INWED 2023 Q&A: Tanvi Dosi, Graduate Systems Engineer at BAE Systems

To mark International Day of Women in Engineering on June 23, 2023, Tanvi Dosi, Graduate Systems Engineer at BAE Systems, talks to The Engineer about her journey toward a fulfilling STEM career.

Tanvi Dosi, Graduate Systems Engineer at BAE Systems
Tanvi Dosi, Graduate Systems Engineer at BAE Systems - BAE Systems

How did you become interested in pursuing a STEM career, and at what age? Were there any people that encouraged you to pursue STEM?

I was probably around 14 or 15 when I knew I wanted to pursue a career in STEM. My favourite subjects were all STEM subjects at GCSE, such as maths, engineering, and physics, which is what lead me to pursuing a STEM career – it felt like a natural fit. My parents also encouraged me to pursue a career in STEM; seeing my dad in a STEM career also influenced my decision to follow in his footsteps.

What did you read at university and what was the male/female ratio on your course? 

I studied a BSc in physics for three years at Southampton University, and later completed my MSc in Physics and Engineering in Medicine at UCL.

My undergraduate degree and parts of my masters prepared me well for my job at BAE Systems, as what I do now is very physics heavy. Taking concepts and transferrable skills from my education and applying them to my work has been very handy.

In terms of the ratio on my courses, the split was around 10-15 per cent female during my undergraduate degree, and roughly an even split during my masters.

What Uni activities did you participate in at Uni to make yourself employable? How important are they on a CV? 

Besides my internship at BAE Systems during my undergraduate degree, I was in the Southampton University Formula Student team - a motorsport engineering competition between various universities. I think this was the most important university activity on my CV as it really showed my interest in engineering beyond my course and my ability to balance academic and extracurricular work.

What I’m currently doing is all very new stuff that can’t be Googled - it makes me feel like I’m on the front line of innovation

I was also the general secretary for a society. This was fairly important on my CV too as I was able to showcase softer skills that I didn’t necessarily utilise as heavily for my academics, like management, organisation, communication, and teamwork.

I also was part of the swimming club during my undergrad and the kickboxing club during my masters, too, which helped show more about my broader interests and that I was a well-rounded candidate when applying to BAE Systems.

Why BAE Systems? In what ways does its corporate culture allow a female engineer’s career flourish?  

In my first year studying physics, we got to go to the Isle of Wight to visit a BAE Systems site – that was my first introduction to the company and it definitely caught my attention. We got to go behind the scenes and see radars and satellite imaging – it was very inspiring, and I knew then that I wanted to work for BAE.

I then went on to work for BAE Systems as a summer intern after my undergraduate degree, and later received an offer to join the graduate scheme. I knew I wanted to come back as I was really impressed with the learning opportunities BAE had to offer. For example, in the near future, I want to become a chartered engineer, and my programme at BAE will help me gain all the qualifications I need to do so from the projects that I’m working on.


I was also impressed by BAE’s culture. Since I’ve started the scheme I’ve really enjoyed being a part of a network of other graduates and apprentices within the early careers programme. For example, we had an immersion programme in Portsmouth at the naval base where there were about 50 graduates and we all got to know each other. The immersion programme was made up of talks with speakers from different parts of the business who spoke to us about the different paths we could take. We also took a tour of the dockyard and got to go on the ships and the submarine, which was very cool!

The help and support I get from my immediate team is also very encouraging. I’ve had access to a corporate mentor, which has been very helpful, and generally having supportive colleagues and managers is a big plus in helping female engineers flourish. Because of that, I don’t feel intimidated working in a predominantly male setting.

As a female engineer, do you feel as if you are an equal to male colleagues at a similar stage of their careers?

Yes, I definitely feel I am equal to my male colleagues. Even though I am one of the few females based at my site, I don’t feel like I’m treated any different to male colleagues at similar stages of their careers. I find BAE Systems to have a really inclusive and welcoming culture, irrespective of gender.  

What advice would you give to an aspiring engineer, particularly a female one? Similarly, what’s the best advice you’ve been given in relation to your career so far? 

The best advice I’ve been given is to not let small things stop you from going for something if it’s something you really want for your career. For example, if you don’t meet all the criteria for a job but it sounds exciting to you, you should still apply and give it a go. I would give the same advice to any aspiring female engineer - don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and vouch for yourself!

Occasionally, you hear stereotyping about certain careers being suited to a particular gender, such as nursing is for females and engineering is for males. Are these attitudes being consigned to history, or do you feel there is more work required to debunk these attitudes? 

I think there has definitely been positive progress regarding stereotyping, but I do think there is still work to be done as there isn’t a 50/50 split of males and females in all STEM industries and professions. This could just be due to preference, but it could also be due to seeing a certain career as suited to a particular gender.

I actually recently went to a Women in STEM event to represent BAE Systems, where I got to meet many like-minded women wanting to break into the industry. Events like that are a great way to encourage more equality and debunk such attitudes.

Finally, can you tell us more about your day job?

I work on computational modelling and simulation for a new energy related concept to see if it is feasible in real life – essentially seeing what the potential drawbacks might be and finding possible resolutions.

My role is very solutions focused, and my day-to-day mostly involves developing the computational model and testing my code. I start work, write new code, run the code and if any issues arise, I’ll have to find out what they are and figure out solutions.

What I love the most about my job is trying new things – it’s very innovative. I am very proud of what I do. What I’m currently doing is all very new stuff that can’t be Googled - it makes me feel like I’m on the front line of innovation.

At BAE Systems, you also have the opportunity to take on stretch assignments, where you can take on extra projects to explore the business and learn more about it. For example, I’m one of the UCL reps for BAE Systems, so I get to promote the early careers opportunities to students considering their next steps, which is incredibly rewarding.