Mafalda Couto
Mafalda Couto
WEB stories
Mafalda Couto
Junior Project Lead

Tell me something about your background

I was born and raised in Portugal and I graduated in biomedical engineering in 2011. After that, I mostly worked in research. I did a PhD in Leadership for Technologies Industries. Since I graduated in biomedics, I also worked in industry as a product developer engineer for laboratories. We did most of the technological part of all the problems they had. Besides product development, we also did production, customer service and we were involved in all kinds of training and documentation. I worked there for a couple of years and then I joined WEB.

What do you do at WEB?

I joined WEB in September 2022 and I started as an industrial engineer. Together with my team, we do all the procedures and get to work on the latest machines for our clients. I started developing an interest in helping and supporting the Project Lead role. I slowly started to take on more tasks and beginning this year I was made junior PL. I wanted to grow in my team and position. The PL role gave me more of a challenge, learning about how to manage people and the work. It was great that WEB listened to me when I said I needed more challenge, they took action and helped me prepare for the role. We have a solid team and we have good processes to complete the work. I am really glad with the team and the client is also happy.

Coming from a biomedical background, what was an IE position like for you?

Academic work is nice but it is very demanding, especially because you are on your own. Working in industry, you closely work in a team on a product or outcome. With academics, you write a paper, present it at a conference, but turning it into real applications is very rare. A lot of it depends on investments and governmental finance so receiving budget is very limited. Once you prove a concept, publish it, you put it on the shelf. Working in industry gives me more of a sense of accomplishment. You can see the results, and improve them, which is a lot more challenging and interesting to me.

What was your experience like coming to the Netherlands?

I remember when I came here, I didn’t feel homesick. Maybe a little in the first two weeks but everything was happening very fast. I met a lot of people and I was socialising every week so I didn’t feel lonely or experience difficulties when moving to a new country. I liked to be here and I would make the choice again.

After 4 months my partner and my dog joined me too. It was a long trip because we came by car from Portugal, but we managed to bring everything over. We found a house, with a backyard which is great for the dog, and it’s been great so far.

What was it like for you to settle in the Netherlands?

Everybody talks in English so I don’t feel like the language is a barrier. Whenever you try to speak Dutch, people jump to English as soon as they see you struggle. WEB also provides training for the Dutch classes which really helps. My partner and I are still taking the course. Especially for my partner, it’s been very useful because she has a government job.

What do you make of the atmosphere at WEB?

I feel like overall everyone is responsible, and does their job but at the same time, it’s very relaxed. We can play ping pong, we have drinks on Friday and everyone is open to sharing their stories. My favorite thing about WEB is how easily you become integrated. We are all close, and the environment is great. I met a lot of interesting people from different backgrounds and I really like the overall vibe.

How do you experience the work-life balance?

I think the work-life balance is great. That’s also one of the most important reasons why I decided to come. We have a great schedule here, I can plan my days and there is a lot of flexibility. Everyone is reachable and understanding so that super nice. That means a lot to me because I can make the most out of my day. Once I finish after 5, I have 6 hours to do whatever I want like sports. In my last job, I would only get home at 8, cook dinner, go to bed, and repeat the same the next day.

It’s important to be able to manage your time and be comfortable. If someone wants a week’s worth of work to be done in 2 days, I can say that it’s not possible and it’ll be okay. In my previous role, it was like no, you have to get it done Friday while completing all the other 5 things that are on your to-do list. It was overwhelming at times but I don’t feel that here.

What stands out to you about WEB?

The people and integration are most important to me. Also, the location is awesome. I’m 5 minutes away from the office and 10 minutes away from the center. I’m also very close to the High Tech campus and there is a huge park. The location and space is really nice.

What piece of advice would you give new joiners?

Come, you won’t regret it for sure. You will receive a warm welcome and you will enjoy wraps for your life. The work-life balance was one of the most important reasons for me to come. We’re completing the work in the best way and I think, overall from what I understand, satisfaction from clients is good. So we are delivering good work. In the end, if everything ticks all the boxes, what more do you want?

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