Hi Mizue! Why did you become an engineer?
Well, I liked the flying machine in the movie Back to the Future called “Hoverboard” and I wanted to invent it in the future. Then I figured out that engineering is the field which I should take.

What is the best thing with being an engineer?
The best thing is that I can create a product based on an idea in my head! Let’s imagine, you come up with an idea, which is just a small idea at the beginning. You open a CAD system and start making the shape. Some days later, you can touch the real product that you have made from your idea. That is really amazing.

What was the most challenging course during you studies?
I was actually not good at making drawings. There was a course which we had to make a drawing of a gear. We were not allowed to use computers but we had to use only pen and paper. It was hard but I was proud of my drawing when it was completed.

You are from Japan and work outside Tokyo, in Ageo. What is life like for a female engineer in Japan?
When I started working, I was worried that I may not be able to continue my position here after I get married or have kids. The traditional way in Japan is that women quit their work when they get married and become housewives. But since I work for Volvo, a Swedish company, the way of thinking about work is different, so I hope it’s going to be better!

What advice would you give if you met a 10 year younger version of yourself at a party?
I would  give an advice to see the world. Two years ago, I went abroad for the first time in my life. I realized that I was living in a small part of the world. The world is huge and there are a lot of wonderful things and wonderful people outside my small world. I would give her the advice to go outside Japan and meet many wonderful people!

Today, you work in Volvo Group’s technology organization as Vehicle Analyst. What does that actually mean?
A vehicle analyst is responsible for feature evaluation of trucks by simulation, especially regarding ride comfort for drivers, durability of components, and handling behavior. So I build virtual trucks in my computer, run the calculations, analyse the output and give the engineers an idea to modify the component design to improve the vehicle features.

What do you normally do at work on say a regular Tuesday
In the morning, I have a regular project meeting with design engineers, and discuss what kind of simulation they want me to perform or report them the simulation results. In the afternoon, I perform simulation. In the evening, I talk to my colleagues in Sweden on the phone or through our internal chat. I work with them quite often, almost everyday I would say. It is very important to contact them to share our job status with each other. Thanks to technology, it is easy to communicate with them even despite long distances.

If you could bring only one thing with you to live an deserted island, what would it be?
I would bring my iPhone. I hope the signal works there? I cannot live without communicating with my family and friends. I have to check facebook and I have to chat with my family and my friends everyday!

Thank you, Mizue!

[Interview was made on December 2nd, 2013]


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