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Steel-toed boots instead of high heels



Manpreet Rath has her eyes set on the future. She was once awarded a Masters scholarship from HOBART, and now regularly changes between production and her work desk – as one of a few women...

A men-only job? Absolutely not, thinks Manpreet Rath. The 25-year-old works as a manufacturing engineer at HOBART. During her industrial engineering degree with a focus on industrial production in Offenburg, Manpreet had decided – unlike many of her fellow students – not to write her bachelor thesis on the automotive industry or its suppliers, but rather, at HOBART. "I just wanted to experience something different," says Rath. "And that was a good decision." So good in fact that she also wrote her masters thesis at the company – supported by a HOBART masters scholarship. Once a year masters students can apply for this scholarship. "Back then my supervisor approached me about it and asked if that was something I would be interested in," remembers Rath. "So I applied – and was accepted." In order to be eligible for a HOBART scholarship, students from the areas of mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, mechatronics, electro-technology or business management require an average grade of 2.5 or better (in the German system, this is a good grade above the average). HOBART then supports eligible recipients with 1000 euros a month. This model also includes an overseas stay, an additional working student arrangement, as well as an interesting masters thesis topic. The only condition: masters candidates are obligated to work at HOBART for at least two years.

But what makes a young woman decide to work in industrial production? "I mean, it's not really that unusual," says Rath and laughs. "When I was doing my bachelor degree we had at least 20 women out of 200 students – at masters level 6 out of 16." While working at HOBART, she has encountered neither prejudice or stereotypes, nor was there work here where she felt disadvantaged as a woman, she adds. "Sure, even though the numbers are increasing, at HOBART there has always been really few women in my area. Occasionally one or two people do look confused when I'm in the production area," she says. The team, however, is great she adds. Everyone works perfectly together, and as an industrial engineer she actually doesn't stand in front of the machine herself that often anyway.

Sometimes though, she does. This is the only way she can truly understand and comprehend the work processes, and optimise them at a later date. "I've already ruined a few blouses here," says Rath. "But I love my job; it is very interdisciplinary." In addition to production, Manny (as she is called by her colleagues) also feels at home at a desk. Here, she develops the layout for expanding the plant, analyses current and target processes and thinks about the relocation plans. To avoid going mad from all the abstract thinking, Manny aims for balance in her free time. "I love endurance sports and thrillers by Stephen King, Sebastian Fitzek or Chris Carter. It's just fascinating, understanding complex characters and diving into a different world. It helps you to think in a more abstract way – even while at work."

Being rational is important for her line of work and she also tries to reflect this as an individual. That being said, she cannot fully hide her creative streak – with her elegant blouse, brightly matching blazer and her nearly perfectly applied makeup...

 

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