Federico Rovera

“Getting a Master’s Degree was an option but never a matter of life and death. The Professional track – not only for undecided students – does not stop anyone from continuing to study. It’s never too late.”

Nome: Federico Rovera

Provenienza: Arcisate (VA)

Studi: Mechanical Engineering

Why did you decide to study mechanical engineering at Politecnico di Milano?

I describe myself as a very rational person, the kind people would call “rigid”. Add my great passion for technology, mechanics, and auto racing, and there you have the reason why I chose Mechanical Engineering. Sure, my interests were the drive of my choice, but so is the fact I studied science during secondary school. I am very glad of what I’ve accomplished. I had the chance to indulge lifelong passions and discover new ones, such as calculus – even though I am more of a practical person – and machine design. 

It looks like you had a pretty clear idea of what to study… Was it the same when choosing the Professional Track?

To be honest, not really. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to specialise in “Machine Design” or in “Engines and Turbomachinery”. Given my passion for auto racing, the latest sounded like the obvious one. But attending courses like Thermodynamics and Manufacturing Technologies was inspiring, not only because of their practical part. When making the decision, I decided I wasn’t ready specialise yet: choosing the Engines and Turbomachinery track would have meant precisely the opposite. I’m still not sure about my future, so I went for the less specific option. 

It seems like your interests evolved over the years… Was it the same for the choice of your Master’s Degree?

I never excluded the possibility of getting a Master’s Degree, though Mechanical Engineering has never been my only option. The Professional Track – not only for undecided students – doesn’t stop anyone from continuing to study. You can always change your mind, and it will never be too late. Meanwhile, the compulsory internship makes your curriculum more practical, other than being a chance to enter the labour market. I liked my track very much because its features in a way meet my thoughts and personality. However, no matter how happy I am with my path, sooner than later, I realised I still have a lot to learn. For me, stopping today after only my Bachelor’s Degree is definitely not enough. Even though I might go in a slightly different direction compared to what a standard mechanical engineer is. 

Did your internship influence in any way your decision?

I believe it did. Going from theory to hand-on cases was great, but I feel like I am not done. The internship was a blast and, for many reasons, I think I’ve been lucky too. Firstly, because I could physically reach my workplace, even with all the restrictions in place – still not guaranteed in the middle of a pandemic. Secondly, because I joined a team that was in charge of the design. The engineering department in which I worked, involving six people with different specialisations, was already working on the development of a device for the pharmaceutical industry to produce drugs. Together with my company tutor, I worked on the fluid dynamics of the device. This experience thought me a lot, considering I’ve learned to use new software, apply concepts to a real study-case, and carry out an analysis staying within the parameters established by the supplier and the market. The only difficulty was to find a way to present the results of my work in my internship report because I was dealing with sensible data. My tutors suggested me to insert graphs without numbers and use generic percentage variations to show my work and the results of the case study. Overall, I am happy about the whole experience, but I’m more and more convinced I still have a long way to go.  

Speaking of difficulties, what has been your greatest challenge so far?

I think it was to learn how to study again since University lectures are nothing like the lessons you attend in secondary school. It is crystal clear how teachers were right when always repeating: “Look, if you study, you do it for yourself!”. Maybe it’s worth listening to them because practice and hard-work make it easier to go from school to University and the entire process to adapt to a new studying method. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not easy at all! Still, a solid background and being surrounded by other students open to confrontation is necessary to succeed and start this new experience on the right foot. 

Where do you see yourself in the future?

What a difficult question. Who I want to be when I grow up, I didn’t know as a kid, and sure I don’t know it now. But, I think I’m going to be a machine designer. I still have no clue how and what, but I hope to find a way to combine mechanics with more current challenges like sustainability and energy storage.

 Find out more about the Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.