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Interests, opportunities and skills: Career success tips for [email protected] North America

Human resources

May 5, 2021

Members of [email protected] North America benefitted from the experience of aviation and technology enthusiast Shoumi Jeyarajah, Management Consulting Manager at Accenture, who headlined a recent webinar session for the group.

Jeyarajah led a motivating discussion highlighting how her educational background, personal interests, international experience and willingness to try new roles at different companies helped her to succeed.

She has fulfilled a variety of positions in engineering and consulting at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Boeing, Airbus, BP, L3 Harris, Grant Thornton and Accenture.  While discussing her career trajectory and the challenges, Jeyarajah said: “It’s been a factor of following my natural interests as well as the opportunities on the market, along with the skill sets that I gained from each place.”

Jeyarajah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from Cranfield University. While pursuing her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, she had the opportunity to work abroad in Germany as a spacecraft thermal engineer at Airbus after obtaining a U.S. Department of State scholarship. 

International experience and the importance of mentors

Describing why she chose to work internationally, Jeyarajah said: “I always had an interest in global business and international collaboration, but never had an opportunity to study abroad in college.  I found the scholarship to be an ideal way to make good use of time in my career while experiencing something different.” 

While discussing mentors and how they influenced her career path, Jeyarajah stated: “I’ve had many mentors, and for me, it’s important to find a mentor early on.  And I also would say to find not only a mentor – but also a coach and a sponsor as well. Every time I had a strong interest or a passion in something, I’d often look to people who are doing the things that I wanted to do, and ask them: how did you get there? What did your career path look like?”

When asked if she has felt nervous about stepping into new roles and queried on guidance for handling challenges at work, Jeyarajah responded, “I think it’s a normal thing to feel intimidated.  For me, it’s a sign of excitement and challenge!” She continued the conversation by highlighting one of her secrets to success: asking for help when necessary. “Another way to work through intimidation or fear is to make connections – build bridges with others.”

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