International Women's Day Case Study: Selina Suri

Posted on: 5 March 2024 in Students

We caught up with class of 2017 Business Economics Year in Industry graduate, Selina Suri, who reflects on her experiences as a student at the Management School, and her journey after graduation.

Selina is currently based in London, has two dogs and has recently taken up running in her free time!

How did your undergraduate programme prepare you for life after graduation?

During my time studying Business Economics, I completed a Year in Industry at Network Rail, which helped me in getting onto the graduate scheme. Since then, I have continued to work my way up and I am currently a Delivery Project Manager working for Track.

What are some challenges you have faced in your industry?

Construction Engineering feels like a very male dominated industry, and I often find myself the only women in the room. At times, this has made me feel self-conscious, especially early on in my career.

Personally, I also found being in an industry heavily driven by acronyms, technical language, and engineering solutions a challenge, not being an engineer myself. It made it harder to find my feet early on in my career.

I have since learnt that you don’t have to know the most- you can rely on the expertise in your team to make decisions.

Can you share a specific instance where you successfully inspired others within your professional or personal life?

Recently, I completed a master’s in strategic leadership, sponsored by Network Rail at the University of Warwick. During one of my lunches, I was part of a virtual guest speaker session on life after graduation, for the Management School.

A colleague on my course overheard my talk and related to my many of my challenges, particularly ones related to being a woman in a male dominated industry. She noted how I inspired her as I was much younger than her but had a lot of confidence when speaking and giving advice to others.

In what ways do you think we can support gender diversity and inclusion?

I think universities do a good job of pushing gender diversity, however, in male dominated industries outside of university, if can feel more challenging.

I would say that there are so many women networking groups that you could join to help get access to different types of people and support. I am part of the Women in Rail and Women in Transport networks and I find them so useful for networking, accessing support, and career opportunities.

What is your one piece of advice for students thinking of studying in university and hoping to step into leadership roles in the future?

My main piece of advice is to be likeable and charismatic but also to be fierce. You want people to like and respect you, but you also want to set the right tone for your role to be influential. If people remember you for the right reasons (knowledgeable, kind, charismatic, confident) you are likely to succeed in the world of leadership.