Industrial engineer

Kelly Mulvay discovered a passion for mechanical engineering during her induction into the Faculty of Engineering and has never looked back.

Key facts

Career: Industrial engineer at Beca
Programme: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
Specialisation: Mechanical Engineering

“I liked maths and science at school, and originally had my heart set on biomedical engineering because I loved chemistry. I’d never even considered anything else, but during induction into the Faculty of Engineering, I realised I just liked mechanical engineering better – the practical application was really appealing. I haven’t looked back since. I knew I wanted to study at the University of Auckland because of the prestige of the programme, and I received a City of Sails Kickstart Scholarship which really helped me focus on my studies.

“I grew up rurally, so being in Auckland really brought me out of my shell. I loved exploring the city and seeing all the things on offer, and I still do! The University was great, because there was something for everyone with any interests – clubs, social groups, or through papers. Doing a general education course was fun. I was really into my music classes at high school, so I chose to take music history.

“I got to come up with a really cool and unique project with my partner and I learnt so much. It was definitely the best part of my programme. I loved owning my own project, and it’s so cool to see the team using our composites curing ‘oven’. It really gave me a clear idea of what I wanted to do long term with my degree, and know that I wanted the challenge of pushing boundaries and being in high performance environments.

“I’m currently an engineer at Beca in the industrial team. We mostly work on food and beverage projects, which for me has included things like meat, beer, wine and cheese. I’ve had lots of opportunities to go to sites as an engineer, including two weeks in Blenheim, and then six weeks in rural Australia over summer. It was fun to apply my technical knowledge, and more importantly, I discovered that soft skills were necessary too – it made me see how useful my systems engineering classes were!

“I don’t really have a typical day at work. When I’m in the office I do a lot of computer work and tend to keep a 40-hour week, but it completely depends on what projects I’m involved with. When I was on secondment over summer I worked shifts to provide 24-hour support to the plant, but I also got to switch into holiday mode in the sun every day around that. So far I’ve done a lot of utilities work for industrial food and beverage sites, logistics modelling, and capital planning for meat plants. In any one day I could visit a site, do technical work such as calculating stress in a flange, or help with project management. There’s a huge range of work available. I have a job coming up doing construction management which will involve some cool site visits.

“In the long term, I would love to work with high performance composites in aerospace or Formula 1. I love their challenging environments, the innovation and technology – not to mention they are pretty much the most exciting places I could ever think of to work!”