ENSTA Bretagne : véhicule militaire

Richard, military (IETA) engineer specialized in Vehicle Architecture

16 September 2020
Richard has just finished his armament research and technology (IETA) studies at ENSTA Bretagne. He specialized in the field of Vehicle Architecture. He was heavily involved in the school’s association scene during his studies. He looks back at those years with us.
Richard, military (IETA) engineer specialized in Vehicle Architecture

What was your experience before coming to ENSTA Bretagne and why did you choose this school ?

After I got my Baccalauréat in Sciences (equivalent to a High School Certificate), I did preparation studies for the competitive entrance exams to graduate engineering schools in MPSI then MP (Higher Maths, Physics and Engineering Sciences and then Advanced Maths and Physics) with an extra year for retakes.

I chose ENSTA Bretagne because of the range of courses on offer, especially in Mechanics.

Before joining the ranks at ENSTA Bretagne, thanks to my IETA (military) status, I was lucky enough to carry out year 0* with the Paris Fire Brigade, which was a great experience.

How did you choose which specialization you wanted ?

Very simply, I just eliminated everything that I did not like by choosing from the subjects that I liked : Mechanics in general and more specifically Vehicle Architecture.

What were the strong points of your VA (Vehicle Architecture) specialization ?

On one hand, the strengths were the knowledge acquired that corresponded to industrial applications. For both the theoretical contents and hands-on applications, the training delivered by ENSTA Bretagne conforms to the expectations of industry. On the other hand, the international experience :

the possibility to go abroad during our studies gives a professional, cultural and linguistic gloss to our training. It adds to our skills and also enables us to travel!

Où Where did you do your international period?

I went to Argentina for 3 months for my end of second year internship. I analyzed the unloading of a grain silo. In fact, cereal production in Argentina is booming. This progression raises questions concerning the unloading of the silos which is a complex phenomenon and entails a lot of parameters and research in university laboratories. That enabled me to do an apprenticeship in a field that I did not know. It was also a great eye-opener on another country and different cultural approach to work and daily life. 

Were you involved in the school’s clubs ?

Au cours de mes année d’études, je me suis investi dans diverses associations :

During my years of study, I was involved in various clubs :

  • I was president of the sports association (SA) for the 2018/2019 academic year. On top of that, I was the president of the men’s handball team.
  • I was part of the PomPom&PimPim.
  • I took part in musical performances and various shows for ENSTA Bretagne’s graduation Gala.

All in all, that enabled me to get to know different students. Then, more professionally speaking, being president of the SA enabled me to learn how to manage a budget and a schedule which put people from within the school in touch with those outside as well as the events such as the TSGED (French Graduate Defense Schools’ Sports Tournament).

So you become aware that organizing events is a meticulous business where attention to detail is required.

What was the subject of your final year internship ?

My final year project was on validating structures of industrial assemblies.. I was part of the calculations and measurements service of the UNAC company, in Vergèze, Le Gard. Every day, we ran digital calculations and set up live tests to validate the design and use of machines produced by the company. The machines I worked on were road and rail diggers or brush-cutters. The equipment was for public works that could move along both roads and railroad lines. My work enabled me to cover different and original themes such as analyzing cracks by measuring the internal residual stress in certain parts.
Moreover, I did mechanical design in conjunction with analytical checks which are essential to size new parts correctly.To that I could add an entire test campaign on a machine, starting by writing the protocol, installing our sensors, right through to finishing by an analysis of the results. Finally, I set up a welding analysis protocol, with two main aims: to provide a document that certified the quality of the welds carried out in the workshop, and to apply it immediately to new configurations when assembling the parts.

All of my final year project taught me a lot in terms of the industrial environment and really pushed me over the divide from student to employee.

In a few months, I was able to comprehend the work of an engineer and also appreciate the importance of relations between the different trades and their interplay in the successful completion of tasks..

What are your plans for the future ?

I have been assigned to the DGA’s (French Procurement and Technology Agency) Terrestrial Technology Center – Mobility Division as officer in charge of mobility. This job covers many areas but mainly the setting up of test protocols, following those tests and analyzing the results. The relational aspect is strong as good relations with the teams are essential for successful campaigns. I could also add the most transversal task which is establishing the trades reference framework – the work protocols associated with the different types of trades.

Un mot pour les étudiants qui passeront prochainement les concours ?

You really need to learn as much as you can from your lessons in the preparatory classes and fight to be well prepared for the exams. Take your time when reading up about the schools, and concentrate on the options on offer and the range of clubs you can join covering sports, technology, cultural and even artistic clubs.