Svetlana Zdanovich

 

 

Assistant Project Manager, McGill University
& B.Eng Civil Engineering 2016

 

 

 

Briefly describe your path to your current career.

My determination to have a meaningful contribution to society pushed me to go off the beaten track. Realizing early on that my academic program would not teach me skills and tackle issues that are relevant to the 21st century, I have created my own educational and professional path. Consequently, I founded a student design team called netMTL with the goal of building an energy-efficient house, followed multiple extracurricular courses on sustainable buildings and pursued a LEED Green Associate accreditation.

How has your engineering education at McGill contributed to your success?

It taught me how to be autonomous and be aware of what is happening on campus.  If there’s one major thing that McGill students can benefit from is the tremendous amount of opportunities, be it partnerships with prestigious universities and companies, or a wide network of alumni. If you keep your eyes open (and out of the books from time to time), you will realize the richness around you. There is so much more to your engineering education than solely attending classes and writing exams.

What advice do you have for current students in the Faculty of Engineering?

Take matters in your own hands. Ask questions; to professors, classmates, colleagues, alumni. Widen your horizons; attend events organized by the Faculty, student associations and clubs, companies. Develop your soft skills; get involved in extracurricular activities, network, practice your communication skills. It’s a great time to leave your comfort zone and to experiment, to think outside the box.

Do you have anything else to add?

There’s a quote by Louis Pasteur that says: “Chance favors the prepared mind, and opportunity favors the bold.” I spent my first 3 years accumulating information and taking risks, and I can safely say that it paid off. Initially it was hard not knowing when and how it will converge, but you have to keep pushing, because instant gratification is rarely part of the process. Also, it’s important to diversify your strategies and options; plant as many seeds as you can to maximize your rate of success.