Mrinalini Chakrabarty

Mrinalini Chakrabarty

I came across the organisation on LinkedIn. 

Very positive! I am a huge advocate of women in STEM and I was impressed to learn that this was the centre point of the organisation.

Keep an open mind about careers – the range of options available to you is probably much broader than you think. Take time to research different careers to find out what would best suit your skills and interests. Stay confident in the workplace: you’ll be interacting with people of varying experience, age and background. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, as it shows a willingness to learn. Also, challenge ideas  – it can be daunting and calls for a little courage, but remember that your input will be valued. 

I am currently on an Engineering Graduate Program at Collins Aerospace. The scheme comprises of placements in different functions, including technical disciplines such as Design and Performance and management-related fields such as Business Analyst and Project Engineering. A typical day would depend on my current placement: it could vary from investigating a returned unit on the shop floor, writing a technical document for certification testing, attending a finance meeting to review key milestones of the month, visiting a local school to champion women in STEM, or representing Collins at a conference elsewhere in the country.

My current employer was looking for some knowledge of the company as proof of genuine interest in the role, be that an overview of the main work of the company or details of a specific project. In addition, the employers were looking for confidence and strong communication skills and candidates who were team players.

Try and be natural, rather than rehearsing answers. Employers can usually tell if you’re not being yourself, so just relax and be honest. Sell yourself, but don’t be overconfident. If a topic comes up in which you have a strong interest, don’t feel inhibited to talk about it – employers like to see genuine passion.

I submitted an application with my CV and some questions that I had to answer, following which I was invited to an Assessment Day. This consisted of a presentation that had to be prepared, a group activity and an interview with two interviewers. The presentation had to cover a solution to a technical problem, for which the brief and requirements were given, as well as an overview of myself, my background and my interests. After the Assessment Day, I received an offer of employment.

My current role is my first job following university and I have only been in employment for about eighteen months. I have always been interested in aerospace and specialised in aerospace engineering at university; my ambition was to pursue a career in this field, which I am doing. Therefore I have not yet been in the position to encounter a career setback.

There are certain female figures that continue to serve as an inspiration to me, including Marie Curie. Besides her intelligence, her dedication to her work is remarkable and a quality that I admire greatly. I’d like to think that I have a similar level of commitment!

have immersed myself in extra-curricular activities from a very young age and find that I thrive when I am on my toes. I have a diploma qualification in piano and I have completed Grade 8 in ballet. I love languages and have a high proficiency in German (C1-level). I am also a keen equestrian. I enjoy volunteering and frequently work with underprivileged children in Kolkata in India, both with the Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity and the NGO, The Hope Foundation. I love reading and baking, as well as travelling and photography. I have been a member of Girlguiding UK for around nineteen years.

I have experienced some level of Imposter Syndrome: I have often in the past given little weight to my achievements, brushing them aside or refusing to give myself credit for them. Sometimes it’s important to take some time to bask in your triumphs – you owe it to yourself. Success doesn’t come easy and certainly not without hard work and commitment.

embrace every opportunity that comes my way at work. In the last eighteen months, I have visited several schools and universities to promote and share my love of STEM and support the drive for women in STEM. I have just forged a partnership between my company and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology, for the launch of their new virtual-reality platform; this will target students from underprivileged backgrounds and showcase the opportunities available in STEM. On International Women’s Day this year, I was selected to represented the company at RAF Cosford on a panel of ‘Inspirational Women’. I shared my journey and experiences as a woman in aerospace with around forty girls from local schools. Recently I also co-organised a two-day event at my company for around thirty female students, to provide them with an insight into engineering. The event included activities, site tours and talks, with VIP guests such as the Mayor of Wolverhampton attending. Last year, I spoke at the Cambridge University Engineering Department about my career and initiated the process of company sponsorship of the Cambridge University Women in Engineering Society.

I am proud of being a woman in STEM! I ardently wish that women were not the minority in this field and that gender stereotypes were not still so embedded in society. I am keen to break down the barriers built right from school and instill girls with the confidence that they have as much a place in a STEM career as their male friends. Diversifying any domain expedites progress and growth and the same applies for gender diversity in fields like aerospace – we need to push harder for an equal male-to-female ratio and not cease our efforts until it is achieved.

Yes! I have corresponded with some members of the team and they are very approachable, eager to help and dedicated to a worthwhile cause.

Scroll to Top