Graduate Portrait Adriana Sanmiguel ISS
Master’s graduates in Facility Management talk about themselves and what they have been doing since their studies
"The Facility Manager’s role has been underestimated. The responsibility we have in the sustainable management of facilities and in the delivery of added-value services to support the users and the business during the building’s lifecycle is enormous. The Master’s programme at the ZHAW provided me with the required knowledge and skills to succeed in this endeavour and it turned out to be the perfect complement to my background as architect."
Adriana Sanmiguel, Project Support – Transition & Support East, ISS Facility Services AG
- 21 years: Architect – Pontificial Xaverian University (Bogota, Colombia)
- 26 years: Project Manager – Piramide Siete Ltda. (Bogota, Colombia)
- 29 years: Head of Project Management – Grupo Pijao (Bogota, Colombia)
- 38 years: Support in Marketing Projects – Sika Services AG (Zürich, Switzerland)
- 46 years: MAS in Sustainable Management of Man-made Resources (2 Semester) – ETH (Zürich, Switzerland)
- 49 years: Master of Science in Facility Management – ZHAW (Wädenswil, Switzerland)
- 52 years: Project Support – ISS Facility Services AG (Zürich, Switzerland)
- Why did you choose the FM Master's programme at the ZHAW in Switzerland? What were the main factors that influenced your decision?
The Master’s programme at the ZHAW is a well-structured programme, which successfully combines knowledge with managerial, strategic, leadership and research skills in an applied field. The international setting as well as the study in English were key factors that motivated me to take the decision to start the Master’s programme at the ZHAW.
- What competencies are needed to be successful in Facility Management, in your opinion?
Facility Managers deal with complex topics in a variety of fields. In my opinion, the holistic view is the main competence of a Facility Manager combined with strategic thinking, organisational and managerial skills. Leadership skills are decisive competencies to innovate and empower people.
- How would you explain the profession of Facility Manager?
The Facility Manager is a key person, who contributes to business productivity through the strategic management of facilities and support services in an organisation.
- What was your experience of the international Master's programme and working together with students of different nationalities?
I was delighted to interact with students with different backgrounds and cultures. Diversity in opinions and points of view were not only challenging but also a source of learning to find a common approach to achieve the set goals. This experience prepares you well to work in an international company, where you daily collaborate with colleagues from several countries, which have different backgrounds and responsibilities.
- Which situation during your studies particularly stays in your memory?
Solving case studies of business problems remains specially in my memory. Case studies are challenging not only in terms of facing real-life problems, but also in the application of knowledge and skills, especially leadership skills, to get a successful approach to solve a problem. It was clear, that there is no single approach to successfully solve a business problem.
- Where are you working now? Please describe your company in a few sentences.
Currently, I work at ISS Facility Services AG, a worldwide leading company, in the provision of Integrated Facility Services. As project support in the Transition & Support East department, I am responsible for the successful implementation of new mandates in East Switzerland.
- What are your current areas of activity and responsibilities?
I am responsible for the implementation of Integrated Facility Services mandates with budgets over half a million to a couple of million Swiss francs for Swiss as well as for international companies in East Switzerland. The implementation of a new mandate is a complex process, which must be successfully accomplished within a couple of months. The development of a strategy, a project plan, and all the documentation required to deliver the services are some of the tasks to start with. Tactical and operational aspects are key issues to deal with in order to achieve the set goals. It is a very challenging but interesting process.
- What do you particularly like about your job? What motivates you to do this work?
In the implementation of new mandates I have the opportunity to get in touch with the customer, understand his needs and the organisational context in order to implement services, which add value to his organisation. To achieve this, I work hand in hand with multiple departments of ISS to deliver the required services in line with our international standards and high level of quality. Last but not least, I also have the opportunity to prepare and empower our people to deliver “Services with a Human Touch”. A satisfied customer is the main motivation for me to do this job.
- What company did you previously work in and what was your position?
Sika Services AG, Support in Marketing Projects
- Routes and detours to where you are now: how did you come to your current job?
After successfully finishing my master studies, I applied for my current work. My experience in the management of construction projects combined with the knowledge acquired during my master studies in Facility Management were key factors to get the job.
- What knowledge and skills from your studies are you using today in your professional life?
The implementation of Integrated Facility Services gives me the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills I acquired during my studies at the ZHAW. Not only managerial but also research and scientific skills are key to develop a strategy to deliver competitive services that support the users and bring value to the organisation. Knowledge in change-management and leadership skills are decisive factors to successfully lead the implementation of innovative services through empowered employees, which make the difference.
- In your view what positive influences can FM have or how can it make a difference, for example in your company or in society?
We, as Facility Managers, are not only responsible for the sustainable management of the buildings and facilities but also for the delivery of high quality services that support the users, contributing to their engagement and satisfaction. We are also responsible for the alignment of the FM strategy with the organisational strategy leading to increased productivity. Furthermore, Facility Managers actively contribute to create a sustainable society in all its three dimensions.
- What advice would you give to people studying now?
The Master of FM at Wädenswil is an outstanding study program, which is structured in a way that prepares you well for the professional life. My advice to the students is to assume an active role during their studies in order to get advantage of the knowledge and experiences of high qualified lectures in an international context. It is a great opportunity to create a good basis for professional success.
- What do you do in your free time to achieve work-life balance?
Reading relaxes me in my free time.
Als weltweit führender Anbieter von Facility Services bietet ISS Dienstleistungen auf internationalem Niveau – dies mit fundiertem Know-how und grosser Erfahrung.
As a leading global Facility Services provider, ISS offers services on an international level with a well-founded knowledge and great experience.
ISS - Service with a Human Toch:
- Facility Management
- Cleaning Services
- Security Services
- Property Services
- Infrastructure Services
- Support Services