Bala Shobika Balasubramanian Senthil Kumar
Quantity Surveying (MSc)
After moving to the UK and choosing to study at BCU, Bala was keen to embrace everything that the university had to offer, from course opportunities to joining a society. Thanks to support from her lecturers and BCU’s Careers+ team, Bala was ready to step into her role as an Assistant Quantity Surveyor, where she is currently working at Balfour Beatty Vinci’s joint venture working for HS2.
“I originally studied Civil Engineering at university in India and became a Quantity Surveyor soon after. But I was keen to complete a Master’s in Quantity Surveying to be fully qualified. One of the main reasons I chose BCU was because of how dedicated and specialised the course was, and I knew I would be able to equip myself with plenty of skills and experience.
The university's location in central Birmingham with huge, invested infrastructure and technology, as well as its great reputation and recognition in the city, made it the right place for an international student like me to choose BCU.
The course at BCU is an RICS accredited course, so really helped to prepare me for work after university. The lecturers were there for me whenever I needed them, and learning about software like CostX, as well as gaining invaluable knowledge and skills about the industry, helped me enormously and got me ready to step into the sector after graduating.
As well as the course itself, I also joined the Indian Society at BCU’s Student Union, and we performed a dance for the Diwali celebrations at the university. My time at BCU wasn’t all studies, and it was great to get out and have fun with my fellow students.
Just after my dissertation submission, I started to look for jobs. The Careers+ team at BCU really helped me to build my CV, and they also offered me advice on how to apply for jobs and prepare for interviews too, which really helped to build my confidence.
Nowadays, I am an Assistant Quantity Surveyor at Balfour Beatty Vinci joint venture working for High Speed 2 (HS2), and I am responsible for different commercial aspects of the project. I work closely with the team on cost value reconciliation (CVR) reports and crucial commercial processes of HS2. I will soon also be working on the Prism software, which is one of the immerging software’s in the Quantity Surveying field.
There have been some challenges in my career so far. Being a woman in a male dominant construction industry, we often struggle to break the stereotypes and gender bias. But having the courage and confidence in my work, and myself, I will always find a way to let me shine. It’s important to not underplay the role just because you’re in a male dominant sector. Be bold and brave and show the industry that we need more diversity.
In my long-term future, I would love to be a Commercial Manager. I’m also keen to earn my chartership too and work with different challenging projects and clients.
My advice to current BCU students is to explore your opportunities whilst on your course. The university is ready to prepare you and offer you the best, so just utilise the resources properly.
For my fellow graduates, I would remind them to be confident in themselves. Don’t be too harsh on yourself and remember that good things take time. Trust the timing and be consistent in your efforts.
For me, I AM BCU means going on to have a great start in your career. BCU introduced me as a professional to this world and I am forever grateful for it”