Lavannya Iliger

After working with a construction company in India, Lavannya Iliger pursued a MEngSt in Construction Management to support her technical knowledge with management expertise.

Qualification: Master of Engineering Studies in Construction Management
Role: Building Surveyor at Auckland Council

“Being a Civil Engineer was my dream. I still vividly recall the memory of the day I saw a bridge during my schooling. I was mesmerised by its structure. A simple bridge truss was the first structure I ever analysed. The simple combination of beams that would hold cars, trains and trucks over long span of water fascinated me. Having the tools to analyse the loads on the truss further increased my interest in the field of Civil Engineering and pushed me towards Civil Engineering.

“My resolution to pursue a master’s degree in New Zealand was accentuated by my yearning to be a part of the University of Auckland. The renowned faculty, world-class research facilities, and a crème de la crème graduate programme – which is excellent for job opportunities after graduation that incorporates high quality course work – are the factors which impelled me to choose the University of Auckland for graduate studies. The university’s research facilities and the faculty are top-notch. After meticulously probing the various career options open to me, I decided to pursue a Masters in Construction Management. I aspired to chart my road to the future with the experiences of having worked as a Civil Engineer on site for two years.

“Getting used to the NZ education system and getting ready for the job hunt was challenging but not impossible. The University of Auckland Library workshops, CDES (Career Development and Employability Services) workshops and career events helped me to bridge the gap in between the education levels and hone my key skills. Interacting with the professors in a very friendly way was overwhelming, I wasn’t used to that type of interaction. The classes were full of life and knowledge so I made sure I didn’t miss a single one.

“Currently I am working for Chelsea Contracting Ltd as a Contracts Administrator. Chelsea Contracting Ltd is a multi-disciplinary construction and remediation company. Some of the notable projects are the seismic upgrades for the Auckland’s Sky tower and the park deck systems and remediation works for Auckland Transport’s Fanshawe Street Car Park.
Making the best use of the CDES facilities provided by the University of Auckland helped me to secure this job. Attending the workshops, career events, mock interviews, LinkedIn profile and CV checks played a prominent role in me getting a job in my chosen field.

“After working as an Engineer onsite for two years I realized that the path for women in the Civil Engineering sector isn’t a cake walk. Interacting with people coming from various backgrounds and ensuring that your ideas are conveyed effectively to them is sometimes challenging. I felt that it is the same all over the globe. The Civil Engineering field itself is like that – unique and dynamic. As long as you love your job nothing is difficult.

“Kiwi culture at the workplace is something which all the international students should experience. Super cool members of senior management, relaxed work environment, weekend drinks with the team and the Christmas celebrations are all great experiences. It’s normal for your boss to get you a cup of coffee and join you for a casual chat after.

“I am working as one of the Buddy leaders for the University of Auckland’s postgraduate buddy programme – a programme developed to support people new to postgraduate study. Being a year ahead from when I first started gives me a clear picture of what new students expect from this programme. This means I understand the needs of the new students more effectively and can work to make the Buddy Programme more successful.

“I would like to tell all the international students that it is okay to ask for help. Ask for help when you need it. There is heaps of help available. If you are feeling depressed or if you need some emotional support there is the University of Auckland’s student wellbeing programme, if you need help with respect to your career development there is CDES, if you need help with respect to your assignments, projects and thesis there are libraries. And if you need help in getting in contact with employers or companies there are people like the Faculty of Engineering’s Employer Liaison Manager, the International Manager and their teams who can help. Sometimes you might feel hesitant to ask for help but it’s okay just go and ask for help.

“I wanted to say from my experience, don’t let the negative thoughts and rumours shatter your focus and dedication. Hard work will never go wasted. Last but not the least I would like to say: It is okay. Take a chance. Never stop dreaming!”