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: Kartikeya Mahalatkar - Mechanical Engineer

The world runs because of mechanical engineers. No, really! Literally any machine that we can think of, has seen the efforts & expertise of a mechanical engineer go into its making - be it the humble mixer-grinder in your kitchen or the aeroplane in the sky. We speak with Kartikeya Mahalatkar, one such mechanical engineer and try to understand this career profile:

Q
What is your current position, career focus and total years of experience?
A

I am a mechanical engineer, working with an engineering firm, Eaton Technologies Ltd, Pune as a specialist engineer in Research and Technology division. My career focus is on innovation and research & development (R&D) in mechanical systems. I work on developing, building and testing new mechanical systems such as pumps and compressors among other things. Currently I am leading a team of engineers to develop highly efficient superchargers for automotive engines. I have 10 years of experience in the field.

Q
How did you get started in your career? What motivated you to get into this career?
A

From my school days I have been interested in machines. After completing high school I got an opportunity to study mechanical engineering in one of the best schools in Mumbai University. After completing my Bachelor’s degree (B.E.) I pursued my Masters and Doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in mechanical engineering from universities in the US. Also, I got opportunities to work at some excellent engineering companies such as Larsen and Toubro (L&T), Ansys, Lightsail Energy and Eaton.

Q
What is this career like?
A

Working in R&D in mechanical engineering is a lot of fun if you like to design, build and test machines. Most mechanical systems are very challenging to design and can be quite complex (such as engines and transmissions for cars). Typically it can take several years to master just one engineering system.

Q
What is a normal work day in the life of a mechanical engineer?
A

A lot of my time is spent on analysis and design of new engineering systems. As project manager, I plan and coordinate the work of other engineers and designers to meet project targets and deadlines. I also spend some time in test lab for testing the systems we have built.

Q
How was your journey from your first job till the current one? Where do you see yourself 5-10 years from now?
A

So far my journey has been very exciting and I get a lot of satisfaction in seeing the engineering systems that I am building, being used by our customers.

In the next 5 to 10 years I see myself developing new engineering systems that are highly successful in the market place.

Q
What specialized training and education did you choose to succeed in this field? What inspired you to build the skills?
A

A doctoral degree (Ph.D.) is very helpful in the R&D field. It opened up new job opportunities for me and helped me get challenging work. My passion for the field (R&D) compelled me to pursue a doctoral degree.

Q
Which skills have you found most helpful, and which ones will be most important in the future?
A

A great analytical mindset is essential for success in R&D. Also, having business acumen is important to get your ideas successful in the market place.

Q
What have been your best experiences and challenges while working in this field?
A

It is highly satisfying to see a product or engineering system that I am working on, successfully completing the testing and customers starting to use the product.

Usually it takes years of efforts to build, test and prove most mechanical engineering systems due to their complexity.

Q
What recommendation would you give to prospective students who want to advance in this field? What education & skills do they need to focus on, over others?
A

Having a good analytical mindset, strong theoretical background and also gaining hands-on knowledge in building things is important.

Q
Do you have any other 'words of wisdom' that you would like to pass on?
A

For a good mechanical engineer it is essential to get hands-on experience in building things. There are several practical insights/ knowledge you can obtain from text books. So make sure you look for internship opportunities that help you develop skills in the area.

Kartikeya can also reached at his LinkedIn profile - https://www.linkedin.com/pub/kartikeya-mahalatkar/7/a23/b66