Data Analyst, Uber, Singapore
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 joined Fisher & Paykel Healthcare as as a product development engineer; a role she held until recently when she relocated to Singapore to start working as a data scientist at Uber’s APAC team.
“I started at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare as a product development engineer straight out of AUT, but then realised that my passion is in data and technology. I then pivoted into working as a data analyst in Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s supply chain team. I recently moved to Singapore and am working at Uber as a data analyst.”
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've applied curiosity and creativity in the realms of tech and STEM. “