Jhonny Gonzalez

When I first came into the School I thought, ‘wow, what an amazing building!’ The same feeling of excitement remained when I got to know my lecturers. 

 

How did you decide on your course choice? What appealed about Manchester?

Coming from a pure maths background, I wanted to work in an applied field where the latest research on mathematical analysis could be combined with the latest techniques in computer science and numerical analysis.

Math finance is the right area where I can do this, and it is also an exciting subject that gives me the opportunity to tell people what mathematicians can do for the real world.

Manchester has a long history in applied maths. Great mathematicians have worked at Manchester and there are still excellent researchers developing their ideas here. This makes me think that Manchester is the right place for me to do maths and meet people from whom I can learn valuable lessons.

What were your first impressions of the University and the city?

When I first came into the School I thought 'wow, what an amazing building!' The same feeling of excitement remained when I got to know my lecturers. The University has very good teaching facilities, computer clusters and libraries, which provide a suitable environment for quiet studying but also for group meetings. Additionally, the University is close to the city centre, which is really convenient, as most bus routes, restaurants and shops are within walking distance from the School.

I found Manchester to be rather a multicultural city, which I did not realise before coming here. This has been a great experience for me, I have met people from all over the world and have got a feeling for so many cultures which I thought impossible to do in a single city. In Manchester you can always find what you are looking for, whether it is food, music, sport or volunteering opportunities. I think that the environment here at Manchester is right for both studying and having a social life.

What are you most enjoying about your course?

During my first PhD year I had the opportunity to travel to several research conferences and courses around the UK, to places including Cambridge, Warwick, Glasgow and Durham. These trips have given me not only the chance to meet academics from different institutions and countries, but also the time to share my work and receive feedback. I think this is the most exciting part of my course, to know that I am part of a live community working on new ideas that may change the future of maths and industry.

What skills and attributes do you think you have gained from your course and co-curricular activities so far?

I am just starting the second year of my PhD and I feel I have learnt a lot from my course. The lectures I have taken here have helped me to see how the theory that was abstract before finds a context in real world applications. This has been fostered by using different programming languages to implement the models we work with. Moreover, the daily exercise of finding and solving problems has advanced my problem solving skills and the range of tools I use to tackle them.

Besides my research I have also been involved in different activities. For example, I am in the SIAM student chapter committee and during term time I am a demonstrator for undergraduate courses. During my first year I had the opportunity to give a number of video lectures for people working in industry, which was both exciting and challenging. These co-curricular activities have helped me to enhance not only my time management, communication and team work skills but also to gain presentational skills.

How do you think you are benefitting from studying at Manchester?

The University of Manchester has a world-class reputation for teaching and research, and I am really glad to have it as part of my education on my CV. As an international student, the experience I am having here will be invaluable for my future career. The University and the city have so much to offer, and I feel really pleased that by taking these opportunities I have grown both as a person and professionally.

What advice would you give to students considering applying for the same course that you took?

Although the first priority in a PhD must be to work on the research topic one feels passionate about, it is also important to engage in activities that may enhance your skills. So, my advice would be to join societies or take demonstrating opportunities. This extra work will make the PhD a memorable experience.

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