David Musgrove, Class of 2007
Dave Musgrove graduated from the School in 2007 with a Bachelor of Materials Science and Engineering, majoring in Materials Engineering. He is now working as a Product Manager/Engineer for Cell Bikes.
Why did you choose to do a Materials Science degree?
I enjoyed science subjects at school but enjoyed the concept of the practicality of engineering. I have always had a keen interest in bicycles and wanted to understand the science behind the various materials used in their frames and components. I assumed it would be interesting, and I was right!
What was your experience being a Materials Science student?
Life at UNSW was great. I formed a great group of close friends and the lecturers were very involved and helpful with our learning. We had a lot of fun. Being next door to the Roundhouse meant we could maximise our beer and bingo time between lectures - this is important.
Where are you working now and what is your role?
I work for a Sydney based company called Cell Bikes. I am the guy that looks after everything to do with our own brand of bikes.
What does your current role involve?
Cell Bikes has both online and bricks and mortar retail, where we sell parts, accessories and clothing along with our own brand of bikes. My role is to take care of everything to do with these bikes. I do a wide range of tasks from designing the frames and specifying the parts through to the forecasting, graphics and bike marketing. I often travel to Taiwan and China to meet with our various factories where I finalise designs and check quality control for samples and production runs. When I'm in Taiwan I also get the opportunity to ride most days and explore the Taiwanese mountains on one of the bikes I designed.
After graduating, how did your career path evolve?
I actually struggled to find a job using my degree. I focused on composite materials in my major and for my thesis, and found there weren't many opportunities in this area for a fresh graduate. While I was studying I worked part time in retail bike shops so I kept this up and also travelled to Canada. I travelled to Taiwan to learn more about the bike industry over there and applied for a couple of jobs, but at that stage in my life I wasn't prepared to relocate. When back in Sydney one of the retail stores I worked for wanted to restart an old bike brand they had in the 80's and early 90's, so I had the opportunity to work on that for a year, which allowed me to travel to Taiwan again and further understand the other side of the bike industry. That brand didn't eventuate so I moved on to Cell Bikes.
Cell Bikes was initially sourcing open model bikes mainly from China, and they lacked some important finer details of design and overall quality brand image. I had to sell my abilities to essentially create a role for myself and at the same time offer a potential repositioning for the brand. My Materials Science and Engineering degree was a vital back-up for my credibility of being able to carry out what I claimed I could. Eighteen months down the track and our bikes are now outperforming many big international brands in reviews from well respected bicycle media.
Do you have any advice for school leavers considering studying Materials Science at UNSW Australia?
Ask yourself, what JOB do I want to do after my degree? Then find out from potential future employers exactly what you should be studying to set yourself up for it. If Materials Science is the key, then go for it. Remember there are combined degree options too, which can make you even more prepared for a specific job and more attractive to potential employers. Then, throughout your degree, search out any opportunities for industrial training so that you can gain experience. It's hard to get work as a graduate without real work experience.