In order to celebrate International Women In Engineering Day, earlier this year, I reached out to a number of female engineers across the UK & Ireland, asking them to share their stories, and the highly rewarding career path they had chosen.
Hear the thoughts of Mireia Miralles, Graduate Engineer at Schneider Electric, about what it’s like to be a female in the world of engineering, what it’s like to work at Schneider Electric and how Schneider has contributed to her journey.
Siobhan Kelly-Bush: Mireia, please tell us what is it like to work at Schneider Electric?
Mireia Miralles: As a Graduate Trainee, I have a rotational job: every 4 months I work with a new team. For me, I discover new business units, teams and roles – and their offers, organization, skills, tools and processes. I’m constantly getting out of my comfort zone.
For Schneider, we are (as graduates), learning the business faster than anyone and giving a fresh view of the different teams from inside the company. We are also the link between the new technologies and best practices we learned at university or in the previous teams we have been working.
SKB: When and why did you decide to become an engineer?
MM: As a kid, I was always asking “why”. My grandma used to take me to museums during school holidays; my favorite was always the science museum. My curiosity to understand how everything works has always been my driver to learn and the origin of my passion for engineering.
SKB: Why Schneider Electric?
MM: I wanted to work in a big international company. I also wanted to work for a meaningful and engaged company. Who said it was impossible? Thanks to our organization’s geographies, we have the positive of a big company with our global initiatives, but also local day to day teams, work and ownership opportunities.
SKB: How has Schneider Electric supported your career?
MM: Schneider started supporting my career when I was still a student and I was able to join part-time as an apprentice during my master’s in mechanical engineering. Ever since, Schneider has supported me in my desire for an international and transversal career. This thanks to trust and good opportunities I’ve worked in France (Engineering), China (Supply Chain) and now UK (Operations).
“Schneider has supported me in my desire for an international and transversal career.” This thanks to trust and good opportunities I’ve worked in France (Engineering), China (Supply Chain) and now UK (Operations).”
SKB: What has been your career path up to today?
MM: I joined Schneider in 2016 as a Mechanical Engineering Apprentice in our R&D center in France. After that, I had the opportunity of a mission abroad: I joined our Supply Chain teams in China. Last September, I joined the UK&I Graduate Scheme.
SKB: How has the flexibility across Schneider allowed you to explore a range of career choices and opportunities across different areas?
MM: I think my career path itself is the definition of opportunities: Supply Chain, Engineering and Operations, in France, China and UK. But it has been even more than that: at the end of my 3 years apprenticeship, I had the opportunity to be the leader of a little team during 6 months to develop my leadership skills. It was a real proof of trust from my manager and an amazing opportunity to grow at such an earlier stage of my career.
SKB: What has been your most rewarding experience as an engineer?
MM: My most rewarding experience as an engineer was a project in which, due to technical issues, one of our production lines was stopped, having a direct impact to our customers we couldn’t deliver. An open-minded team and creativity combined with technical knowledge were the answer to solve the issue far sooner than planned and satisfy our clients without any risks.
SKB: What has been your most challenging experience as an engineer?
MM: The biggest challenge I experienced involved managing risk. I am an engineer; my work is not just data modelling but making things real. Sometimes, we need to deliver results having 80% of the data needed, and we need to take the decision for the other 20% risk. We can’t wait to have the perfect modelling solution. Usually it doesn’t even exist. When we work for safety products, it becomes a challenge to move forward projects without letting any safety risk down. Remember: safety first!
SKB: What advice do you have for females interested in becoming an engineer?
MM: Just go for it!
SKB: Who has been your greatest support, coach, mentor across Schneider Electric and why?
MM: My greatest support across Schneider is my first line manager I had when I joined as an apprentice. While I worked in his team, he was always challenging me in everything I was doing or thinking, but also believed in me and gave me opportunities to get out of my comfort zone and develop other skills than technical. Thanks to his support, I was also able to gain more self-confidence.
Thank you to Mireia for sharing her insights on what it’s like to be a female in the world of engineering, and in Schneider Electric.
This blog post is part of a series. I invite you to read the other interviews below: