Who are you?
My name is Deba Prakash GURU and I am an Indian citizen. I am currently working at Alstom as an Eco-Design Engineer.
I worked in India as a metallurgical engineer in a heavy electricals industry for many years before following the MSc&T in Environmental Engineering & Sustainability Management at l'X - which eventually led me to Alstom where I am now using both my materials as well as my environmental skills.
Why did you choose to enter École Polytechnique?
I was looking for a Masters Program at a top French school in the environmental field that would allow me to join the Program during the second year.
L’X is the best French engineering school with a reputation of training the best engineers, managers and scientists. It helped me to take the leap and apply for the MSc&T in environmental engineering and sustainability management.
I am really grateful that professors accepted my application directly into the second year - validating my previous industrial experience as the first year of the MSc&T.
What is your current position?
I am working as an Eco-Design Engineer at Alstom. My job is to put in place eco-design requirements for various kinds of projects (trains, subways, TGVs etc). Alstom is committed to sustainable mobility and as part of the eco-design policy, I set in place objectives, indicators and action plans to improve the environment performance of the products - targeting notably, energy efficiency, use of environmental friendly materials, noise, vibration reduction, air emissions reduction and end of life management.
Do you think your diploma and the name of École Polytechnique are assets to find a job?
Yes, definitely! The diploma as well as the name of the school helps a lot to get interviews and eventually tip the scales in your favor resulting in a confirmed position. I remember sending applications to companies in France before entering the school as well as after graduating and I could definitely see a difference in the answers.
The diploma and the name of the school helped me get an internship quite easily for a position at a company that I liked and from there on, it was smooth sailing.
What skills did you gain during your MSc&T and have been using in your current position?
Among many other skills, the skill that I have been using the most in my current position is Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
The course related to LCA was taught by experienced researchers from INRAE. I have been using it in Carbon foot printing calculations for Vinci Energies and currently for reducing the environmental impact of rolling stock products for Alstom.
What do you like the most about your job?
I love the fact that my job is about all the different aspects related to Eco-Design. I am not an expert in one single methodology but have a full overview of all activities related to Eco-Design - be it circular economy, hazardous substances management or general project management.
I am also involved in the tendering phase - which is the most impactful - while I work with all stakeholders, notably suppliers and internal customers to create an Eco-Design process as well as follow it up till the final delivery to the customer.
What memories do you have of your time spent at L’X?
At first, enterring the MSc&T during the second year was a little difficult for me. I had to grasp all the environmental concepts while I was coming from another background. With the support of my professors as well as my classmates, I was able to overcome that difficulty.
Outside of class, I was privileged to participate in the FFSU competitions with the L’X Tennis Team with the younger Engineering Cycle students. It allowed me to meet new people and helped me create a link between the MSc&T students and the Engineering Cycle students.
Living on campus also brought me a lot. It made me feel included and helped me overcome the difficulties linked to the COVID-19.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I want to grow into my role here as an Eco-Design Engineer and eventually hope to lead the development of the reconditioning/modernizing activity for Alstom one day.
Do you have any advice for future students?
It is a privilege to be at L’X - the hallowed corridors, the magnificent facilities, the bubbling student life, the extraordinary students, the excellent library…
Don’t take anything for granted and use the opportunity to come out as a stronger person to handle the difficulties of the world! Create your network, look for internships as early as you can and try to learn French if you are a non-French speaker. At the end of the day, don’t forget to prioritize sleep!