April 25, 2016, by sustainablenottingham

Career profile: Majid Zeighami

Continuing the series of guest posts from alumni working in the field of sustainability, Majid Zeighami talks about his career path following his Electrical and Electronic Engineering MEng.

What is your role, how long have you been in it and where are you based?

Majid Zeighami with Schneider Electric promotional displayIn September 2013, I started my career with Schneider Electric UK&I on the Graduate Development Programme (GDP). The Graduate Programme included two years of real, business-critical quarterly assignment/projects covering key business unit/functions that involved experience, exposure and education.

As Schneider Electric is based at over 30 sites, I had to be flexible to work anywhere within the UK both during the programme and following completion. There was also the possibility for international opportunities within the Company upon completion of the programme.

Schneider Electric has a great story to tell: as a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, focusing on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, and productive. In FY2014, we achieved revenues of €25 billion, with 170,000+ employees, through an active commitment to help individuals and organisations make the most of their energy. Schneider Electric shares a vision of a world where we can achieve more while using less of our planet!

Upon the completion of the Graduate Development Programme, I have recently been recruited by Schneider Electric UAE as a Marketing Engineer for Building Management Systems & Field Devices for seven Middle Eastern / Gulf countries.

How did your degree at Nottingham help you get the job?

We all know how challenging it can be to secure a job with top global companies as the places are limited hence I decided to attend a world leading university such as The University of Nottingham – the University is in the top 70 in the QS World University Rankings. This would have been the ideal choice for me as I have resided in Nottingham since 2005.

All of the courses provided by Electrical and Electronic Engineering meet all the standards of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) which is a bonus when applying for jobs.

The Faculty of Engineering provided me with a diverse community and an inspirational teaching experience where I leveraged a good blend of both practical and theoretical aspect of engineering subjects. I was able to narrow my study subjects in the area of my interest. I was supervised by a top UK Power Electronics professor where I completed my final year project.

I believe the University of Nottingham provided me with a set of skills that made me a very competitive individual and I was easily able to compete against other graduates of other top UK universities which helped me secure a job with Schneider Electric, a top global company organisation.

What skills have you developed since joining Schneider?

I see a big difference in myself compared to the time when I first joined Schneider Electric. Throughout my journey I have improved a list of vital skills required for my career such as communications, organisational, time management, listening and decision making. Throughout my journey, I came across a portfolio of professionals (such as colleagues, consultants, contractors, end users etc) who are of diverse background and age.

The Graduate Development Programme was organised in such a way to ensure I was upskilled in areas that are vital for my personal and professional growth such as, situational leadership, self awareness, and presentational skills.

Overall, I believe that I have grown both personally and professionally however, there has been a transition from former to the latter as I strongly believe that “Professionalism is a reflection of an individual’s personal growth”.

What advice would you give current students looking to get a job (generally) and with Schneider?

I would encourage all students to apply for graduate development programmes such as the one Schneider Electric is offering. It does not only provide challenges required to be successful in your career but also the development as well as the support.

I realise how difficult it can be when it comes to the final year and how well everyone wants to do to get great marks however, it is important to find the balance between job seeking and final year studies.

Majority of students do not seem to grasp the importance of graduate scheme opportunities or leave it to the last minute mainly due to two reasons:

1. I am in my final year and I need to focus on my studies so no time to apply for jobs.

Major global companies that offer top graduate schemes start processing applications as early as October with deadlines in December (or later the year after). Frequently, their recruitment resources are limited (time, staff etc) so applications get processed as soon as they are submitted. This should tell students that the sooner they submit an application, the more chances of your application being processed without a hurry and the more chances of being invited for an assessment day / phone interview (if you are selected then you will also benefit from having plenty of time to prepare and research the company).

2. If I don’t find a job by the time I graduate I will do a PhD.

Getting a PhD may not be the best option especially if you have missed out on graduate schemes as upon completion of the PhD you may be over qualified for the companies you want to work for. I would advise students considering their decision next time they want to apply for higher education. If they don’t get a chance to get on a graduate scheme then I don’t think there is anything wrong with directly applying for other jobs other than graduate schemes (direct jobs). I strongly suggest creating a LinkedIn account (if you already don’t have one) and seek jobs both locally and globally. LinkedIn is becoming the main recruiting tool for more than 80% of head hunters who spend a lot of their time looking for talented people like you! So get ahead of the game and apply as soon as you can!

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