Please tell us about yourself

Ishani Naik, did her Masters’ Degree with us and graduated with MSc (Research) in Aerodynamics and Aerostructures as an international student in 2014. She is currently working with Fluor, an EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) company as a piping stress engineer.

“With all the fascinating degrees in the world of aircrafts, I am now working for a completely different industry. This definitely makes my work a lot more interesting and challenging. At first glance, it may sound as if I am not doing anything relevant to what I studied at university but in contrast, I am doing exactly what engineers are supposed to do, application of knowledge and skills.

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How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?

“After completing my bachelors’ of engineering in aeronautics from Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Institute of Technology, India, I came to the UK in July 2012. Starting from day one in Sheffield University, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience in and outside of the Mappin Building. The resources, knowledge and expertise that I had an opportunity to gain were priceless. As I’m sure most students do, I always had doubts about the choices I was making. Starting from selecting the modules and research topic, nothing was straight forward. Throughout engineering I was always inclined towards the stress and structure side of aeronautics. After choosing my modules and applying for research topics, I started to work on my CV. With invaluable support of the Careers Service at university, I got my CV rolling for part time jobs. In my experience any type of work brings a lot of value for graduate jobs, especially if you lack in industry experience. I found an extremely flexible job for catering services, where I could decide the shifts I wanted to work. In the meantime, I started to apply for full time graduate jobs as most of the companies have extremely early deadlines. I was registered on every online job searching portal that I got to know about. I was practically applying for every profile that I was eligible for. I had no intentions of restricting my opportunities and at the same time I wasn’t looking for a job but a career. After innumerable rejections and an endless process of applications, I was called for an interview at Fluor for the position of Stress Engineer. Assessment day at Fluor was my second Interview. It consisted of an hour each of technical and personal interviews. I was made an offer a couple of weeks later, right before my final exams at university. The flexibility that application of engineering provides you is limitless!

How was the experience at Fluor?

“I joined Fluor with anxiety and excitement in September 2013. Three weeks were planned as an orientation programme for all the graduates. This gave me an opportunity to learn about how Fluor operates across the globe and various business lines and what was expected from me. After three weeks, I started to work on a world scale chemical project which was on the verge of completion. My first role was less technical and more administrative. This gave me enough time to learn about Fluor procedures and the way different departments integrate. After about six months, I moved to my next project. Throughout the journey, I have gained lots of soft skills and technical knowledge through training, literature and human interaction. I have always come across friendly and enthusiastic people, willing to answer every question! I have been involved in a number of corporate events organised on different themes; engineering week, construction week, HSE week and International week are a few to name. This helps in developing my skill sets that contribute to my career development. Still every day happens to be as exciting as day one.’

Tell us about your career path

“I am an Associate Member of IMechE (Institute of Mechanical Engineering) progressing towards the status of Chartered Engineer. IMechE offers a variety of paths to get chartered. I believe the most efficient path as a graduate is through the Monitored Professional Development Scheme (MPDS). Fluor is registered on MPDS which means they provide me with a mentor who makes sure I am progressing in the correct direction and guides me through as required. I am expected to write a quarterly annual report, review it with my mentor and submit it on the IMechE website.

“At the end of the recommended four year cycle, I should have ticked off all the competencies to fulfil the IMechE criteria. Once my mentor agrees that I have gained all the required competencies at the competitive level, I can apply for an interview. Once I survive through the interview I can be called “Chartered Engineer”. My supervisor and mentor are extremely supportive and flexible, they actively get me involved in a variety of tasks that can contribute to my set of skills and add value to the project and company. At times I struggle to keep on top of my reports with the challenges at work and life.

“The journey of learning, which I called exciting at Sheffield University, is turning into a roller coaster! The more I learn every day, the more I realise how little I know!

“I have ambitions in my career but not a highly structured plan! At the moment I want to focus all my energy on learning every possible thing, develop my skill set and contribute to the world of engineering in any way I can. All I know is, I am constantly looking for new opportunities to progress and not afraid to take any given chance.”