My name is Mamta Singhal, I am a tri-national businesswoman, who was born in the USA, to Indian parents and grew up in Scotland. Having graduated from Mechanical Engineering nearly 18 years ago, I went on further to do two masters, including an MBA from Strathclyde International Business School. I now work in product development and design engineering.; for the last nine 9 years, I have been working specifically in the global toy sector.
I have made several accomplishments which I am very proud of during my career. I have been one of the youngest people in the UK to fully self-fund and pay-off an MBA at just 26 – a net opportunity cost of £100K, won the 2007 WES Young Woman Engineer of the Year Award and in 2015 won the British Indian Award for my Contribution to Engineering. So nonetheless it is fair to say I have had a lot of recognition for my work.
I also am a professionally trained public speaker and a spokesperson for key institutions and bodies in the UK with a focus on STEM, Diversity, and Equality. I have a natural passion for innovation, process thinking, and making the world better through well thought out technical solutions.
Sometimes it can be your mind that actually prohibits you from achieving your goals and expectations, what would you say to someone who is struggling at the moment with this?
I wasn’t the brightest at school or University, but I knew what I wanted to do and kept working at it. I took some significant risks with my career in my ’20’s; I moved away at a young age, I lived alone, travelled by myself, and I grew wings – all tough things to do, particularly as a young Asian female. I was breaking stereotypes, making a name for myself and in return, getting the evil eye from our society.
In life, you need to find your purpose, in other words you need to find your passion; the things that puts a smile on your face. Don’t ever let others tell you how to live your life or what you do. I see my friends in their ’30’s who do regret some of their choices – you need to find yourself before you can truly grow. There is no right path, but make sure it is your path and not someone’ else’s.
We are all struggling with something, but we need to make sure we can identify which of those are the major or minor issues. Not having perfect eyebrows versus having an ill family matter are two very different types of problems. I am a true believer that your troubles today won’t be your troubles tomorrow – what I worried about as a child, a teenager or someone in my ’20’s is a distant memory – I see things differently, broader and maybe my 60 year self will laugh at the silly things that keep me awake at night now. Things change. Life is cyclic, and sometimes we are ahead, and other times, we will feel like we are failing – we can’t have one without the other.
I do believe some people have it easier than me – they have their family nearby, they live on hand-outs, they have taken the easier route in their career and they haven’t struggled to understand achievement. I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason – I came to Royal Berkshire by myself in my early ’20’s with limited finances, no family nearby and rented a room in a small flat. I spent every night trying to figure out how to smash that engineering glass ceiling. I struggled, but I remained focused – focusing on the long term rather the short term.
My advice to someone struggling right now would be to write down your issues and see what you can control and how you can find a strategy to fix it. Accept some things aren’t in our control, and we may have to “go with the flow” for a while until you have a “eureka moment.”
How do you stay level headed when your reality isn’t what your expectations are?
I don’t always get what I want both in my professional and personal life, but I also know I have been fortunate enough to meet some incredibly supportive people and I have opportunities that others could only dream of. In short, people may think they are ahead, but our path is already written, and I never see “this game” as a race
We can be our own worst enemy. I have a big dream and major expectations with those that interact with me. I can smell nonsense a mile off, so I am cautious who I work and interact with. I have spent 18 years in the international business world, and feel now I can gauge people pretty well. With that said, I get it wrong at times and do get burnt. But that’s okay because only from our mistakes do we grow. When I don’t hit my expectations, I try and figure out what is stopping me and then try and figure out a master plan.
Are there any quotes you think of often or live your life by?
Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. – Steve Jobs
First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win – Gandhi.
The whole of our infrastructure, from sewers to power supplies and communication, everything that wasn’t invented by God, is invented by an engineer. – Prince Philip
In the last two years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?
I am no longer a people pleaser, I say what I think, and if you don’t like it you know where the door is! I have learnt the hard way of making sure I am not taking advantage of, for the benefits of others. My friends say I have adopted a “cut-cr*p” and “no bull” mindset. I have also learnt to never take hand-outs as they will always come with conditions. Do things yourself, because you will never owe anyone anything.
I am also very thankful to people who have been true friends. I admire those who are driven, independent and have broken the mould and done something daring.
What would be your message to the AWMB community?
Keep moving and evolving – the world isn’t stationary and for that reason don’t just stay in one town, city or house for too long. Move with the times, don’t get stuck in it, MAKE HISTORY.
Explore, work aboard, travel, and don’t live with regrets, life is too short! Big wins only come with big risks.