Graduate Profile



Oliver Buhlinger

Which company do you work for?

Hayward Tyler, a manufacturer of motors and pumps for mainly the power, oil & gas and nuclear industries.

What is your job?

I started as a Graduate Engineer and was promoted to Manufacturing Engineer a year later. I am involved in a number of areas within the company including Research & Development (tooling and new products) and simulation of our manufacturing processes. I am also heavily involved in the company’s expansion project and am in the process of 3D modelling the whole factory to integrate into our virtual reality Simulation package. I have been able to deliver several lean manufacturing prototypes, which are Hayward Tyler IP, from concept design to manufacture and testing. It is a vast role with a lot of responsibility.

Tell us about your experience of working with Discovery Graduates

When I worked with Discovery Graduates to secure my position at Hayward Tyler I found them to be very professional, upbeat and positive – it was an infectious culture. They go above and beyond in every situation and are very concerned with pushing people forward and empowering people in their development.

Do you think that the Discovery OPEN Programme is beneficial?

The Discovery OPEN Programme is the perfect opportunity to focus on your personal development. Many in-house development programmes fizzle out after the first year or so but the OPEN Programme is excellent because it’s focussed on the person rather than the career.

I would advise anybody to take a job which includes the OPEN Programme. I would choose it ahead of some of the bigger companies because it is so personal and it works in parallel with the training at Hayward Tyler.

What is the most important/useful thing that you have learnt on the OPEN Programme?

It helps you to have a strategic approach as to how you have the best impact on a personal and professional level – personal and business. It sets you up to be the most effective person that you could be.

Did starting work differ from what you expected? If so, how?

I couldn’t really anticipate how it was going to be as so much comes down to the personalities of the people that you’ll be working with. I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy but I’ve realised that one of the main issues that graduates face is people’s behaviour – how to react to it and how your own behaviour can impact a situation. Initially I found lots of things overwhelming but then I started on the OPEN Programme which has been very, very helpful. There is a big focus on understanding your own behaviour and how it might be perceived by different people. I had hit some barriers with a couple of people early on but the OPEN Programme helped me to understand my own behaviour and how to tackle the difficult situations I was facing. It was empowering.

What was the steepest learning curve in your job?

I came from a shop floor background. I started as an apprentice on the shop floor as industrial mechanic – then I went to university. Starting work as a qualified engineer was a different ball game – I had a lot more responsibility and a lot was expected of me. I very quickly had to learn how to communicate with people properly – as well as the business processes and company structure. Probably the steepest learning curve was overcoming barriers with people and how to approach different projects that I was given. I had to really push myself in terms of making things happen – I had a very supportive manager but had to put a lot of work in.

Are you given the right level of responsibility?

It would be fair to say that I was in at the deep end when I started but I had the right sort of manager who was willing to protect me from some of the day to day slog and gave me the confidence to step out and focus on some innovative projects which I developed in my own time. I’m very pleased because the management is now running with some of these projects and this is reflected in our new expansion programme.

What additional support do you think could be provided to current students and new graduates?

I am involved in graduate mentoring which is as beneficial for me as I hope it is to the new graduates in the company. It’s certainly something which I would have appreciated. I’m also mentoring students at Brunel University to advise people who are just about to graduate on how to be effective and approach the work place. When I speak to the students they say that they don’t know what to expect from the workplace – they have concerns about workload and level of responsibility. I’m glad that I can give them the information that they need so that they know more about what to expect. It’s a great thing that Brunel is doing – I think all universities should do the same.