Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Profile

Leonardo Ortiz

Country: Mexico

Name: Leonardo Ortiz

Company: CH2M/Halcrow

Position: Transport Modeller/Economist

ITS Course: MA Transport Economics, 2014

I currently work as a transport modeller in the United Arab Emirates where I provide support to the Dubai Team, which mainly develops Traffic Impact Studies in the MENA Region. Additionally, due to my personal and professional background, I provide support to the LATAM offices, particularly to deliver Traffic and Revenue Forecast studies on PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) projects. 

Studying at ITS provided me with a global perspective on transport solutions/studies, particularly through meeting people from many different national and professional backgrounds. That, encouraged me to stop thinking in traditional solutions and try to think-out-of-the-box when I have to provide alternative solutions to our clients. Also, studying at ITS helped me to build a network platform that has allowed me, first, to become part of a multinational company, and second, to go international (beyond my “natural” cultural and geographic borders) and work in countries with completely different cultures. I guess, what I am trying to say here is that ITS’s reputation, allowed me to connect with people that has helped to develop my career. 

I chose my ITS course and the University of Leeds because of ITS’s reputation and their teaching staff. As simple as that. Maybe the fact that is a 1-year programme helped a bit too. 

My advice to students interested in this course and a career in transport is that ITS will certainly give you most of the tools you might need to develop your own studies but it is really up to you if you use them or not, and to what extent. In terms of a career in transport, well, if you like the field, go for it. Demand for our services is always high and there are job opportunities mostly everywhere. 

I took part in the ITS employers visits and would recommend them specifically to students looking for jobs in the UK. I received help and advice from the school and university when it came to finding and applying for jobs. I also got help to prepare my Cover Letter and update my CV. 

I am currently coordinating the Transport Planning team for Latin America as the Senior Transport modeller in the region while, simultaneously, I work in the Dubai team developing projects in the MENA Region. So, I guess I am fortunately in the very best moment so far of my career. I have to say that doing my MA dissertation under the supervision of Prof Stephane Hess, and then obtaining my MA with distinction, was a massive goal achievement for me personally. 

My advice to ITS international students who are seeking work in the transport sector is do not be afraid of going abroad to places far from home. It is worthy. There are plenty of opportunities out there in quite remote places and my advice is to take these opportunities. International experience matters a lot for employers. If you can prove you have done it once, then employers think you can do it twice or more, go for international opportunities.