Mathurah Ravigulan, a recent graduate of Systems Design Engineering (SYDE) from the University of Waterloo, reflects fondly on her journey and embraces the program for its tight-knit community and personalized learning environment. Mathurah credits SYDE for nurturing her confidence and broadening her career horizons.

"I'm so grateful for all my experiences at Waterloo," she shares. "The small class sizes and students and professors knowing your name created a true sense of community for me." As a gateway to endless possibilities, her SYDE degree provided a supportive network of fellow students and alumni. "I love that whenever I visit or move to a new city, I’ll always have a community of people - especially SYDE upper years and alumni to welcome me in."

Mathurah and classmates ring day
Mathurah and classmates before iron ring day

Since attending June 2024 convocation, Mathurah has examined the profound impact of her undergraduate experience. "It's been a whirlwind journey, and I'm deeply thankful for choosing SYDE. It allowed me to get a holistic understanding of how the world’s systems and technology works, and enabled me to something new almost every term, from consulting, engineering, product management, product design, venture investing, and a URA for the Social Robotics Lab. " she says. “SYDE taught me the skills to immerse myself in new fields quickly and build empathy to collaborate effectively with team members across the entire design cycle. My capstone project has been a great culmination of the degree, combining all we’ve learned to build a multidisciplinary project.”  

Mathurah’s confidence, bolstered by her time at Waterloo, fuels her belief that she can achieve anything she sets her mind to. She sees immense value in her Systems Design Engineering degree, not just for herself but also for her classmates. "You could build an entire company from Systems graduates," Mathurah explains, "System engineers are capable of so much, with such a wide variety of knowledge. We all have developed a way of thinking that allows us to approach any problem, see and analyze it as a system, and then solve it."

2019 Waterloo Engineering Orientation
2019 Waterloo Engineering Orientation

Organizing SYDE's mentorship program with her classmates, working on the Tech+ UW team, arranged the CUTC Conference, hosted Socratica Waterloo sessions, helping run Envision Accelerator (a student-run accelerator for diverse founders), and co-founding Rabbitholeathon (a Schmidt-Futures funded organization to facilitate bi-annual learning retreats for curious technologists) are just a few examples of Mathurah’s extracurricular engagements. She was even awarded the Pearl Sullivan Hack the North Community Leadership Scholarship. Mathurah was also able to take her learning global, going on exchange with her classmates at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Feb 2023, Canada in Asia Conference in Singapore
Feb 2023, Canada in Asia Conference in Singapore

Before entering the program, Mathurah’s interests lied primarily in tech, business, and the sciences. SYDE drew her in with its tight-knit community, diverse interests, and entrepreneurial spirit. Mathurah’s co-op journey then allowed her to apply knowledge gained in the program to various roles; from consulting and front-end development to joining two start-ups, working as a product manager at Microsoft, interning at a venture capital company, and eventually an interdisciplinary role at Netflix.

With both external and internal involvement in the UW community, Mathurah was able to learn from her professors and fellow classmates, "Everyone brings such diverse perspectives to the table, and I truly believe the biggest value in SYDE are the people. SYDE has a team-oriented mindset where class reps and advisors advocate for us, and classmates run mini tutorials before big midterms. Engineering fosters a 'we all win' mentality, where we teach, learn, and challenge each other as we’re striving towards a bigger purpose, which has prepared me well for the innovative culture in work environments."

Now working as a Design Engineer at Netflix as their first new grad hire in the design org, Mathurah builds prototypes and design tools to support the design team and test new concepts for user research. Additionally, she leverages her technical background to invest in early-stage technology startups as a scout at Bain Capital Ventures, having already invested in three companies this year.

August 2023 at Netflix
August 2023 at Netflix

"Waterloo has taught me creative ways on how to pitch myself for jobs - after doing this more than six times, I feel really ready to take on industry," Mathurah shares. "Systems has me continuing to strive for excellence and having fun along the way. I'm always setting goals for myself and am excited to dive into my next rabbithole.”

Looking ahead, Mathurah plans to invest more time into her hobbies, including writing on her blog and photography, while also working on her own projects around new interfaces for computing and learning.

"I now view everything as a system, and the dots are finally connecting," she reflects. "This program allowed me to try a lot of different things. Each part was a different puzzle piece, and now I've figured out how they fit together."

As a Design Engineer at Netflix, Investment Scout at Bain Capital Ventures, and organizer at Rabbitholeathon, Mathurah continues to leverage her Systems Design Engineering education and explore her curiosities. With diverse experiences and ongoing projects, she is poised to continue making significant contributions in her field.