, I started my thesis in the beginning of the 5th semester. The subject was named "Deep Reinforcement Learning Approach for Power Systems Robustness Against Adversarial Attacks".

You worked as a student assistant at one of the RWTH institutes during your studies – how did this experience help you?

Throughout my studies, I worked as a HiWi (Student assistant) at the Chair of Thermodynamics of mobile energy conversion systems at RWTH Aachen.  The work contained a lot of theoretical research, as well as practical simulations for hydrogen combustion engines. This work helped me to find out what fields I would like to focus on and how to interact in a German work culture.

Before finishing my thesis, I applied for a job as a Research Associate at RWTH at the Teach and Research Area of Mechatronics in Mobile Propulsion. Just before finishing my thesis, I received the job confirmation and started working there recently.

Congratulations Abdel for this great career path! We wish you all the best for the future.

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