Andrea is based on-site to ensure safe and fast execution of the projects at hand
Andrea Reali graduated from the master’s programme in Civil and Architectural Engineering in 2018. He now works as a Construction Method Engineer at Saipem and is currently based in Thailand.
Hi Andrea, what are you working with at the moment?
Soon after my graduation I started working for Saipem and their constructions onshore division. The company specializes in the management of complex projects in harsh environments, remote areas and deep water.
What can a regular day look like?
I work as a Construction Method Engineer which means that I am the connection between design engineers and the construction teams on site. My job is to ensure the safe and fast execution of the work, while at the same time respecting the design criteria and international standards. Right now, I'm mobilized on a project in Thailand, where I follow the construction activities on site. On a daily basis it means:
- planning and coordinating the activities of the construction teams
- reviewing their methods of executing the work, trying to optimize the number of hours and resources needed, as well as looking at environmental impact, without ever compromising the safety of the workers and quality of the final outcome
- meeting with the client, subcontractors and suppliers to manage activities, personnel and equipment.
- video meeting with home engineering to discuss solutions to updates of the design in order to meet the needs of the site.
Why did you choose this programme at KTH?
I already had a bachelor’s in civil engineering, so this programme was the logical next step in my studies. Back then I had the feeling that I wanted more from my experience at the university than just formal knowledge on engineering topics, so I started looking for programmes abroad. KTH status as a technical university is well-known all over Europe, which guarantees a high level of education. On top of that, the possibility to choose the courses you want to follow period by period, made it very appealing.
Finally, Stockholm and the Swedish approach to innovation and respect for the environment, which is the kind of mindset and soft skills I wanted to absorb during my education in addition to engineering knowledge.
Are there any insights or knowledge you acquired during your studies that have been particularly useful for you in your career?
A lot, and none of them are strictly related to engineering itself. Or better, the engineering background that the programme gave me is of a high level, and gave me the basics of civil structure design and materials. But in my job today, nothing is standard or as it is in the books. Everything needs its own tailored solution, so what I am appreciating more and more of what KTH gave me, is the capacity to finding an answer on my own. To have the vision of what I need to achieve and work my way through the how I will achieve it, without being constrained to a mere right or wrong or to standardized solutions for standard problems.
I really appreciated the teaching system which pushes the students to do their research, to expand their knowledge in the direction they feel they need in that specific moment, and which pushes them to communicate and collaborate with each other, to manage themselves and their teams, all in order to complete the projects. And I appreciate it even more now that I can see the benefits in my daily life.
What were the best aspects of your studies at KTH?
Being a student at KTH opened the doors to the world for me, quite literally. It made me move to Stockholm and embrace the Scandinavian culture, gave me an exchange in Norway to learn about hydropower and hydraulics, then directly to Mozambique for the field work of my thesis. Then a quick stay in the Netherlands for some tests on the data acquired, then back to Stockholm to complete the programme and graduate. Now that I work for an international company assigned to projects all over the world, it is not only the engineering knowledge that KTH gave me that is valued, but also the ability to interact with a variety of different cultures.
What is your best memory from your time at the university?
I don't even know which one to pick. It was a time filled with positive experiences, from my everyday life on campus in Stockholm, to hiking and skiing around Scandinavia, to driving in the middle of nowhere in Mozambique, I cannot say I ever got bored.
But something I will definitely bring with me for the years to come are the people I met: for the value they added to every experience, for the stories that some of them felt like sharing with me, for the inspiration I found in some and, mostly, for some true friends I found.
What would you say to a student thinking of applying for this programme?
Do it, it is worth it. I know moving to Stockholm is not the easiest thing, I had to make a lot of compromises to make it possible, but don't let that be what stops you. KTH is a renowned university which really promotes and support its students on every level of your student life. An infinite number of possibilities are waiting there, now it is just up to you to take them.
And if you're planning to stay after your master’s, study Swedish, it will be a great help.