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How Manju’s artistic hobby drew a path to her career

Since childhood, Manju Balaji has had a passion for sketching and a keen interest in architecture that helped shape her future. We met up with her to find out her inspiration, what drives her and what makes a career in Civil Engineering at Atkins so worthwhile.

What made you decide to embark on this path?
I’ve always loved drawing and I’ve always been fascinated by buildings. This combination naturally led to me to choose a path in Civil Engineering. After graduation, my interest led me towards Structural Design – so I suppose my childhood interests really did influence what I do now.

The disciplines that really excited me at the time were Enabling Structures for ‘Cable Stayed Bridge of BWSL’ and also Buildings, Oil & Gas and Aerospace. It was at this point that I realised that bridge engineering was what I enjoyed the most.

What do you like about working at Atkins?
Development, for me, means stepping out of my comfort zone, learning new things and using my initiative. So when I joined Atkins, the work culture resonated with me – it’s a place where everyone gets opportunities, as long as they grab those opportunities.

I’ve come a long way since my first project a decade ago, thanks to the support and guidance of my team members. I now work on projects like designing a 137m long span steel bridge for Colombo Port City. Other achievements include becoming a Chartered Engineer and jointly publishing an international technical paper in 2017 for the ABSE Symposium, Canada. It’s great to work somewhere that supports my development at every stage of my career.

Why would you recommend Atkins to other women engineers?
Success isn’t about juggling your personal and professional life frantically – it’s about striking a balance. And Atkins really helps to empower women at every stage of their career through policies and systems to support their career progression, as well as considering personal commitments.

Another benefit is that Atkins treats women engineers equally. Everyone receives the same opportunities without any gender disparity – a real testament to Atkin’s standards of professionalism. Here, your career growth is purely related to individual skill-sets and your drive to achieve a goal. As long as you’re focused, perform consistently and have a constant passion to learn and develop, you’ll definitely build a flourishing career at Atkins.