Talk with Caroline Hemann Pereira (Chemical Engineer in Cosmetics)

This week, we got a chance to interview Caroline Hemann Pereira, who is a graduate of Bachelor (BSc.Eng) in Chemical Engineering from PUCRS from 2016. She has specialised within Production Engineering, and has a vast in-depth and broad knowledge of the topic. Additionally, she has broadened her portfolio and skillsets by having done MBA in Project Management from Sao Paulo University.

She is a competent chemical engineer with on-hands technical experience. During her university year, she has worked at 3 different internships with varying roles. Currently, she is working within the cosmetics industry, where she is working as the technical responsible Chemical Engineer at Fontana and has huge responsibility of running and managing their production facility.

Undoubtedly, Caroline has a vast and competent knowledge of core Chemical Engineering topics, and it can be seen by her portfolio. Her skill sets is not only limited to technical knowledge, but instead she has broadened her skills from her additional qualification and job experience within Quality Management, Project Management and many more. She is working within a very demanding and responsible role, and she has been performing her duties and tasks with such great success.

Education

Was there a lot of chemistry in your curriculum?

No, most of the courses where related to chemical process inside industry

What were the major tasks you had to solve during your courses? (F.e Assignments, reports, lab work etc)

I had a lot of reports and exams (4 exams) on each course. If we wanted to graduate within 5 years (in Brazil, it`s a 5 year graduate profession), we had to take at least 5 courses per semester. But I think the most important class is work (or insternship), that`s the place that you make everything real ant teach you the hard job and how to deal with it in real life as a chemical engineer.

What topics did you find the most difficult during your degree? What was so difficult about them?

Modelling and Dynamics. I think it was hard course because you can see what you are calcullating/modeling, you just have to go forward then apply to a chemical engineering proccess software and see if it may work. Also, it takes a lot of expertise together: you have to be good at thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, heat transfers, calculus and have some real life engineer expertise. So for a graduate student that was reaaaally harsh.

How was the study environment within your classes and university? Was it easy to get help from the professors and other classmates?

In Brazil we have public an private universities. I went to a private one, so the professor were much more accessible. Classmates were nice as well, always helping each other. The university had a really huge structure with library, study rooms, chemical engineers softwares, and so on.

Did you have student jobs during or between your education? How did you get them? Where did you work? How did it help your education or future career?

Yes, I had 3 internships during my graduation and It helped me so much to understand the dynamics between theory and practice. Also, this kind of experience helped me to get a job more easily.

What made you study ahead to get an MBA? How has it helped with your career?

I like the Project Management area because it helps you on your daily basis. The industry field is always changing, so you have to be prepared when you have a new process or industry plant to start on. In addition, once you start growing on the company (as coordinator/manager position) you will be dealing a lot more with new projects, new prospects of the company, so this MBA expertise will be needed.

Did your chemical engineering knowledge made studying MBA easier?

I think the analytical skill that I got from chemical engineering helped a lot to make the project management easier, but the kind of studied was totally different from anything that Ii studied on the bachelor degree.

Work Experience

What role and company are you working at?

I am working as a Chemical Engineer at Fontana S.A. It is the Cosmetic Industry and have been working at this role for 4 years.

What is your daily work routine like? What do you do at your job?

I'm the chemical engineer responsible for the whole site, which includes: manage the quality control and laboratory sectors; coordinate the R&D department; start new business projects.

What are the typical tasks which you have to deal with?

Some of the typical tasks, I have to deal with include raw material and product daily releases, assessing quality control documents and indicators, and monitor progress of our projects.

What hard and soft skills are the most important for your job?

Soft skills: Adaptability, Effective Communication, Teamworking

Hard skills: English language, Analytical skills, Problem-solving, Project management

What is the best thing about your job?

The dynamics of always doing something different and seeing actions or projects in practice.

You have a very engineering job, so which topics from your degree do you use the most on the workplace?

Unitary Operations, Process Control, Heat Transfers, Fluid mechanics

How easy was it for you to change company and/or jobs if any?

It happened naturally during my internship graduation time, however I've been at the same job since I graduated.

What are you future plans for your career? What does your current job allow you to do in future?

I'd like to became a specialist at some field of work, it will probably happen in cosmetics or oleochemical field of study.

Any suggestions for future graduates?

Work at the industry as an intern to learn. It's the best experience that you will get. Understand how the theory of the courses is applied in the real world, so will get easier when you start work as an engineer.
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