Brogan Gauld, Software Engineer, JP Morgan Chase & Co.

What motivated you to study an engineering degree? 

In 2019, I graduated from the University of Glasgow with a Master of Mechanical Engineering. I chose to study an engineering degree because I have always had an interest in how  things are designed and manufactured and how users interact with products. 

What motivated you to apply for the Generation UK internship and come to China?

In my third year of university, I was awarded a British Council Generation UK engineering internship in Shenzhen. As China’s first special economic zone, Shenzhen became one of the fastest-growing cities in the world and ranked as a leading global technology hub. China came to the forefront as a technologically innovative nation which is what initially led me to the region as an important place to gain experience. 

I was looking for a way to gain some insight into my career options and obtain valuable work experience. I was assigned an internship with green technology start-up ‘Nanoleaf’. I believe that the integration of cultures from across the world can inspire change; through this internship I hoped to engage with businesses from different backgrounds and cultures, and develop a deeper understanding of China’s economy, society and international relations . By learning and working in such an engaged fashion, I knew I could gain a different perspective and a global outlook which would give me a valuable experience to talk about, especially in our modern, integrated world. China continues to offer a flourishing business base for international industries to invest in. With regards to the relationship between the UK and China, it is important to invest in maturing these bilateral connections and strengthening relations to advance our mutual growth; Generation UK is one way of developing this blossoming relationship. 

What impact did your time in China have on you?

Completing my internship in 2017 gave me the confidence and experience that I could not have gained from being in a classroom or lecture hall. I was able to see a project go from concept to manufacture, visit factories, oversee designs and watch manufacturing processes in real time. This sustained my interests in the design process and gave me a lot to talk about during interviews for further internships, projects and graduate jobs. I was given lessons in Mandarin and had the opportunity to engage in cultural activities, where I was able to meet lots of likeminded students with big ambitions. Being exposed to a start-up company, founded by three engineering students, was an experience that has shown me the true possibilities within my degree. Shenzhen is a city of start-ups and entrepreneurs and the opportunities that present themselves in a city like this are second to none. 

What is your current role?

Since graduating, I have worked as a Software Engineer and Application Developer at JPMorgan Chase. I joined the company through their Tech Connect scheme as I do not have a background in computer science. This programme aims to bring in people with different ideas, skills and experiences. I went through a coding bootcamp in the summer before joining their graduate scheme. Living and working in China prepared me for learning and adapting really quickly – this has put me in an advantageous position in my career. I was motivated to pursue a career in software engineering as I saw the opportunity for a lot of learning and creativity. There is constant demand to learn new skills, technologies and languages, which provides endless opportunities for growth and development. Generation UK helped me develop skills in the workplace, acquire new business proficiencies, and face the challenges of adapting to an entirely new culture. 

What are some of your personal experiences as a young woman working in a STEM-related role? 

As a woman working in STEM, I have encountered people who have doubted my abilities, spoken over me in meetings, or have thought that I have been hired purely for diversity statistics. These cases are few and far between, but when faced with a situation like that I make sure to remind myself that I am worthy of the opportunities I have been given. I bring value to my work and sharing a different skillset and mindset should be celebrated! During my time in China, I learned the importance of networking and business relationships through the concept of guanxi, meaning ‘connections’. I have forged networks and friendships with incredible women who embrace challenges, empower each other and want to change the world. My hope is that we all continue to build on these aspirations. 

How would you sum up your experience in China?

This programme was an incredible opportunity to push the boundaries of my comfort zone and gain extraordinary experience through learning about China’s rich history, prospering modern economy and thriving future. 

Brogan participated in the Generation UK internship in 2017, working at a technology start-up called Nanoleaf in Shenzhen. After the internship, she joined JPMorgan Chase and currently works as a Software Engineer and Application Developer.