Advanced Materials Manufacturing — Kristinn Magnusson
Alumnus Story — Kristinn Magnusson
With a degree in mechanical engineering from Reykjavik University, Kristinn Magnusson found work as a mechanical engineer at Arctic Trucks, a company specializing in re-engineering vehicles for extreme environments. Much of his work involved design modifications for 4×4 vehicles, bringing together his knowledge of structural engineering and stress-strength analysis and his hands-on experience in fabrication.
By 2018 he felt the time was right for a return to school: professionally, he wanted to expand his skills and opportunities at Arctic Trucks, and on a personal level, he and his partner were interested in living abroad. The Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Advanced Materials Manufacturing stood out with its focus on composite materials.
“Although I wanted to learn about new advances in the area, I wasn’t interested in going as deep as you might with a classic engineering degree,” he says. “The MEL’s broader perspective and integration of business classes was the balance I was looking for.”
Expanding his knowledge of composites and digital manufacturing
Kristinn took advantage of the opportunity to learn about new composites and explore their use in manufacturing environments. “Our classes looked at how these materials behave and how we can use them in a wide range of applications. Several of our instructors were from industry, which gave us insight into some of the practicalities of industrial applications, additive manufacturing and computer modelling.”
He mentions the value of the Advanced Composite Materials class for highlighting the technical and business aspects that need to be considered in manufacturing environments. “Our instructor, Dr. Anoush Poursartip, really went into detail on how Boeing has integrated composites into their aircraft parts and looked at the implications of that from both a materials and business point of view.”
Broadening his understanding of business and strategy
Kristinn says the MEL’s business courses expanded his skill set and ultimately boosted his confidence to take on roles of greater responsibility. “Our Organizational Leadership class helped me understand why leaders behave as they do – and where they sometimes get it wrong. It got me thinking about leadership strategies that allow for more co-operation and collaboration.”
He also values the Strategy and Innovation course for providing insight into the planning and implementation needed to achieve broader business goals, as well as ways to integrate innovative thinking to add value to a company’s products and services.
A new entrepreneurial path
When Kristinn returned to Iceland after graduating in December 2019, he decided the time was right to start his own design and consulting company. In May 2020, he received a research grant to investigate electric vehicle conversions for specialized Islandic 4x4s.
“The MEL taught me to embrace entrepreneurship,” he says.
“The business courses gave me knowledge of many different areas fundamental to a successful operation – from strategy and marketing to accounting – so I’m now comfortable doing a little bit of everything while also recognizing those areas where I may need assistance.”
A new perspective
Kristinn says he and his girlfriend both loved living in Vancouver for a year. She also studied at UBC – pursuing a program in geomatics – and the two of them enjoyed the ease of getting around the city by bike and bus, as well as Vancouver’s proximity to mountains and the opportunities for skiing and climbing.
“The MEL is really good at broadening your perspective and giving you the ability to adapt to new roles,” he says. “I really believe that the MEL is the way of the future for engineers, rather than degrees that focus solely on engineering. It opens up your perspective in ways you can’t imagine and gives you the confidence to explore new opportunities.”
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Advanced Materials Manufacturing
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