Zainab Manasawala

Zainab Manasawala

Product Development Engineer, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Mechanical Engineering

She realised she wanted to be an engineer when she was in high school, says AUT engineering alumna Zainab Manasawala who spent part of her high school years in California.

“When I was in high school, I joined the robotics club and really enjoyed working with the mechanical elements of building the robot. When our team competed in the robotics competition for the Bay Area in California, we won. That was when I knew I wanted to be an engineer.

“I chose mechanical engineering because I wanted to study a degree that challenged me to think outside the box, learn technical skills but also be creative, and teach me engineering fundamentals but also management aspects with industry applications. What I love about mechanical engineering is that its applications are endless and the world is my oyster.”

AUT’s drive for excellence and its commitment to create great graduates set AUT apart from other universities, says Zainab who completed her engineering degree with first-class honours.

“At AUT, your professors, mentors, peers and the community are always there to support you – through your degree, through life as a student, your career and even as alumni.”

Advice for other students
Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new, Zainab advises other students.

“You’ll soon realise that grades are important, but they aren’t everything. Go out there and take advantage of all the incredible opportunities for AUT students. You won’t realise how fast your university years will fly by, but what you will come out equipped with is an incredible array of experiences, skills and connections, and of course a degree from one of New Zealand’s most innovative universities.”

Zainab herself made the most of her time at AUT.

“AUT gave me the opportunity to engage in so many pursuits outside of my academic endeavours. Organising AUT’s first Diwali festival, volunteering as a student ambassador, working with the AUT STEM Women Club, taking part in the CO.STARTERS entrepreneurship course, becoming a finalist at the AUT X Challenge, achieving the AUT Edge Award for leadership and community service… – these were only some of the fantastic opportunities I had the chance to be involved in.”

From concept to real-life object
After graduating in 2019, Zainab is now working as a product development engineer for Fisher and Paykel Healthcare.

“I’m involved in the entire process from the initial conceptual design of a new product to launching it into the market. This involves designing, risk and hazard management, process outcomes, testing and validation, and liaising with process development, sales and marketing, and operations.

“I really enjoy the hands-on aspects, and it’s incredible to see something you initially conceptualised in your mind become a real-life object.”

She constantly draws on the skills she developed throughout her time at AUT.

“The C skills learnt through AUT – communication, creativity, curiosity and collaboration – are imperative to success in your career, relationships and as a future leader. As an engineer in the workplace, I work in teams to solve problems, and as part of a women in STEM organisation, I apply curiosity and creativity in the realms of tech and STEM. “

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