One of the key highlights of the Career Pathbreaker series is to cover stories of professionals whose work impacts our daily lives. Today we talk to our next Pathbreaker, Mayank Dwivedi, Crash Safety Engineer, whose work represents the contribution of several professionals developing new vehicles with State of the Art safety technologies to make the world a safer place. We thank Mayank for his time. Read on to know more about Mayank’s work in Occupant Safety and what inspires him to do better everyday!

Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal speaks to Mayank Dwivedi, Crash Engineer at Renault-Nissan Alliance regarding his career.

Mayank, Why dont you tell us about yourself?

Sure ! I was born and brought up in a small town, Gursahaiganj (Kannauj) , Uttar Pradesh. I did my Senior Secondary education from Vidhya Bhawan Inter College, Kanpur.  I enjoy playing Badminton and the Guitar. I have also done skits. I love exploring new places. 

My  father is an LLB graduate and mother is a housewife. My parents helped and encouraged me to pursue my dream of a good education and a challenging job. I was even encouraged by my elder brother, he used to tell me,  ” please do things which i couldn’t do” .

What did you study?

I did my BTech in Mechanical Engineering from U.P. Technical University, Lucknow and Masters in Automotive Engineering from Collaborative Program of Automotive Research Association of India, Pune (ARAI) and College of Engineering, Pune. 

Tell us, how did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and fascinating career?

When I was a kid, I used to play with small miniature cars. Since then, I have had this thought in my mind that one day I will design my own car. When I moved to college, I met a group of seniors who took their self-designed all-terrain vehicle to Alabama ,U.S , representing India over there . This made me think about the world where I could use my education and interest and design my own car . 

I got selected as a designer in the college team for SAE BAJA (a student designing competition) in my first year of BTech. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your role in the SAE BAJA competition?

SAE BAJA is a platform where students can showcase their talents by participating in competitions which mainly focus on developing their own vehicle (Formula Category race car, BAJA Buggy an all-Terrain Vehicle) organized at National and International Level. SAE BAJA helps students apply their academic knowledge and imagination to shape their ideas into reality. The event focuses on designing and fabrication of vehicle which should comply with certain set of rules defined by the organizing committee, like dimensions and other safety parameters. My college participated in this event and I was given the  role of designer. I started designing the vehicle from scratch and came out with safe and compliant design. Vehicles have many subsystems, so modelling and assembling different sub systems was also part of my role. After designing and assembly I also did analysis based on real life collision considerations, and made sure my vehicle was safe for use.

Did you do any internships?

My first internship was at TATA Motors Pvt Ltd, Lucknow. In the BTech curriculum, it is mandatory to have industrial exposure during summer vacations. So I took this opportunity to witness the production system of one of the biggest automakers, TATA Motors. There I was exposed to assembly line of LPT1618, its a tripper truck. I understood how to plan fitment, assembly of subsystems in a assembly line, process layout to reduce lead time. I also studied  various ways to store leaf springs in inventory. The purpose was to minimize the man effort in traveling from storage to assembly line. I also proposed automation for this layout, and was awarded certificate for that.

My next internship was at Koral Motors ( Hands on experience in workshop of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd ). It is a Maruti Authorised car servicing station. The main purpose of joining the service station was to have hands on experience of various vehicles, their subsystems and to understand various types of problems a service engineer is exposed to, while servicing the vehicle. There I learnt, how to understand customer problems and provide solutions based on available resources.

My last internship was at Automotive Research Association of India (CAE Lab). I did the internship at ARAI, as a part of my MTech thesis work. In ARAI CAE lab I experienced real life challenges which helped me develop  my presentation skills as well as interpersonal skills. I was allotted testing and validation of Human head impact on a Bus window. My project covered physical testing as well as validation of results through virtual software. I used to discuss with various teams i.e. testing team regarding test requirements, schedules, feasibility and Purchasing team regarding procurement of material which were to be used in testing. And in the end I simulated the physical problem on software and explained the results and validated the test. Through out this process I learnt various things which paved my way into the automotive industry.

How did these internships and SAE BAJA competition help you?

In India, getting into R&D of any product development company (OEM’s) is very difficult. So you have to build your profile according to the need of the specific career. For that you will have to look for opportunities which will add those relevant skills to your profile. These internships helped me build those skills.

From my college days onwards , I was associated with SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). 

From SAE, I got in touch with many industry professionals and Alumni of different college teams. They all helped me pursue my dream by guiding me.

What were some of the challenges you faced?

In the final year of BTech, I got selected in a reputed IT MNC through campus with a decent package. That is the dream of every engineer to get a job on the very first day of campus placement. But being a Mechanical graduate, I couldn’t convince myself to join an IT Firm and so, I rejected the offer. 

And regarding my father’s dream of getting myself a Government Job, I started preparing for engineering services and PSU exams. In spite of hard work, I couldn’t secure a seat in services (left out with small margin). I was depressed and at that time I decided to follow my passion, my dream of being an automobile Engineer. 

For taking admission in MTech, I had come to Pune. The public transport system was not so good on my route. So during the initial days, I had to manage my budget, my food (especially transition from Delhi to Pune), and my stay which was on a temporary basis , sharing with my friends. 

Can you briefly mention how you got your first break in the automotive industry after ?

I appeared for almost all campus drives, I even cleared written exams and GDs but couldn’t get through the Interview process many a time. I was not at all bothered about the end result but somewhere in my mind the pressure was there. Pressure of not getting a job even though i had a good profile ( In my opinion I was having everything, which a recruiter would find suitable). But I had support of my parents, they kept on telling me that i have come so far, just have patience and push a little bit more. I pushed myself very hard and finally in the end I got what i wanted in Renault Nissan. It felt like the job was waiting for me.

Where do you work now? What do you love about your current career?

I work for a company, Renault Nissan Technology Business Centre India, as a Crash Engineer and Safety Analyst. 

In my current role, I analyze vehicle crash worthiness and safety of occupants based on different regulations. What really inspires me to work hard is when i see counter measures proposed by me are used in real vehicle projects. 

What problems do you solve? 

I am working in the Computer Aided Engineering domain, engineering with the use of Computer. As a CAE engineer, i simulate real world problems virtually and then  analyze and propose counter measures to avoid physical testing costs. 

We have regulations for different crash scenarios around the world which are designed by the respective governments, in regulating the evaluation of the vehicle on two fronts i.e. Structural behaviour of Vehicle, Injury Impact on Occupant is explained and the targets are also mentioned. 

My job is to simulate vehicle crashes based on different real life conditions i.e. Frontal Collision, Side Collision, Rear Collision and Roll Over. 

Evaluation of the vehicle is done based on regulation and computing the injury values of the Occupant. 

I analyze structural response of a vehicle and corresponding injury impact to the occupants. If any of the evaluation items i.e structure response or injury values are not compliant with the regulation norms, then I have to suggest cost effective and efficient solutions to the issue. 

What’s a typical day like? 

Most of my day is spent in interacting with the Design and Safety Team explaining my results and analyzing feasibility of proposed solution from the design point of view. 

It also involves solving issues through exchange of ideas between team members in a meeting or in a casual meet, to ensure the on time delivery of results. 

The work environment is pretty flexible with freedom to make my own decisions on R&D issues and solutions. It is very rare to get so many responsibilities in a company where you represent Indian skills on a Japanese platform. 

What is it you love about this job? 

As I mentioned earlier, I analyze the Structural behavior of the vehicle and its impact on occupant safety. So I have to analyze each and every force on the vehicle and its effect on it. For example, if the vehicle is hitting a tree, analysis of force transfer has to be done from tree to vehicle on individual members and how the force is getting transferred from vehicle front end to occupant’s cabin. My target is to make safer vehicles. So I have to protect my occupants from injuries. To achieve this, i need to distribute all the incoming forces by altering the vehicle’s front structure so as to minimize the effects of the incoming force inside the occupant cabin. 

After doing all this analysis, when these changes are implemented in vehicle, I feel a sense of satisfaction. This feeling I love the most in this job. 

How does your work benefit the society? Tell us an example of a specific work you did

If the designed vehicle is compliance with the regulations that means designed vehicle is safe. Then this will reduce the fatality rate caused due to vehicle accidents.

 Your advice to students based on your experience? 

Don’t go with the Flow: You should listen to your heart, what is there inside your heart, what you feel, what you want to do in your life. Things which you can do from your heart, those are the things which are going to define what you will become in your life. You will come across so many people, with so many stories, and so many thoughts. Everyone will tell you their struggles, their side of the story, but it should be you who is going to decide what you want to do in your life. Don’t try to follow people blindly, don’t go with the flow, first evaluate yourself then only start writing your story. In this journey sometimes you also have to take a stand for yourself, for your dreams. Sometimes you will be alone in your journey but trust me everything is temporary, only your dreams and your success will be permanent. 

Better Late than Never: Never give up on your dreams, sometimes great things take time and when they come you should be there to receive them. 

What are your future plans?

First of all i want to be a good human being, a good son, brother and a good husband. Professionally i want to explore different domains, manage cross functional activities. I don’t want to confine myself in a single domain. Continuous challenge is needed to enjoy life, otherwise it will become monotonous.