Asia Director, Engineering Plastics: Solvay
Marilyn Lye studied for a post-graduate degree in Polymer Technology, graduating in 1994. Marilyn now works as the Asia Director for Solvay Engineering Plastics. Here she tells us about her time at Loughborough and career journey.
Loughborough University of Technology was regarded as one of the top five recommended universities to further pursue post-graduate as per reference by Singapore University. I had worked for six years after my basic degree before pursuing my post-graduate degree at Loughborough University. I found this very useful and practical as I was able to apply and combine the work experience with academic knowledge, which had been the best learning for me.
Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?
It is a great place to study, equipped with advanced laboratories, auditorium and library. Also a great place to network.
Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, what impact did these have on your experience?
Yes, I participated in the Students’ Union activities. This was a good place to network and learn from people who were from different countries.
I manage Asia business with full P&L, including three manufacturing sites in India, China and Korea. I lead a team of 300 members in commercial, industrial operations, supply chain & logistics, marketing, technical support and customer services. I work to grow Asia business through development of mid & long term strategy, reorganisation and resources alignment.
I started in a technical field in Research and Quality, moving to a Sales and Commercial role, then eventually took on more leadership roles, managing teams and business units. The learning throughout my career had been enhanced by working overseas, located in various countries like America, Taiwan and China that had further broadened my perspective and knowledge. I now have a total of 28 years of working experience, with 18 years in mid to senior management. What I have enjoyed the most is growing the business and meeting challenging targets. Also on developing talent in my team and allowing them to grow together with the company.
This enhanced my knowledge to better understand my customer’s needs in market, technology and the industry changes. I was able to have a much deeper discussion with customers and colleagues from Research and Development.
Have your previous roles in Senior Management impacted upon your current job and skillset for your role with Solvay?
Yes, especially in the practical experience in Merger & Acquisition; business integration and setting up of strategic business plans.
Growing the business in the most difficult environment and developing talented people and offering them good career development.