Muhammad Alif Azis

Proposal Engineer

Muhammad Alif works as a Proposal Engineer at Siemens Malaysia

How did you decide your career path?

I would never have expected to be in the career path that I‘m currently in. Graduating with a master’s degree in Mechatronics, my initial thought was that I’ll end up working in the automation sector within the confines of a factory. I would consider myself lucky as my first job, as pre-destined as it may seem, has managed to shape my interest and set my subsequent career path. Upon graduating from Germany, I was recruited as a rotating equipment engineer by the national oil company and this had pretty much set my future career path.

How did you get the job?

My roles in my previous company required me to be stationed onsite to manage operations and maintenance of company’s asset, specifically those related to turbomachinery, which include gas turbines and compressors. Throughout my six years in that role, I’ve managed to develop a deep passion for this class of equipment. To a certain extent, I felt obliged to know more about these machines apart from just operating and maintaining them. I wanted to know more about design and selection. That’s when I decided that I needed to have a career change, shifting from an end-user to be the brainchild, responsible for evaluating and sizing equipment in support of bid proposals for world-class machinery solutions! As I saw Siemens’s advert online looking for a turbomachinery proposal engineer, I knew instantly that I needed to apply.

What are your day to day tasks in this role?

As a proposal engineer, daily tasks range from doing design work on my laptop to attending customer meetings all around the globe. The role is somehow analogous to the frontline of the battlefield, whereby each attack (sales pitch) begins. Each proposal engineer is the master of his/her own work and is empowered to manage their own resources to execute their assigned project. However, blessed with much freedom it might seem, one must impose self-discipline to ensure the project is delivered timely and with quality. The freedom is the most attractive perk of this role, provided that it is not abused. The biggest challenge in this role is to meet the deadline, which is why the previously mentioned point is of paramount importance. 

In your line of work, what are the most important soft skills and hard skills to acquire?

Top soft skills: Project management, communication, self-determination, critical thinking, negotiation skills.

Top hard skills: Engineering knowledge, product knowledge, business process management, costing and commercial.

How did you adjust your lifestyle from being a student to a working adult? 

Speaking as someone who has already been in the workforce for seven years, I find that time management and self-discipline are critical qualities that one needs to have, transitioning from student to working adult. These qualities will promote work-life balance as an adult which will, in turn, prevent one from becoming too overwhelmed with work and be able to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

The criteria below are rated from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) stars based on what my thoughts are on the organisation!

Culture: ★★★★★

Work-life balance: ★★★★

Travel opportunities: ★★★★★

Professional development: ★★★★★

Personal growth: ★★★★★