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Victoria University of Wellington
Bridget Studied Bachelor of Science & Bachelor of Commerce at Victoria University of Wellington
What's your job about?
Being in the sales team at Honeywell involves educating building owners/managers about what can be done to make their space more productive, secure and energy efficient. In order to build a technology solution for customers, the key is to understand their needs. In my role, I have been out conducting meetings with the staff who operate in a given space. By talking with people from the security, electrical, ICT, facilities, lighting and AV departments of a customer’s building, it’s possible to paint a picture of how building technology can make their work more streamlined, how they can have more visibility of expenses and how they can save money on power and energy.
As a Sales Engineer, one becomes be a touch point and support for customers, for the sales team, and for Honeywell engineers. There’s a significant amount of background work which needs to go into understanding technical engineering solutions, into assistance with following internal process, into building PowerPoints and documents which go out to customers and consultants.
The customer needs to trust the company, and the way to achieve that is through the people.
What's your background?
My school years were spent between Australia and New Zealand. I lived in Canberra until I was nine, before moving to Auckland. After finishing high school, I moved to Brisbane to study at QUT, doing a degree my friends referred to as a “Bachelor of Bridget” – Studying Creative/Entertainment Industries. As it turned out, this line of study didn’t capture me quite as much as I expected. I’m still not entirely sure what made me decide to study Physics and Mathematics, but I think it might have been driven by wanting to choose something as far from Entertainment Industries as possible.
I packed up and moved once again, this time to Wellington to study physics, maths and marketing at VUW. This turned out to be an absolute dream combination for me. If I started getting dizzy after spending too long looking at numbers and symbols, I could put down my physics textbook and switch to the creative essay writing under the marketing discipline. Similarly, if things started to feel a little ‘airy-fairy’ in the marketing side, I found resolve in the rigidness of the mathematics.
I travelled a lot during my time at university. Between semesters I managed to travel to Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia. I also did one semester on exchange in the United Kingdom, and from there visited Morocco, Germany, and Spain.
Probably the most rewarding thing I did during my time at university was writing for the science section of the student magazine. Some of my closest friends say they “shut-off” when they hear anyone talking about science or physics because they believe it’s “too out of reach” for them. It was awesome to be provided a platform to talk about the plethora of amazing phenomena / technologies / research being discovered and developed in physics and science, yet in a manner that was humorous, light-hearted and accessible to students.
The semester I did on exchange in the UK was my final semester of study, and I assumed I would use this as a platform to travel after graduating – however – there was one job that jumped out to me on the Careers Hub from VUW that I knew I had to apply for, which was Honeywell. I applied online, completed the cognitive testing, the online interview, and travelled to Auckland for two face-to-face interviews and was eventually given the good news, I had gotten the role. I think what helped make me successful in this process was the fact that as this job was the only one I had applied for, I made sure I put the adequate time and preparation into every stage of the recruitment process. I’ve been here nine months now, and hoping to remain for many, many more.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Absolutely yes. Despite not having an Engineering Degree as was specified on the Career Hub page, I managed to fill the role of Sales Engineer, and I believe this is testament to the ability for someone from different backgrounds to do the job, as long as they possess the right skills. For the Sales Engineer role, I believe the skills needed are as follows; ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people, technical acumen, persistence, ability to be dynamic. The communication skills I believe are the most important, as this role has touch points with such a variety of people including engineers, top sales people, technicians, and business leaders so one needs to be able to listen, learn and act effectively across different environments.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
This role has given me contact to an incredible range of people and access to spaces I never would have otherwise. Through the role I’ve gotten behind the scenes in Sydney Opera House, to view back-of-house collections in one of New Zealand’s most incredible museums and into local prisons. I’m particularly proud of the work we do at Honeywell when I step back in a sales presentation and realise that our technology is able to make people’s lives easier, to save costs, and in particular to make buildings around the world more energy efficient.
What are the limitations of your job?
Working in sales is by no means a walk in the park – some days it can feel like you are talking to a brick wall and you leave work feeling completely deflated. The buildings industry is large and old. There are people who have worked in the industry for 40 years, and if someone from your company 20 years ago did something wrong, you come up against these prejudices and it can be a losing battle. Sometimes you can put hours and hours of work into something, but something else comes up and you need to abandon it. This can be exhausting, and requires real stamina to keep pushing on.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
- Study whatever you want to study. It’s easy to get bogged down in chasing that prized final ‘piece of paper’. But ticking off the correct subjects as fast as possible with minimal effort in order to meet the degree requirements is really not what study is about. It took me a while, but I eventually learnt this from a fellow student, who after 60, retired from a life in the oil industry and was now pursuing his hang-gliding piolet licence and the study of physics all for fun. This is what is should be about, picking subjects you want to and delving in as deep as your interests drive you to.
- Travel. I learnt equal amounts from my 5 years in university classes, as I did from the few months travelling in between these.
- Meditate. I didn’t know this one at university, but the benefits to all aspects of life are incredible.