Jay Harji

Southampton  29 March 2022
Product Manager

Meet Jay, a Product Manager working at our Southampton site who joined Leonardo as a graduate.

Why was our graduate programme the right path for you?

Upon leaving university, like so many people, I didn’t have a clear idea of where I wanted my career to go. I found out about Leonardo through a presentation given at a careers day and I was lucky enough to be able to talk to the presenters afterwards. I was immediately interested by the technology and applications but also remember feeling that this was a place that I could learn and develop. The Leonardo graduate scheme gave me an excellent grounding to see a cross section of the business and gain a better understanding of how businesses operate.

What did you study at university?

I studied Physics for an undergraduate masters at Oxford University, followed by a postgraduate master’s degree at Cranfield University in microsystems and nanotechnology. I’m currently undertaking a MBA in Strategic Leadership at the University of Portsmouth.

Tell us what you do in a typical day

I am lucky that my role is quite varied, and within a typical day I will get involved in current operational challenges and decision making as well as thinking about long term planning. I work across two integrated business areas so I also get to see the product technology from a component and technology level right up to a system level. 

What do you think is the key aspect to fostering innovation?

For me, one of the primary drivers of innovation is to get a diversity of thought and opinion. There are a lot of elements that support that, including diverse backgrounds and experience. I think it is important to ensure that whatever someone’s background, they feel included and secure enough to express their opinions. You should create a setting in which everyone can express themselves freely. That environment can be quite fragile, so it needs everyone involved to be constructive and supportive. Diversity leads to better decision-making and improved innovation. Some of the best innovations come from applying tried and tested techniques from one industry to another, creating brand new innovation.

What do enjoy most about your job?

Two things; the people and the variety. I am lucky to have met and worked with a great number of passionate and highly intelligent people during my time at Leonardo. They definitely help keep me motivated especially through complex challenges when the whole integrated project team pull together. Additionally, there is always variety in any day and I love how this keeps me on my toes!

What have been your biggest achievements at Leonardo so far?

On more than one occasion during my career at Leonardo, I’ve been asked to come on to projects as a safe pair of hands. Often these were complex projects with unique challenges associated with them and I take pride in being able to provide some stability and clarity to them, and also help in defining the future plans and strategy.

What are your career aspirations?

I am always looking for opportunities to expand my skills and get involved in new and exciting projects. Leonardo has consistently been able to offer those chances and I look forward to making the most of them

A World of Opportunity

Leonardo offers job opportunities across the UK covering a variety of job roles at all levels – from interns and apprentices to highly qualified professionals – including engineers, cyber security experts, programme and project managers, business analysts and many more.