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MSJ, 2008 Leaver

Malvern Alumnae 100 Ashleigh Petrie

The tech industry is notoriously male dominated but having studied Mechanical Engineering at Bristol University this luckily didn’t faze me. I was one of seven women out of 108 students on the course which meant on occasion I had to stand my ground when being told “women couldn’t be real engineers”. I decided if I can’t join them, I’d better beat them. I graduated with first class honours determined to succeed.

Product Management wasn’t something I had even heard of when I left university, let alone being my dream job. I was convinced I needed to work in real ‘engineering companies’ and so I applied for engineering jobs ranging from oil to construction. I was accepted onto the Jaguar Land Rover graduate scheme but was initially dismayed to have been made part of the Electrical Engineering team. I joined 250 graduates and started my first job in the newly formed ‘Infotainment department’ which developed the in-car entertainment systems for their vehicles.

After 4 years at Jaguar Land Rover and with a couple of successful projects under my belt, I decided that I needed to move to London and learn more about delivering faster pace software projects and looked at working on mobile apps. The fintech market was growing rapidly with start-ups making a mark in the global landscape. Technology had started to transform the financial services sector and I was keen to get involved. I joined a ‘fintech’ start-up called Tandem, a challenger bank that is trying to change people’s relationship with money and how they bank. My time at Tandem taught me a lot about managing international teams of developers with all development contracted out to a development team based in Poland.

After taking the app to launch, I wanted to work in a smaller team at an earlier stage of growth. I joined another start-up called Moneybox, a savings and investing app that is helping a generation invest for their future. I am responsible for the Moneybox Product, which is our app. I work on researching, defining and delivering new product opportunities to our customers, and ultimately aim to deliver market-leading services that will set Moneybox apart from its competitors.

What is your best piece of advice?

Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’ described careers as a ‘jungle gym not a ladder’.

What does success look like?

I don’t see myself as “successful” yet- I have a lot more I want to achieve in my career, but I think if I inspire any women to study engineering when they were thinking otherwise- that would be great!

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