On March 12th, Association of Engineering Students (AES) of Technical University of Kenya held their annual engineering career expo with the theme; transiting from the classroom to the job market. Various notable speakers attended the event including, Ms. MaryAnne Wambua, Kamal Gupta and Booker Ngesa.
The speakers gave students insight and advice on job interview skills, CV writing, as well as qualities of successful engineering students. The event was well attended and the students were enthusiastic and eager to hear from experienced engineers.
As a female in an engineering world, Ms. Mary Anne Wambua, Marketing and Services Manager at Urysia Ltd, gave an eye-opening talk that concerned not just the ladies but engineering students in general. She talked about dress etiquette during job interviews, methods of answering interview questions, eye-catching CVs and a variety of other topics. Most importantly however, she emphasized on the magnitude of standing out from the rest and stressed on the significance of having job experience, either as a volunteer or intern.
“Ensure that by the time you are leaving the gates of this campus, you are a cut above your peers, a cut above the rest. Make sure that you have an extra skill, over and above the course you are doing here at Technical University,” added Ms. Wambua.
Besides touching on several job interview techniques, Ms. Wambua also reflected on the difficulties ladies face in the male-dominated engineering world. She gave some suggestions for the few female engineering students who attended the event, explaining the importance of respecting themselves and forming healthy relationships with their co-workers.
Taking a different approach, Booker, CEO of Intercontinental Publishers Ltd used his life story in engineering to inspire and motivate students in their pursuits as engineers. He used his life to illustrate the importance of contributing to the engineering industry and building the engineering community in Kenya. He noted that although life took him on a different path from what he studied, he continues to practice engineering in some ways and strives to promote and help upcoming engineers. In addition, like Ms. Wambua, he also pointed out the importance of voluntary work in university, he added that he met Kamal Gupta while still in school and that made things easier for him in establishing himself as a professional.
A few questions were raised by students concerning the issue of engineering students’ registration and on that Booker noted that it was up to the Government, the Institution of Engineers of Kenya and the school’s institution to come up with a suitable solution. As further assurance, Prof. Wilson Ogolla, AES Technical Director promised students that the registration problem was making headway and no student would be allowed to remain unregistered after their graduation.
Gupta, Head Renewable Energy and Group Strategic Partner, Power Technics Ltd advocated for creativity and innovation among students. He also mentioned the significance of energy in Kenya and the potential future it had for Kenya and engineering students. He expressed that Kenya’s energy sector is a place for engineering students to expand and develop their ideas. However, he also explained to students the need for innovation and self-employment as a domain for creativity and ideas. Most importantly, Gupta stressed that knowledge; passion and understanding of engineering were all vital traits of a good engineering student.
“Your work as an engineer must be so progressive and so determined that until you attain your objective, nothing can deter you. For excellence, engineers’ approach towards energy, power and electricity should focus on contributing, investing and donating more towards the community, environment and the nation,” noted Gupta.
A student raised concerns on the importance of theoretical teaching in Universities while the industry insists majorly on practical application, Gupta answered that there is a thin line between what can be taught ,which is theory and what can be attained and worked on which is practical. To convert the theory into practical, largely relies on the individual. Technology is changing and engineers need to come up with more inventions to be used for the benefit of the community.
Also in attendance was Prof. Alex Mumbo, Executive Dean, Faculty of Engineering Sciences and Technology.