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Journey of an automotive leader

Manjot Chana (BEng in Applied Engineering (Product Creation), 2019) is a Technical Director at Stinger, a global business that specialises in aftermarket automotive products.

The opportunity to fulfil his degree apprenticeship stemmed from his role at Jaguar Land Rover. Explore how his experience at Warwick, driven by a deep passion for engineering, has shaped his career and personal growth.

How did your degree apprenticeship at Warwick shape your career and personal development?

My degree apprenticeship at Warwick was a journey of passion and perseverance. Choosing product creation wasn't just a career path; it was following my heart. The modules, from engineering business management to materials engineering, were both academically inspiring and directly applicable to my work. To this day, I still revisit my lecture notes, applying those insights to real-world scenarios at Stinger and previous companies.

The course was set in intense six-week blocks that tested my resilience, balancing exams, lectures, and a full-time job. This experience has given me a solid understanding of my capabilities, which has prepared me to lead a team of 20 and manage complex customer relationships.

Furthermore, modules like supply chain management and project management provided invaluable lessons in effective stakeholder communication and negotiation. Collaborating with diverse groups on projects developed my skills in delegation, teamwork, and conflict resolution, which were integral parts of the curriculum.

What inspired your interest in engineering?

During my childhood, my father's need for a titanium rod in his leg ignited my curiosity about engineering, especially its design and functionality. His openness to questions encouraged my inquisitive nature.

My brother and I also shared a love for technology, often modifying phones and gaming consoles. This passion led me to pursue a degree in engineering. Eventually, I joined an apprenticeship at Jaguar Land Rover, which included a degree from the University of Warwick.

Looking back at your course, is there any advice you would give to your younger self?

Embrace the breadth of knowledge and skills I was acquiring. There were moments when I questioned whether my generalist mindset would be enough in a world of specialists. Still, I've come to realise that there's immense value in being able to connect the dots across disciplines. So, I would urge students to trust in their diverse skill sets and to recognise the importance of versatility in today's dynamic workplace.

How did networking and knowledge sharing at university contribute to your career?

Networking with peers from different companies provided valuable insights and perspectives. Collaborating on projects and maintaining connections through groups and social media have been instrumental in my career growth.

What ambitions do you have for the future?

I aim to continue following my curiosity, exploring new opportunities, and honing both technical and soft skills. Balancing career growth with personal life, including being a supportive husband, father, and son, remains a priority.

Manjot looking happy in a head and shoulders shot

Manjot Chana

(BEng in Applied Engineering (Product Creation), 2019)