From Tanzania to Australia: How Schneider Electric transformed my education and career

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I came to Australia from Tanzania in 2016 with the aim of pursuing a superior education and exploring better job opportunities. As I was an international student at the time, I faced difficulty obtaining internships while completing my university degree. However, through diligent efforts, networking, and lots of late-night study sessions, I was able to secure a spot in the Schneider Electric graduate program and have since had an exciting and engaging career.

An inspiring and invaluable community

My journey with Schneider begun in 2021 as I was completing my final year of my Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics engineering at the University of South Australia. I had the honour of receiving the prestigious Clipsal by Schneider Electric award which is awarded to the top-performing student in the third year of the Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) program and associated specialisation. During the award ceremony, I had the pleasure of the remarkable Electromechanical team manager at Schneider Electric.

Receiving the Clipsal by Schneider Electric award from the University of South Australia (2021)
Receiving the Clipsal by Schneider Electric award from the University of South Australia (2021)

While I wasn’t actively seeking opportunities at the time, my conversation with them regarding the work environment and Schneider’s sustainable initiatives – among other things, changed my mind. I wanted to work for a company whose values mirrored mine and who supported their employees. Nevertheless, what really caught my attention was WiSE (Women In Schneider Electric) which serves as an invaluable community for women within the Pacific Zone to communicate, collaborate on ideas and uplift one other. Being a woman in STEM, notably in engineering, I observed the significant underrepresentation of women both during my university years and internships. Consequently, I wanted to work for a company that recognises and actively takes the initiative to bridge that gap…

This ultimately led me to join Schneider Electric

I commenced working at Schneider in September 2021, as a contractor in the Research & Development team in Home & Distribution division. This was quite an exciting journey for me, as I got to learn electronics design and apply the theoretical parts of engineering I learnt in university. I was and still am grateful for the work flexibility my manager gave me, as I was still completing my final year of university. This enabled me to give my best at work and at university.

At the end of 2021, I completed my bachelor’s degree with first-class honours and was able to join the graduate program in February 2022. I joined the graduate program with SE because it offered rotations every 8 months, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to expand my skills and get to know the business better.

Representing Schneider at the Big Meet event at Adelaide Convention Centre (2022)

Rotating roles to learn about the business

I completed my first rotation in the research and development team in home and distribution. For my second rotation, I decided to try working in one of the fields I was curious about, cybersecurity. At the time, the only position that was available and closely related to cybersecurity was in Schneider Digital working as an IT tech partner. I took on the role and worked in the team for 8 months. This rotation offered me a broader view of different business units and their responsibilities in the company. Initially, I didn’t really think about the wide scope of work the IT team does in the background.

In this role, I developed skills in automation, cybersecurity, and application certification. I also learnt to appreciate the Schneider value of holding a customer-first mindset. While working in this role I was supported in taking on Open Talent Market (OTM) projects. The aim was to develop skills outside my daily responsibilities.

What is OTM?

OTM is an Artificial Intelligence (AI)- driven career development tool. It matches skills and ambitions to opportunities in order to assist employees in developing, growing and shaping their careers. Through OTM I was able to take part in exciting data analysis projects (another field I was curious about). During this rotation, I realised how much I loved engineering. The practical/hands-on designing of prototypes, researching methods to meet customer needs/offer requirements, soldering printed circuit boards, and debugging code. As a result, I decided to have conversations with my previous manager. This led to me being back full-time in the Research & Development team.

The graduate program offered me the opportunity to explore different fields. This helped me not only narrow down my field of interest but also expanded my skillset and knowledge base. I enjoy working at Schneider because every day, I get to work with experienced colleagues who share their immense knowledge. They challenge me to step out of my comfort zone. I’m extremely grateful to work for an organisation that supports its employees and provides tools to help develop skills within and outside our daily responsibilities.

Are you interested in joining our graduate program at Schneider Electric like Mary-Ann? Check out our website for more information and for available positions to take your career journey to the next level.

About the author

Author Profile

Mary-Ann Stephen Kingu, Electronics Design Engineer

Growing up, Mary-Ann watched her father design and fix things, from small electronic parts at home to enormous communication towers and electrical systems in different communities. She saw how engineering solutions brought joy by simplifying the lives of people, especially for those who lived in rural areas. Because of that, Mary-Ann decided to become an engineer.   

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