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In October last, 25-year-old Tufail Shahzad from Pakistan was hired by MasterShip as an Innovation Manager/Naval Architect. Having traveled around the world and with academic degrees in several countries, he has proved himself to be a real explorer. This is, however, not the only reason why this may turn out to be a match made in heaven.

Says Tufail: “At the age of 18 I left my family in Pakistan to study Aerospace Engineering at Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, China. Having trouble settling and being unable to speak Chinese, I had the privilege to spend my four weeks’ winter vacation with a Chinese family. With improved language skills and meanwhile being a little familiar with the Chinese culture, I resumed my studies. Through the Erasmus Mundus program EMSHIP I then completed advanced masters in Naval Architecture in Liege and masters in Applied Mechanics in Nantes. Upon completion of a subsequent internship at Delta Marine in Istanbul I then finalized my thesis at ZUT in Poland. After many unsuccessful job applications I found a wonderful job opening at MasterShip.”

Artificial intelligence project

“I didn’t really qualify as they were looking for someone with at least five years of work experience. They told me there wasn’t a position for me yet, but they would like to stay in touch for some future openings. Soon after that, and much to my surprise, they got in touch with me again, when I was in Dubai for a job interview. They wanted me to lead an important and challenging artificial intelligence project. Shortly after my arrival in Eindhoven, I decided to study Artificial Intelligence & Innovation Management to better prepare for my new job. Although the scope of innovation is not necessarily limited to software but applies to shipbuilding in general, I will be focusing on ways to enhance our software suite through the use of AI.”

Competitive edge

“I am now in the process of mastering our software and will soon be developing smart tools to replace human actions that are less challenging or downright tedious. Another field of interest is data exchange between different software suites. I am quite convinced that AI will help MasterShip further its competitive edge in the market.” Currently he is attending a conference on AI in Ireland. “The fact that I speak Chinese is an additional benefit and will not only improve communication with our Chinese office but can increase our mutual trust at the same time. Since Urdu is my mother tongue, who knows what lies in store in Pakistan?”

Concluding thoughts

“Meanwhile I am enjoying every working day with great colleagues. I always expected Dutch people to be too straightforward and even a little angry at times. It turns out that they are very welcoming, helpful and open-minded instead. It feels like I have known them for years already and that is a very good sign. I'm often told that I am young enough for many things to have and achieve. I started my journey quite early and my determination and focus have brought me to where I am now. When I look at the next 25 years, I am even more determined and focused then before and ready to make a difference in the world for the generations to come.”

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