TARGETjobs black logo
Mott MacDonald

Mott MacDonald

Employee profile

Mary Schafer

Graduate civil engineer

Why did you decide to apply to Mott Macdonald?

I originally applied to Mott MacDonald for a summer internship between my third and fourth year at university because I wanted to get experience in the field of geotechnical engineering, and in the water sector. Mott MacDonald has a great reputation, and I knew a couple of people that had done internships before and really enjoyed them. The idea of working for a global company on important and interesting projects was my main driver. 

What did your friends and family think when you accepted the position?

My family were all really pleased since they saw how much I enjoyed the internship and could tell how excited I was to begin my job as a graduate. Among my friends who also studied civil engineering at university, the perception of Mott MacDonald was really positive.

What has been your favourite moment since joining?

A single favourite moment is a tricky one to pick! On a professional level, the first time I got a design calculation pack checked and approved for issue felt like a big moment. Generally though there have been many highlights - a recent one being the divisional BBQ and punting summer party.


What has been the most exciting project you’ve contributed to?

I have mainly been working on the Boston Barrier project - a tidal barrier and flood defences project in Lincolnshire. It is a huge design and build project in joint venture with BAM Nuttall. It is fast paced which can sometimes be a lot of pressure, but it's really exciting to go to site and see what you've designed being built in real life. I've been involved in the design of the tidal barrier foundation and sheet piling along each bank of the river. There is a lot of detailed geotechnical design which means I have learned a lot very fast - it's a great opportunity to work on such a project so early in my career. I also completed the geotechnical parameter selection report which is now used for all geotechnical design, so that was a lot of responsibility.


Was the role what you expected, or was there anything unexpected that you really enjoy?

Having completed an internship in the same team in which I now work, I knew what to expect from the role. Though now I have completed my degree I am working on a lot more design work than I could as an intern. I had never really thought of myself as someone who really enjoys the detailed technical side of work previously but this is now my favourite aspect of the job. The speed at which I was given responsibility for this kind of technical design work also surprised me, but I've been well supported by my line manager and team so have never felt like it was too much.


What is your work/life balance like?

My work/life balance is good. I often get into the office between 8.30am and 8.45am in the morning as I like the quieter 30 minutes before other people arrive to settle in! Most days I do manage to leave at 5:30pm, and rarely have to work through lunch. There's a big emphasis on wellbeing in our team and ensuring people are not overworked. We're in a very busy period workwise currently but support each other to make sure the load is spread and that no one is stressed.


Tell us a bit more about you. Do you have an interesting fun fact about yourself/party trick?

I have lots of interests outside of work, such as singing in a community choir, playing touch rugby (badly) for the company team and travelling as much as I can.


What advice would you give to someone applying to Mott MacDonald?

Absolutely go for it. Mott MacDonald is a great company to work for - there's lots of interesting work, and lots of great people. I would advise getting as much work experience as possible too to get an idea of engineering in the real world.  Internships can be like an extended interview process where both you and the company can see if you like each other. Doing an internship previously had a really positive effect when I started as I knew my team, and they are the best thing about my job.