Nirmalaya Sohanroy, Global Graduate Engineer

What attracted you to the maritime industry?

I come from a family of naval architects and marine engineers, so it was very natural for me to choose to have a career in the maritime industry. However, I also liked how uncommon it was compared to the career paths my friends were choosing.  

What are your favourite aspects of your role?

As a global graduate, I love that I have been given the exposure and opportunity to work in different business units – such as ship management, crewing and marine services. This has truly escalated my knowledge about the shipping industry. With the depth and breadth of services offered by V.Group, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, whilst learning about all facets of the industry.

Can you tell us some highlights of your career?

Some highlights of my career have been: working in a shipyard in the Middle East, moving to the Philippines for 6 months for my placement in crew management, and now being in a role completely outside of my expertise. In my current role, I have the opportunity to explore and understand the importance of product knowledge, self-motivation and closing sales, in a more commercially focused role.

Can you explain what a typical day for you looks like?  

I am currently in my third placement, which is in SeaTec sales. I am mainly involved within SeaTec’s Condition Based Monitoring and Subsea departments. A typical day consists of creating account review reports to develop our relationship with existing clients, creating commercial proposals for prospective customers, and researching and identifying potential clients in specific geographical locations.

What are your future aspirations?

The current V.Group graduate programme gives me such a large exposure to the industry and I believe this experience will naturally shape my career. However, my aspiration would be to develop my own clientele and then move to account management. With my expertise and knowledge gained over time, I would also like to consider speaking at maritime conferences.

What are some of the biggest challenges in your job and how do you overcome them?

One way to engage and develop relationships with clients is to simply pick up the ‘phone and speak with them. I used to get extremely nervous about calling clients, however, I am no longer fearful. The old adage ‘practice makes perfect’ springs to mind.

During my time working in a shipyard, I was also faced with working with many different cultures. The biggest challenge was that I was, at the time, the only female naval architect out of 300 other engineers. It felt uncomfortable at first but, referring to my first point, building relationships with all my colleagues from different cultures made this working environment extremely insightful and enriching. Being joined by female engineers throughout my placement also helped me to appreciate that more females are beginning to choose to join the maritime industry.

What’s your vision for the maritime industry?

My vision for the maritime industry is for it to be more proactive about positive social change. For instance, investors need to consciously invest in companies that promote gender equality, address climate change, and many other industry wide issues. Otherwise, we will still be having the same conversation 10 years from now. In the spirit of International Women’s Day, I’d like to see more women featured as keynote speakers during maritime conventions and conferences, and have more women featured within maritime media. These role models will project a very positive picture for this incredible industry and encourage more women to join.

What’s your message to women considering a career in the maritime industry?

Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some incredible men and they have empowered me in many ways. However, we need more female role models in order to benefit from diversity.