The ups, downs and everything in-between – Karthikeyan Munusamy


My journey at QuEST started after I completed my studies from Hindustan College of Engineering, Chennai in the year 1997. As a young engineer, all that mattered to me was to make my mark in the industry. I first started as a shift engineer in a co-generation power plant and then went on to land my dream engineering job at QuEST in 2004.

Have things changed in the last 17 years?

Definitely! I first started my journey at QuEST as an engineer, went on to become a senior engineer where I started working on bigger projects. I then moved on to the role of a project leader where I learnt to manage my own team and currently I’m the technical manager. It is so fulfilling to see myself in the current role of technical manager where not only I am not just solving tech problems but I am also grooming future engineers for a brighter future.

Apart from my role, one major change has been the way we work. After leaving my job at the site in 2004, I had always longed to work there again. Today, because of the advancements in technology rather than going to the plants, we have been monitoring and performing diagnostics of machineries from our offices and home locations for the past 6 years for oil and gas and power customers. This helps feel that we’re working from the plant itself and elevates us to the position of site extended support team.

Who has been your rock during a storm? An influence in your engineering journey.

In life it is always important to have a mentor who looks after you and makes you the best version of yourself. One such person for me has been Sunil Deshpande, the Global Sales Strategist at QuEST Global.

I remember working with him to win one of our customers. Each time I felt stuck or had questions, I knew the one person who would have answers was Sunil. I really admire his in-depth approach to everything. He’s actually helped me understand that while working on a project, it is really important to not just scratch the surface but to explore it fully. Because of this valuable lesson, there is a vast difference between the way I present my papers today and the way I did before.

Even today, during my presentations, he patiently listens and gives me pointers on how I can improve even further. I actually use a lot of his methodology and way of working to teach the engineers who are under my wing.

One lesson you learnt during your initial years?

Never rely on theoretical learning. I had always imagined myself to be a ‘Born to Engineer’ and thought I knew everything after college.

I’ll let you in on an embarrassing experience I had when I joined as a trainee Engineer in the year 1997. I saw a boiler feed pump which was pumping water at 105 degrees Celsius. At 105 degrees, I expected it to be steam and not boiling water. I immediately went to the Senior Engineer Operation and told him there was something wrong. My senior looked at me and suggested I go back home immediately and look at the saturated steam table.

Later that evening, when I went back home and researched, I realized that while learning I had missed a major detail. The boiling point of water increases along with the pressure. The 100 degrees Celsius boiling point is only with respect to the atmospheric pressure. I was so embarrassed that day.

Moral of the story: It is important to actually get on the field to see, understand and apply what we have learnt.

One piece of advice to young engineers

Today, as a technical manager I recruit new engineers for different projects and help them develop skills for those new projects. I do this because what I value most in life is the importance of knowledge. My advice to young engineers is simple – ‘Knowledge is your only strength’. Gain knowledge, share it with your team and grow together. That is the only way to succeed.

At QuEST, we organize weekly group knowledge sharing sessions so that each one can share their skills with the teams to grow continuously together.

Karthikeyan Munusamy

Written by Karthikeyan Munusamy

on 15 Mar 2022