The transportation sector is driving a major shift towards sustainability through a zero-emission road map that cuts across the entire business value chain !

Shreyas Bharadwaj, our next pathbreaker, Sustainability and Business Analyst at Scania Group (Stockholm), is part of the Strategic Account Management team that works with customers all over the world, with an eye towards sustainable transportation solutions.

Sheyas talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about starting his career at ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) which was a perfect place to explore the vast opportunities in the automotive industry.

For students, be curious about the world around you. Reach out to people that inspire you and try to listen to their journey and learn from their experiences !

Shreyas,  Your background?

I was born in a south Indian family but spent most of my childhood in North India. Coming from a middle-class family, my parents always emphasized the importance of education. Since my childhood I always enjoyed watching the discovery channel which might be a source for my inclination towards science. I studied science in high school and enjoyed computer courses with a goal to become a computer science engineer. During my final year in high school when I had to decide my engineering school, I somehow didn’t want to do computer science anymore though my interest in engineering still remained, so I decided to study automotive engineering. 

What did you do for graduation/post graduation?

I studied a Bachelor’s in Automotive Engineering from VIT University, Vellore. After that, I worked for 4 years in the field of automotive research and testing. I always wanted to study abroad mainly to experience different cultures and perspectives. I studied my Masters in Industrial Engineering and Management in KTH University, Sweden. 

What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional and rare career?

During my bachelors I was part of formula student team with some of the very talented students. We went to Italy to compete with other teams. This experience sparked interest in me to pursue my career in automotive engineering. I got selected in Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) as a trainee engineer in 2015. This was a very good opportunity as ARAI was at the center of the automotive industry in India when it came to testing and setting new industry regulations and standards. But after 4 years in ARAI, I decided to move to Sweden for my Master’s in 2019. After coming to Sweden, I was exposed to another level of focus on sustainability. This helped me discover my passion to contribute something meaningful through my work. I joined Scania after my Master’s in September 2021 as Supplier Quality Manager where I also took additional responsibilities as Sustainability Ambassador. Later in September 2022, I got the opportunity to join as Sustainability and Business Analyst in the Sales & Marketing department which is my current role. 

Tell us about your career path

I started my career in ARAI where I worked for 4 years. During this time I was working as an Engineer in their Safety and Homologation laboratory where I was responsible for safety critical component testing for tyres, wheel rims, fuel tanks etc. 

Homologation is the process of certifying that a particular vehicle is roadworthy and matches certain specified criteria laid out by the government for all vehicles made or imported into that country.

One thing that I soon realized was that the automotive industry is a vast ocean and you can easily spend your entire career in just one area like tyres. I tried my best to learn as much as I could about various topics and I feel ARAI was a perfect place for that. But after a couple of years, I felt my role was getting monotonous. 

That’s when I decided to apply for Master’s programmes in Europe which always was my dream. Though most of my best friends had moved to the US by that time, I was always fascinated by Europe, probably because of the cultural diversity of Europe which was similar to India. Moreover, the automotive regulations that I was mainly working on in India were mainly derived from European regulations. I felt it was the mecca of innovation. After 3+ years in Europe, I can say that I am happy about my decision. I studied Industrial Engineering and Management for my Master’s as I wanted to keep my doors open when I move abroad and not restrict myself to the automotive industry. 

During my studies at KTH University, we were introduced to Scania and their sustainability initiatives. I was motivated to join them as it matched my background in the automotive field. I did my Masters thesis in Scania R&D on the topic “Sustainable Product Development’’. Part of the thesis work required me to interview people from different departments. I reached out to many people, not only for my thesis but to develop a genuine network and understand the opportunities. Both my job roles in Scania (i.e Supplier Quality Manager and Sustainability/Business Analyst) were the result of these connections. Before I joined Scania for my full time role, I did a summer project on Circular Economy Policies which was very interesting step in to establishing a career in sustainability, business and automotive engineering. 

How did you get your first break?

It was through the final year bachelor placements in VIT university. As part of automotive engineering, our final year was in ARAI. During this time ARAI was the first company to conduct the interviews. After KTH, I joined Scania purchasing department after I applied for a position through the website. 

What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you address them?

One of the major challenges throughout these years was to understand my true inclination. I knew that I was interested in science and technology, and I enjoyed interacting with people and managing projects even more. It seems to make sense retrospectively, although it was not that clear to me at the time. But one thing that I kept doing was to try to do my best with whatever project I had in my hand. 

Where do you work now? What problems do you solve?

I currently work as Sustainability and Business Analyst in Scania, an automotive company. “Scania is a world-leading provider of transport solutions, including trucks and buses for heavy transport applications combined with an extensive product-related service offering.” 

I am part of the Strategic Account Management team that works with strategic customers all over the world. I feel like I am contributing to the shift to sustainable transport by working with these strategic customers who have a big stake in the market. I help analyze customers’ international truck fleets and help create a zero-emission road map for them. What I love the most about this work is its cross functionality, which gives me an opportunity to interact with various people within and outside the organization. 

How does your work benefit society? 

Through my work I feel like I am doing my small part to drive the shift towards sustainable transport solutions. 

Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!

During my Master’s, I worked with a non-profit management consulting organization, 180 Degrees Consulting, which later inspired me to start my own podcast show – ‘Leading with Social Impact’. This podcast show brought me even closer to sustainability by talking to inspiring individuals all over the world who are working on the key challenges in order to reach UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Your advice to students based on your experience?

Be curious! Reach out to people that inspire you and try to listen to their journey and learn from their experiences. 

Future Plans?

Continue driving the shift towards a sustainable world.