My career mobility story: Mohan Rajadurai
Mohan Rajadurai | Principal Project Manager
28 May 2019
Principal Project Manager Mohan Rajadurai joined us over 30 years ago as a Highways Engineer in Epsom. He continues to be based in the south of England but over the past three decades, has worked on projects around the world.
“We’re a multinational company,” Mohan told us, “with more clients than ever before. There are many benefits to working on projects that are being constructed abroad, or in taking up a secondment that can expose you to new cultural experiences in your home country.”
#insideAtkins talked to Mohan to find out more about why the international opportunities throughout his career have been some of the best decisions he’s made, and what advice he has for others wishing to add diverse experiences to their careers.
Hi Mohan. You’ve managed to work on a huge number of international assignments during your career. Where have these been based and what have you enjoyed about them?
I’ve worked in numerous countries around the world, including Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Sri Lanka and India. In some cases, I relocated and in others, I would go on short visits where I could. Either way, I enjoyed living and working immersed in different cultures, learning and obtaining first-hand experience.
When travelling to where a project or client is based isn’t an option, I find that regular Skype calls, especially video calls, can still help you engage with another culture and improve your communication skills. I always promote video calls where possible.
For many people, moving abroad isn’t something they’re interested in. We’re fortunate to work in company where we can get international experience without having to leave British soil for a long period of time, if we don’t want to.
You’ve also been seconded to client offices in London. How was that?
Getting experience of other cultures isn’t always about geography; sometimes it’s about less obvious differences, like ways of working. Going on secondment to an office closer to home is a great way to build up a client relationship, develop your technical skills and add value to a project. I often tell people “always try and be ready to accept good opportunities”. I was uncertain at first but being open to these experiences has been the best thing that’s happened to my career. I’ve worked in the client offices of Highways England, BAA, TfL, Metronet, the London 2012 Olympics and others. These are big clients for us, so I feel very lucky to have been able to work with them so closely in their own environments. I’m always eager to widen my experiences, and it’s also improved my confidence immensely. If your manager suggests looking at an opportunity like this, take it! I’ve enjoyed mine so much.
You’ve also worked with our Global Design Centre (GDC) in India. What did you do while there?
I spent several years working closely with our colleagues in India, where I was based for a short time, on several rail and highway UK projects. I also took up a temporary role as Head of Water and Environment while I was there. This helped me to develop further relationships within our teams in the GDC and find ways to make more use of the many skills we have in India on our UK projects, such as the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon as well as other highway and rail projects. By getting actively involved, getting out there and building my knowledge of how the GDC’s delivery model works, I’ve been able to help them drive their growth and raise their profile here in the UK. I’m always happy to talk to anybody about working with colleagues in the GDC – they’re such an important differentiator for us.
Do you have any advice for others who might be presented with opportunities like these, wherever they might be?
When chances like this come up, go for it! Trust the company and make the most of it. We are a very global company, so try to say ‘yes’ as much as you can. The experience will be very useful for your career development and your confidence. Meeting new people and exposing yourself to different cultures widens your technical knowledge, can put you in a great position on large projects and helps build your network.
I am happy to advise on the benefits gained from working abroad and in client offices in the UK – it can be an invaluable part of your career and social development.
Click here to get started with an exciting global career like Mohan, with us.