Sport and Exercise Sciences international student at University of Leeds

Bilal Shabir

About your degree

Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I chose the University of Leeds as it is one of the best universities in the UK, the Sport and Exercise Science course was ranked highly, it had a wide diversity of different modules and the structure allowed me to specialise by taking modules in Biomechanics.

The university is also on a singular campus close to the city, the Edge gym facilities were very impressive and the staff were very helpful and made the application process easy.

What do you enjoy about your course?

The course was challenging and you learn many aspects of how athletes are trained to be highly competitive in global events. This also allowed me to improve my personal powerlifting performances as I gained knowledge in proper technique.

I enjoyed the practical lab sessions the most and I got the chance to use high-quality equipment to capture different types of data, such as in the biomechanics lab, we had access to state-of-the-art equipment ranging from high motion 3D cameras to force platforms.

What did you do for your third-year research project?

I have been weightlifting for years and have always been interested in understanding how different body parts play a role in the mechanics of the squat. This led to me doing my research project on how the mobility of the ankle affects the squat. The results suggested that ankle mobility has an impact on how deep you can squat. This was interesting as weightlifting competition requires you to squat below a certain depth.

About your career

What company are you working for, what is your role and what does it involve?

I am currently working as a Finance Specialist at Morrisons. My work involves analysing large scale finance transactional data and using different tools such as Python, Qlikview, SQL to create reports.

Have your career goals changed during your degree?

Yes they have! - When I graduated, my aim was to carry on working in the research field and work towards a PhD. I worked as a research assistant for the biomechanics department in a university and was thinking of pursuing a PhD in biomechanics. However, from my time at university and working in the research field, I found my passion with working with data

As a research assistant, I learnt how to use Python to automate the analysis of data and I realised I really enjoy working with data and automation. I joined Morrisons as a data analyst for the stock finance team where I helped improve their process of creating reports by using various tools - now, I am working as a finance specialist, specialising in data and reporting.

How do you think your degree has helped you in your current role?

Alongside my course I was able to take Discovery Modules in computing and coding, which first exposed me to Python and other coding languages, I would go on to use this more in my job as a research assistant.

My course also taught me a wide range of important skills such as data analysis, research and critical thinking skills. These skills can be used in almost every field of work which makes the degree very flexible when looking for a job. Through my degree, I was able to improve my technical and analytical skills from the different sport and exercise science modules which are important for the job I am currently doing.

What are your career ambitions for the future?

I see myself working with data and automation. I am open to working in different fields and I am also looking to strengthen my skills by doing a Masters in Data Science or Computer Science.