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Managing cutting-edge engineering at Renishaw

Natural Sciences graduate Alex Grounds tells us about his work as Project Manager at Renishaw.

Alex is Project Manager at Renishaw
Natural Sciences graduate Alex Grounds
‘Without the Natural Sciences degree from Bath, my role as a Project Manager in a very technical design team would have been a lot more confusing.’
Alex Grounds, Project Manager at Renishaw

I am the overall Project Manager for a number of multimillion pound design projects at Renishaw, a global engineering and scientific technology company. This means I plan and organise the design efforts of 10 - 20 very talented engineers, as well as liaising with countless people both inside and outside the company. I am expected to present good and bad news to senior members of the company and to ensure the highest possible efficiency of my team.

My typical day

A typical day starts with checking emails. Due to the global nature of the company there will always be important emails that come in overnight that need a full and thought-out response first thing in the morning. There are always meetings with people around the world, such as the in-house legal team, a circuit board design meeting or a negotiation with an external supplier. There are also team meetings to discuss short and long-term plans and strategy.

Managing change

The thing I enjoy most about my job is the variety. The role includes long-term strategy and day to day activity. When a product line goes down or a recall occurs there are always a huge number of things that need to be organised and carried out and very little time in which to do it all.

The most challenging aspect of my job is managing the numerous constraints that are placed upon a team of people trying to work together to achieve a goal. No two people are the same and you must always adapt your approach to every individual in a team. Also, no customer will ever be happy first time round. You always have to be willing to change the specifications of a product.

Not business-as-usual

The Natural Sciences course offers such a broad spectrum of modules. Having taken the business modules offered, I realised that problems involving people and business interested me. I liked the idea of no two days being the same so wanted to be within a more project-based role rather than a “business-as-usual” type of environment.

After completing my BSc in Natural Sciences, I studied an MSc in Innovation and Technology Management, also at Bath. I then applied for graduate roles around the country and chose to go to Renishaw.

A solid grounding

Without the Natural Sciences degree from Bath, my role as a Project Manager in a technical design team would have been a lot more confusing.

There is not much that I come across in my job that I can’t at least understand at a basic level, due to majoring in physics during my degree. The extra modules I took in business also mean I graduated with a grounding in the difficulties involved in production and logistics, as well as sales models and marketing theories.

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