We’re thrilled to spotlight Katy Vu’s transformative internship experience at MU Group. Her enthusiasm for civil engineering and her active participation in our Design Academy have been remarkable.
We sat down with Katy and discussed her experiences as a design intern at MU Group, delving into the key learnings and milestones in her engineering journey.
Tell us about your journey to MU Group and why you chose to join as a part of your university internship.
When I started looking for an internship, I was quite shy and had little confidence in myself due to a lack of experience and knowledge required for the industry. When MU Group reached out to me and I went in for the interview, the way I was greeted took all my stress away. I felt very comfortable during the interviews, and I could feel that my goals and needs were taken seriously. I had two interviews in total, and every time I got to the office, the way everyone interacted and the bond they all shared made me want to join the company in the long run.
My first internship was at a structural company, and I could not choose what I wanted to learn. However, MU Group is different. I was given the opportunity to pick between structural and civil, and whether I wanted to become a designer or project engineer. I could always change my mind or learn a different skill here and there. In other words, I knew I would be exposed to different roles and projects to discover my strength and my actual interest, so I would not regret my decision later in my career.
What knowledge and skills have you gained from MU Group projects and experiences, and how have they pushed and challenged you to learn and grow.
At MU Group, I’ve been involved in a wide range of projects and tasks that allowed me to pick up many valuable skills along the way. For instance, I learned to draft effectively with AutoCAD and MicroStation, ensuring that our designs meet all the requirements set by Transport for NSW and various Councils, while satisfying the client’s needs. I’ve also become familiar with industry standards and learned how to test vehicle turn paths to make sure our road designs are practical. Aside from the road aspects that I’m passionate about, I gained valuable insights into bridges from projects that include both civil and structural components, from the Design Academy and regular Lunch & Learn, which enhanced my technical knowledge in structural design. These experiences have considerably improved my attention to detail, result orientation, and communication skills.
The more I learn, the more I become aware of both my growing capabilities and the rapid development of the industry. This realisation motivates me to keep learning and aspire to reach the standards set by industry leaders.
Juggling my internship and university, especially during my final year, has been quite a test of my time management and organisational skills. MU Group offered flexibility to both study and work, making sure that my academic commitments were always prioritised. This support meant I had no troubles completing assignments and preparing for exams. The skills and knowledge I gained here were extremely helpful to understand the theories and concepts that my degree wanted to deliver. Knowing what I am capable of makes me want to perfect all assignments thrown in my way.
How has the Design Academy helped you hone your skills whilst at MU Group?
I got to learn the basics of different aspects of civil design, which makes me more confident carrying out my tasks knowing that I have learned all the fundamentals first. I find learning the foundation through the academy is important, as being a good designer is more than just knowing what is required to finish a project and tick the box, but it is knowing why and how these principles are applied.
The Design Academy offers a structured pathway with modules and timeframes. I like that I can make suggestions to the pathway to suit my professional growth, and I value how my supervisor thoughtfully considers these suggestions. I also got assigned to a Design Lead who is very helpful and supportive. I can reach out to him whenever I have a question, and he will find some time to take me through it even when he is very busy.
What does your typical day look like?
My typical day at MU Group involves project meetings or meetings with design leads to discuss and coordinate our tasks. I use AutoCAD, MicroStation, AutoTURN, and check design standards on a daily basis. I also contribute to design reports towards submission date. And, of course, I allocate some time to keep up with my studies and tasks in the Design Academy when I’m not too busy with the projects.
What advice would you offer undergrads trying to find their way? What does your typical day look like?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or try out something that you may not be good at. Anything is possible once you put your mind and heart into it! So, take the initiative and do your best. You might discover what you love in the most unexpected places.
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