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HCLs Muthumeena addresses real-life problems

HCL's Muthumeena addresses real-life problems

 June 18, 2020

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Working as an engineer can have many benefits – but arguably none greater than the opportunity to identify innovative solutions that improve industry and the lives of others.

HCL is a company that attracts smart, intelligent women engineers who are excited by the prospect of working on business-critical projects for clients worldwide. One such woman is Muthumeena Karuppiah.

Meet HCL’s Muthumeena Karuppiah

Muthumeena lives in Solothurn in Switzerland and works for HCL client DePuy Synthes as a Project Manager. She believes that “engineering is a great way to make your ideas happen.”

During her time at school, Muthumeena was always inspired by architecture yet her career pathway led her to the field of mechanical engineering. “It all started with a mini drafter that fascinated me. It was a pride factor to carry the mini drafter and attend engineering classes,” recalls Muthumeena. “Also, I wanted to do something creative building upon my childhood experiences. I always believed engineers are generally logical thinkers and that they can provide innovative solutions to perennial problems.”

Muthumeena started her career in research and development (R&D) within the manufacturing sector before moving to HCL to pursue her engineering passion. Muthumeena says she was attracted to HCL because she had heard about it being an excellent workplace for women. “HCL provides me with great opportunities to work on R&D projects ranging from Voice of Customer (VoC) through to Life Cycle Management (LCM). I also like HCL’s strong ‘employees first’ culture with a solid focus also on customers.

With around 20 years of experience in product design/development across plastics/sheet metal parts design, material selection/qualification, design verification/validation, prototype development and product sustenance, Muthumeena has undertaken some notable engineering work. For example, she has worked on concept design and prototype development of a continuous feed surgical stapler that is used in minimally invasive procedures like laparoscopic surgery. Compared to conventional staplers, it eliminates the need to replace staple cartridges after each use and allows for continuous stapling without taking the stapler away from the patient during surgery.

Additionally, Muthumeena has helped design and develop a next generation insulin pump where she was required to understand existing technology, conduct competitive assessments and identify marketing requirements. She helped generate concepts and build a prototype.

Muthumeena has also worked on a flexural strength tester where she needed to ensure that the product design of Temporary Cardiac Pacing Wire (TCPW) complied with certain requirements and specifications in order to obtain BSI certification.

Muthumeena believes Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), Automation and 3D Printing will all impact her work as she knows they are next generation technologies in the field of medical devices. Muthumeena is also looking forward to any opportunities that may take her into working into new areas like biodegradable implants in orthopaedics.

Her career ambition sees her seeking to transform herself into a Technical Advisor or a Solution Architect in order to solve some of today’s complex problems and challenges. Specifically, some of the career goals that Muthumeena has set herself include becoming a strong leader managing a team of 100 or more colleagues; unlocking her full potential to achieve what she refers to as ‘the impossible’; and to constantly learn about new technologies and be implementing them in creative ways.

“Engineering is a great way to make your ideas happen,” says Muthumeena who offers salient advice for other women considering a career in engineering. “I believe, as an engineer, we need to improvise on our skills to achieve goals. We do not always have to be the best at everything to achieve our goals, but we do need confidence, discipline and perseverance. Additionally, we need to have a passion about understanding how stuff works. Being strong in the fundamentals of design and being passionate about understanding how things works and are applied is key.”

Muthumeena cites being innovate and a risk-taker are key to being an engineer. “Always be creative in your approach and challenge existing ways of working as every small improvement can make a big difference,” she advises. “Be strong and believe in yourself. Having spent around 20 years in engineering fields, I have learnt to become brave about instigating change. Having positive belief in oneself is important. And, as long as you are pursuing work that lights you up, everything else will follow.”

Muthumeena says that she has crossed many obstacles in her life, continuing her studies and developing her engineering profession. “Particularly in India, not all women are fortunate to have an opportunity to work after marriage, plus some women quit their job during or after maternity. I hope one day women won’t quit their studies and jobs – and I want to be a good role model for that for my own children and family.”

At the commencement of the pandemic, Muthumeena travelled from Switzerland back to her home country of India where she continued to work from home. She was pleased in the lockdown to be able to spend time with her family, especially her daughter. Muthumeena was grateful to have her hi-speed broadband connection and enjoyed her daily meeting with colleagues to keep track of work actions and clarifications. She believes post-COVID, new ways of working will be re-engineered as companies seek to reduce costs and increase efficiency as they embark more fully on a combination of employees working from both inhouse facilities and home.

Muthumeena reinforces that flexibility at work assists with maintaining a good work life balance - and this is an absolute need for her as a working mother. “I value how HCL focuses on forging a gender equal world and I also appreciate how I as an individual am valued by the company. I have excellent career growth with HCL and this inspires me to keep growing professionally,” says Muthumeena. “Additionally, I am always inspired by Shiv Nadar, founder and chairman of HCL and his Shiv Nadar Foundation, due to the strong commitment to social responsibility, sustainability and education.

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