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The Statement of Study: My Interest in Chemical Engineering

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My passion in life has always been to challenge the conventional designs and processes and develop innovative and creative solutions focusing on improving process efficiency, automation and product quality. My interest in process control and optimization dates back to my first detailed discussion with a chemical engineer at sugar manufacturing industry during a high school science trip. Who introduced me to modern advancements in chemical industries and innovative advance process controls. My interest deepened in process optimization and advance process control when he showed us around the industry and educated us about the innovations, automations and future prospects in chemical engineering. Since then, I have had my mind set on a career that will not only enable me to work at process modeling and design, but also develop advance control mechanisms for processes.

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In high school I took chemistry, math and physics as major subjects. I particularly developed deep interest in math and industrial chemistry in high school. Which persuaded me to build career in Chemical Engineering. I completed my high school education with 87% marks and was awarded for scoring 2nd position in engineering discipline. Competing with 40,000 students I was one of 1600 students who were given admission in bachelor programs of Pakistan’s one of the best engineering universities “University of Engineering and Technology Lahore”. During my bachelor’s studies, I strengthened my chemical engineering basic skills in heat transfer, mass transfer, fluid flow, reaction engineering, advanced math, reactor design, plant design and thermodynamics. I particularly developed deep interest in plant design and process dynamics and control. During my summer internship in process engineering department of Fauji Fertilizer Bin Qasim Limited (FFBL), I was introduced to Ammonia Plant Distributed Control System (DCS), marshaling / controller cabinets, industrial instrumentation and programmable logic controls (PLCs). There I learned how operators use DCS for stabilizing the plant process conditions. This prompted my choosing computer aid program (CAD) as major subject in final semester. CAD enabled me to use Aspen Plus, Aspen HYSYS and MATLAB for process modeling and optimization calculations. I used my chemical engineering theoretical knowledge, engineering softwares and internships practical experience to design reactor and furnace for converting used tires to furnace oil in my final year project assignment. Furthermore, I learned to use HYSYS and Apen Plus for process simulation, optimization and data validation. With the knowledge of mathematical modeling, plant design and process design and control, I now have a better understanding of the underlying principles used in advance process controls and optimization. My dedicated academic efforts paid off and I graduated with distinction and honor’s degree in chemical engineering.

Hands on experience of HYSYS, programming and industrial DCS system enabled me to carryout simulation, equipments performance monitoring studies and process optimization in world’s 2nd largest ammonia-urea complex in Engro Fertilizers Limited. I was hired as production engineer in Engro Fertilizers Limited for urea and utilities plant monitoring, troubleshooting, problem solving and optimization. During my four years career at Engro, I operated compressors, pumps, reactors, instrumentation, electrical motors and other industrial equipments with DCS / PLC systems to maintain optimum reaction, decomposition, stripping, distillation and purification conditions and obtain required product quality with minimum steam or ammonia losses. I also conducted troubleshooting of process variations and compiled technical reports of underlying issues using modern root cause analysis techniques of fault tree analysis, 5 why, 5 M, HAZOP, DMAIC, pareto analysis and fish bone analysis. I utilized my technical knowledge of chemical engineering and EXXON design standards to conduct feasibility studies of process improvement ideas and design heat exchangers, pumps, control valves and piping to transform these ideas into reality with intent to reduce production cost, plant emissions and improve process efficiency. To make my projects safer for society and operators I used HAZOP, What If, prestart up safety reviews and failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) to evaluate process hazards and implement optimum layers of protection. Furthermore, I researched case studies and research papers on new advancements in chemical industries and implemented process improvements to automate urea and utilities plant processes. Recently I designed process to automate urea reactor weep holes flushing system to improve reliability and mechanical integrity of reactor lining. Due to my excellent grip on finance, I was assigned as unit budget coordinator to manage 200 M PKR urea and utilities plant budget and manage investment projects for process reliability, safety and efficiency improvement. Acknowledging my proactive and continuous improvement initiatives, I was trained on tools and concepts of lean six sigma and was given the role of unit six sigma coordinator to drive product cost reduction program. Following my passion for optimization and process control, I started multiple process optimization projects for product cost reduction. Which included urea plant process optimization, acid/caustic saving in anion/cation exchanger regeneration process and DCS alarm management studies.

Despite my busy schedules in university and professional life I volunteered for social and community development. In university, I worked with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to arrange social awareness programs about endangered animal species in Pakistan and took green earth initiatives to reduce use of plastic bags. In addition I participated in street art competition arranged by Message Welfare Trust to discourage graffiti and wall chalking. I continued my volunteering activities in my professional life and actively participated in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives taken by Engro to educate Sindhi underprivileged children and collecting charity for needy families. Volunteering has improved my ability to plan, prioritize and execute complex assignments with ease and I strongly believe that in the importance of being well-rounded, and these extra-curricular activities enabled me to develop into a skilled communicator with advanced leadership and interpersonal skills, all of which will prove tremendously useful in your graduate program. I plan to join AIESEC McMaster and mac productions at McMasters to make my contribution in social and community development.

While assignments in my professional career made me appreciate the level of imagination and problem-solving abilities required in process industry, it also triggered questions in my mind such as: How best can I optimize chemical process and manage the associated risks in my design? My lack of answers has increased the desire for an advanced knowledge of the subject and this has led to my choice of Process Systems engineering as a course of graduate study.

Being a leading institution and pioneer in the field of process systems engineering, McMaster University not only provides the environment that allows for advanced learning and innovative thinking but also has the academic staff to inspire excellence and confidence in the students. I find the research in process systems engineering at McMaster University to be eminently compatible with my interests. I observe that many research being undertaken, include study of process monitoring, design, optimization, simulation, a perfect confluence of my areas of interests. I would cherish to engage in research to develop process control systems and optimization tools for process industries. I am particularly interested to work with Dr. Viladimir Mahalec, Dr. Christopher Swartz, Dr. Jake Nease and Dr. Kamil Khan for their research in process design, optimization and control.

There are countless opportunities in the field of Chemical Engineering, and standing in the middle of it, one cannot see its edges. After completing my master’s degree, I expect to work in industries or consulting companies, where I can use my process engineering, design, optimization and control skills for continuous process improvement, reduce losses, improve energy index and control process effluents / emissions using environment friendly designs. Given an opportunity to pursue graduate studies at McMaster University, I am confident that I will contribute substantially to the ongoing research.

I am convinced that I am a worthy candidate for your program. I received a BSc degree for my undergraduate program and have four years of experience of process design, simulation and optimization. This combination of theoretical and practical engineering background may give me important advantages over other applicants. I also have the experience of working as tutor and teaching assistant. This may enable me to contribute to your program through my teaching assistantship. Last but not least, I have evolved a strong ability to perform independent research. Together with my sound academic foundation, my proactive approach to problem solving, excellent time management and self-management skills will make me successful in your program. With a keen interest in process system engineering and a lot more than a strong drive to succeed, I hope this statement demonstrates that I am a strong candidate for admission to McMaster University graduate school. Studying in your Master of Chemical Engineering program will give me a unique range of experience and expertise, and this will in turn give me a tremendous advantage in my career.

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I look forward to the opportunity to develop myself as a creative process engineer. I appreciate your time and consideration for reviewing my application.

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