An international mind boosting technological progressDeveloping sustainable energy solutions is one of today’s biggest challenges. At the same time, all across the globe and in every industry, digitalization profoundly changes the way companies do business. How does digitalization impact the advancement of renewables? Iulia, Project Manager at Siemens Advanta Consulting, shares her firsthand insights from the intersection of energy and next-generation digital technology.
Iulia was born in Romania and grew up in Austria. “I’ve always lived between cultures,” she says, and this became a common thread throughout her career: “After I finished high school, I moved to the Netherlands and Hong Kong to study law and political sciences.” From the Netherlands, she went to Cambridge and completed a master’s degree in environmental economics.
At the University of Cambridge, Iulia developed a strong interest in energy-related topics: “I was learning about a wide range of subjects, from power solutions for tomorrow’s cities to tackling climate change by boosting renewable energies.” And it wasn’t just the technological side that fascinated her about energy. She wanted to use the capabilities of technology to make an impact on society: “Global warming, demographic change and urbanization are crucial challenges today. And whenever we discussed these topics, technology was the key to solving them.” This is what drew her to Siemens Advanta Consulting: “I was looking for a company where I could influence the future of society positively. And I wanted to be at the forefront of technological development.”
She knew that Siemens had an extensive energy portfolio. And, she says, “It was important for me to see as much as possible in this field.” By joining Siemens Advanta Consulting, she could experience a variety of different businesses in the energy sector – while helping to shape the direction and focus of those clients businesses.
I’ve grown so much since I started at Siemens Advanta Consulting. I always realize this when I’m working with more junior colleagues.Iulia Colescu
An international career with Siemens Advanta Consulting. From Spain to the US West Coast: A truly international career
Today, Iulia’s journey around the globe still continues: “I’m working on a post-merger integration project in Spain. It’s great,” she says, “because it absolutely fits my professional background and my personal interests.” Her work has also taken her across the Atlantic multiple times: in the past year, she spent ten months in the US, where she experienced a variety of projects in places such as Houston, Orlando and Portland.
Portland is where the software company Mentor Graphics, is based. Mentor Graphics is an industry leader providing software for electrical engineering, electronics and chip design. Its system-level design software, combined with Siemens’ mechanical design and product lifecycle management software, enables Siemens customers to create a full-fledged digital representation of their products – a so-called digital twin. This greatly boosts their innovativeness and accelerates time to market, for example, by allowing rapid virtual prototyping. These aspects are crucial for modern and intelligent products like autonomous vehicles. “Mentor Graphics is a highly successful business; it’s one of the top three companies in the field,” says Iulia.
It was a challenging but exciting project: “We arrived with a small team of three people. Our job was to complete the merger and define how our combined business would be set up.” Iulia not only helped the client reach an important milestone in the growth of its software portfolio, but also gained important insights into the working culture at a tech-company on the US West Coast: “We were working closely with the top management, and the whole team was very approachable. They have flat hierarchies, agile teams and very open-minded people. It was therefore a great experience.”
Driving digitalization in the energy sector
This was not the only project that boosted Iulia’s constantly growing digital expertise. On another recent assignment, she witnessed the huge potential of leveraging digital technologies like big data analytics in the energy sector. She explains that in the past, a technical fault was detected only after it caused a machine failure, resulting in downtime until the issue was fixed. “Today, we can monitor a plant’s performance remotely and use smart algorithms to predict when a problem will occur. So instead of fixing a fault after it happens, we can now anticipate it and prepare effective solutions. That way, unexpected plant outages can be avoided and our customers can save time and money.”
Her team’s contribution was significant and had a long-term influence on the business’ direction. “In general,” Iulia says, “I think our work has a big impact on the businesses we work with. We analyze the business situation, develop future-facing concepts and turn them into implementable strategies. At Siemens Advanta Consulting, you have a strong personal involvement, because your client’s business is sometimes also your business.”
An important asset for your career: a great network
This also makes it easy to build a strong network – not just within Siemens Advanta Consulting, but also in different businesses. “There are many alumni across the globe, and you can always get in touch with them,” Iulia says. “Even if you don’t know them personally, it’s very easy to build relationships. People are happy to connect with you or put you in touch with their colleagues. There are always opportunities to grow your network or get help when you need it.”
Personally, she says, “I’ve grown so much since I started here.” Looking back over the past three years, she adds: “I always realize this when I’m working with more junior colleagues. Sometimes I see myself in them. When you become a mentor yourself, you advise younger team members and help them develop.” Right now, Iulia is living and working in Spain, and it doesn’t look like her own journey will stop anytime soon – professionally or geographically.
There are always opportunities to grow your network or get help when you need it.Iulia Colescu