Michelle Doolan Aurecon Graduate

Michelle Doolan

Monash University
Track & Civil Engineer
Michelle studied Bachelor of Environmental Engineering & Bachelor of Arts at Monash University

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Time at Aurecon: 3 years
Degree completed: Bachelor of Environmental Engineering (Civil Engineering) and Bachelor of Arts, Monash University
Strongest Aurecon Attribute: Unconventional thinker

When I started my degree, I really had no idea where it would take me. I had a passion for all things technical, creative and innovative. I, like many idealistic university students, wanted to change the world. Engineering seemed like the right fit – and now I know it is.

With rapid population growth continually increasing the strain on our resources, infrastructure and housing, the world will experience significant challenges in the future. It is engineering that provides the foundation for society to thrive – and, as such, it will be engineers who will solve some of our greatest challenges.

My experience with Aurecon

In the three years since graduating and joining Aurecon, I have already experienced and learnt so much! From working on both the consulting and government sides of the Melbourne Metro Rail Project, to owning my own design packages on major projects including the West Gate tunnel project and Furlong Main Heatherdale and Blackburn Level Crossing Removals projects in Victoria.

The rail and people teams have always got my back. My colleagues keep me engaged and foster continuous learning. They point out development opportunities such as scholarships, secondments, conferences and competitions that I should strive to attend or enter. In 2016, I applied for an ‘innovation pitch’ competition for young professionals working in rail. I pulled together an idea from my experiences with Aurecon and my secondment with Melbourne Metro Rail Authority. To my surprise, I took home the inaugural Australian Railway Association (ARA) innovation pitch trophy! Since then I have been involved in chairing conferences, participating in industry panels, and speaking at industry events.

My strongest Aurecon Attribute is "unconventional thinker". Through the work I have done, and my achievements to date, I can see how this attribute has helped me to innovate and deliver great outcomes for my clients and my career. If you are eager to learn and would like opportunities to take your career to new heights, then I would definitely say that Aurecon is the place for you.

My best advice for graduates

I think many university students place too much emphasis on grades, exams and assignments. While these are obviously important, I have come to realise it pays to look at the bigger picture. Many engineers can design, programme, calculate and draw – being slightly better at any of those won’t really make you stand out. You need to get out there, go to networking events, meet people, learn about companies and engage with their representatives to be noticed.

The last thing you want to be is an anonymous name in an online job application system. You want your name to be recognised, and you want to be able to build a connection with your prospective employers. If you’re a bit shy or need some help – I’d encourage you to find a mentor. There are various professional bodies around that offer this type of support, and networking will help you meet likeminded individuals keen and willing to help. Lastly, I would say learning about a potential future employer’s culture, and deciding if it is a good ‘fit’ is very important. The old cliché’ of being yourself and the right opportunity will arise I believe is really true. Just put yourself out there and the rest will come.