An international departmentMamta Singhal: Diversity and Inclusion

What struck me was the way I was immediately accepted and valued in the department. I felt at home.

As a child from Indian parents, born in America, but raised in Glasgow, diversity, and inclusion were concepts I struggled and fought with.

I didn’t feel I had a ‘pure’ identity as a child or even as a student, questioning at times which society I should join or indeed which religious events I should be attending. Nothing was ever forced upon me nor was I too worried about it, but I always felt different.

I started the MSc Integrated Product Design in 2001, and what struck me was the way I was immediately accepted and valued in the department. I felt at home.

The staff and students had the same passions, irrespective of their nationality. They all had the drive to teach, learn and better the design engineering world in some way. I was taught by such a broad community of staff too: Greeks, Chinese, Scots, Indians and felt included in every part of the department.

Most importantly, I noticed my thoughts and suggestions were valued at each step of my degree.

Glasgow roots

mamta singhal smiles at the camera, at diversity event

I don’t think I fully appreciated the Glasgow coat of arms during my youth but reminding myself of my ‘weegie roots’ and indeed the Glasgow Coat of Arms is topical to success.

There's the tree that never grew,
There's the bird that never flew,
There's the fish that never swam,
There's the bell that never rang.

The city’s motto: “Lord let Glasgow flourish through the preaching of thy word and praising thy name”, often shortened to: “Let Glasgow Flourish”, - this resonates with me and my experience within the Department of Design, Manufacture & Engineering Management (DMEM).

Care and respect

No matter what hardships, disadvantages or challenges I faced, I kept flourishing, growing and succeeding. I felt that while I was at DMEM, I was encouraged and mentored with care and respect. The staff saw my strengths in certain areas and allowed me to develop those, but they also highlighted areas of development which gave me the confidence to thrive in industry after graduation.

17 years on and I don’t question my identity.

I am indeed unique and diverse, but within the global engineering and technical world I work in, I truly think my diverse education and upbringing has been a huge advantage. Regardless if it's Burns Suppers in London or Diwali events at Parliament, I feel I can adapt and mix with those around me. Embracing uniqueness, working as part of a team and valuing others has been something I indirectly learned from my time in DMEM.

Hot topic

The topic of diversity and inclusion has become a serious area of interest for me. It's a ‘hot topic’ in the press but equally educational institutions and industries are reaping the benefits of those who can integrate and accept diversity.

I recently attended a Diversity and Leadership conference in London and Sir Charlie Mayfield, CEO of John Lewis Partnership, summarised this point very well. He said:

"...singular identity generates singular thinking and is the language of separation, it doesn't describe our similarities."

If we want to be influencers, great minds, and strong business players, we need to embrace diversity so we have a plethora of new ideas and stronger ways of working. Equally, we must include those who are different to absorb their fresh and unique points of view and the creativity that can bring to the table. This is particularly true within design, manufacturing, and engineering as innovation, teamwork and a solution driven mindset is fundamental ie a singular mindset has no place in these areas!

Thank you DMEM for allowing me to be me!



Mamta joined DMEM to study MSc Integrated Product Design in 2001 and has since worked with companies including Hasbro, Dyson and Mars Chocolate.

 Mamta Singhal smiling at the camera