Tiran Fernando

Tiran Fernando

Swinburne University of Technology
Business Development Specialist
Tiran studied Bachelor of Robotics & Mechatronics at Swinburne University

What's your job about?

Prysmian Group is the largest cable manufacturer in the world. I am responsible for global business development for high voltage accessories manufactured in The Netherlands.

No two days are the same for me at Prysmian, my typical day can start with some marketing activity, to managing R&D projects from a business perspective to managing tender submissions for global projects. Currently I am responsible for managing the CRM (Salesforce) implementation in Netherlands. For this project, I have to define the needs of our sales team and business needs and translate that to the supplier of the CRM software. Part of this project is to also understand the needs, wants and nice to have features and defend my selection with a business case. The list of projects can go on, but my priority is focused on these tasks

What's your background?

I was born in the tiny island of Sri Lanka. At the age of 16 I moved to Melbourne to finish high school and university. I graduated from Swinburne university of Technology with a Degree in Robotics & Mechatronics. During my degree, I also worked at General Motors Holden as a Manufacturing engineering intern for one year. During which I worked on a major project which saved the company a significant amount of money annually (confidential figure). 

I started at Prysmian group as a graduate in March 2015, having spent 2 weeks of induction in Milan, I settled into the Sydney office quite comfortably. During this year, I was put in charge of managing a major capital investment project. The graduate program at Prysmian has allowed me to gain a secondment in The Netherlands for 2 years starting May 2016. One of the challenging decisions I had to make was to move overseas. Even though it was a challenge, it was equally or more exciting to be living outside of Australia and working with a totally different people and culture. As I always say, ships are not meant to be docked at the pier, they are meant for sailing. Taking a chance and moving to The Netherlands was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes. I believe it’s not the degree technical skill that are important. Technical skills can always be taught, but attitude and mind-set comes from personality and character.

To do my job, you will need to have the confidence to make decisions on the go, challenge the status quo and always have an approachable friendly attitude. A “can do” attitude can most certainly help, but having the confidence to say NO is just as important. Doing the required amount is not enough, exceeding expectations and going the extra mile to make sure the customer is taken care every time is a necessity. Remember, a customer can be external or internal!

What's the coolest thing about your job?

One of the coolest things about my job is the creativity I can bring to it. Working in an old industry can be frustrating, but it can also mean that there is a bubble where my unique creativity can blossom. Being able to convince my peers and superiors of a creative project and get them excited about it is for me 50% of the goal.

What are the limitations of your job?

Without bearing responsibility, it is not possible to progress in your career. It is possible that I work during some weekends. But this I only do if I have no other choice. Over the last 18 months, I have maybe worked 8-10 weekends. But I always make sure that my other priorities are taken care of before I do any work over the weekend. Play hard and at the same time work hard, balance is very important.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Start earlier on community development. There are plenty of others who are less fortunate than you at any given time. Figure out how, when and where you can give back to the community. The joy of helping others can never be found elsewhere. No project in this sector is too small, start somewhere and you will be surprised at the people you meet, the friends you make and the memories made will last a lifetime.
  2. Do a semester abroad; it could change your view of the world and open new doors.
  3. Build networking skills, expand your network and circle of friends to learn new things.