Previous in Forum: How do I determine the losses in an elbow?   Next in Forum: Material Composition & Differences.
Close
Close
Close
27 comments
Active Contributor

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Clemson, SC
Posts: 13

Student seeking general advice

06/23/2008 1:03 PM

Hello all,

I am an upcoming junior in mechanical engineering. I did a search but couldn't really find anything like this. I was wondering if some of you could share your college or career experiences with me?

I'm going to start e-mailing a few companies this year to see what their qualifications are. I'm really wanting to work for someone like Taylormade or Trek, although they may be difficult to land jobs with. I am planning on getting a Master's degree before working anywhere. From what I hear it's difficult to have the motivation to go back after being out and working. Any suggestions as far as this stuff goes?

I wasn't sure exactly where this would go, but since I'm a M.E. major, I figured this would be okay. Any advice you can offer about things you've learned as an ME would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Register to Reply
Pathfinder Tags: advice college Mechanical student
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member United Kingdom - Member - New Member

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Harlow England
Posts: 16499
Good Answers: 662
#1

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/23/2008 2:04 PM

My advice is tell 'em / show e'm stuff you have done or made, and show ENTHUSIASM.

The bigest turn off in the world is someone who is all talk and qualification but hasn't done or made anything and displays no enthusiasm or curiosity. (Come to think of it that describes an acountant )

Del

__________________
health warning: These posts may contain traces of nut.
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
3
Guru

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1790
Good Answers: 87
#2

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/23/2008 6:53 PM

Find something you really love and do that.... You won't regret it.

The masters degree won't hurt, but it may not help.. Depends on what you end up doing. If you think you would like to be a manager or get involved on the business side of things, do a MBA rather than a MSME.

Get involved with your ASME student section. Employers like that sort of thing.

Work, as a lab assistant, or an intern, or just flipping burgers, but be able to show that you have worked and know what work is about. If golf is your passion, then work in golf, but work.

If golf is your passion, be prepared to talk about playing, what equipment you like, who your golf heros are, the history of golf etc. Oh, and focus on Tiger would not be very creative. Everyone knows Tiger, talk about someone else.

When you get an interview, dress for it. Short haircut, tats covered, suit and tie, no piercings visible, white shirt, black shoes, please wear socks preferably black or blue in color.

Market yourself like you were selling a product. Tell them why they should hire you. Be upbeat and positive, friendly and engaging. Look the interviewer in the eye, and and at least pretend to listen, and look like you are listening.

Be polite. Rude will get you no where.

Oh, and do what you love, and... wear socks, really, I am not kidding. Wear socks.

Register to Reply Good Answer (Score 3)
Power-User
Hobbies - HAM Radio - VE6LDS Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Canada - Member - New Member Engineering Fields - Nuclear Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 284
Good Answers: 10
#3
In reply to #2

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 12:05 AM

I quite agree with this post. Show up for the interview dressed like a professional, the guidance given applied primarily to a male applicant but females should take the same concepts to heart.

If I owned a company and there was any way that I could pull it off I would institute a dress standard and every month I would credit a certain amount to a clothing account for each employee which would be used to reimburse them for work clothing expenses. It would probably have to be a taxable benefit and labour lawyer would take me to court over it so it would never happen.

At least for the interview season each graduation student should own an appropriate suit, dress, shoes, socks, tie, etc depending upon gender. Guys hide the piercings and the tats, ladies limit your piercings to conservative ear rings and hide the tats. Things may change once you start work but be prepared for the interview and who knows the clothes might come in handy for weddings, funerals, etc. Leave the blue jeans, tank tops, t-shirts, and flip-flops for a day in the park.

What you do out of class can greatly affect the employers assessment of you. We had a competition for a program and in the end it came to tie between two candidates. The winner got it because he was a warrant officer in the reserves and in order to get to that point he would have had to develop a lot very useful and transferable skills.

__________________
Semi-retired systems analyst, part time Ham radio operator, full time grandfather.
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member United Kingdom - Member - New Member

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Harlow England
Posts: 16499
Good Answers: 662
#5
In reply to #2

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 2:58 AM

Ah, Steve.. now we know what the S in Steve S stands for... socks!

__________________
health warning: These posts may contain traces of nut.
Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1790
Good Answers: 87
#27
In reply to #5

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 8:25 PM

Nope, that would be a cat name......

Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Power-User

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: The Capital City, Cow Hampshire, USA
Posts: 477
Good Answers: 3
#8
In reply to #2

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 6:17 AM

Agree most heartily w/ SteveS & DelltCat!;

Project work for the love of it makes an excellent portfolio; in addition, if this includes mechatronics, so much the better. It will force you to learn, & is the fastest growing segment of the profession (as should be expected, it is the youngest)

RE: Masters deg.: The CEO @ one place i worked stated "We need only ONE MBA, & I'm it!(at that time we had ~800 persons employed @ that location)

Having a Masters in Eng'g. will make you a more expensive employee (bean counters DO notice); may make hiring more difficult. If you seek employment in a highly structured venue, MSME may be a rung up the ladder; elsewise, once minimum requirements have been met, ability, drive, & personality are more valuable (do you really want to be in that highly structured environment??)

Above all: Start now!: Learn to speak in Professional Language (English, i assume) LEAVE THE STREET LANGUAGE BEHIND!! Professional speaking eliminates, for the most part, trendy stuff, F-bombs, & the like. This is a habit that you'll need to cultivate over time. If you pass the "dress-test", you may spoil it in moments if you speak as a 'Cretin'

__________________
If you always do what you've always done, You'll always get what you've always had!
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Associate

Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 51
#4

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 2:47 AM

Dear Sir,

How so ever educationally qualified an entity may be, but unless and until that entity gets adequate and right type of experience in ones specialised field then only the said entity becomes an asset to the concerned organisation.

If one is studying for any specialised post graduation degree in any faculty in any University, unless and until that entity gets adequate practical experience the concerned has to struggle a lot.

So wish you the best of luck and start seeking some good organisation which will give you adequate practical experience so as to enable you to fulfill your dreams after you achieve the post graduate degree.

Regards,

Ulhas Pradhan

P.S. When I was studying I got an opportunity to work as Honorary Trainee at one Thermal Power Station for a month , but it helped me a lot throughout my career as Utility Engineer.

Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Anonymous Poster
#6

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 3:47 AM

I started my carrier in 1961 as Trainee Engineer in Steel Foundry for one year.I went through various departments such as Rolling Mill, Electric Furnace shop, Moulding shop, Core Shop, Pattern shop, Machine Shop, where steel castings such as Axle Boxes for railway Wagons, Couplers etc were machined.

Foundry is worst place to start carrier but I took up challenge and got real shop floor al round training in all aspects of engineering.This training as helped me throughout my carrier as Mechanical Engineer. So better to start carrier from shop floor, mingle with workman know their problems and learn how to be practical in the carrier.

Suresh Sharma.

Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Anonymous Poster
#17
In reply to #6

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 11:25 AM

That's another good point - hands on experience. I owned my own machine shop and can fit, burn and weld with any iron worker or mill wright. I can also stand in front of a lathe or mill and make just about anything.

You'd be amazed how many kids can't use a micrometer or set of calipers (and not digital ones - and even fewer can read a vernier).

Experience doing something relevant will get you in more doors and more money than a MS degree will. The MS will in fact close a lot of doors.

Travis

Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Power-User

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: South Africa
Posts: 107
Good Answers: 3
#7

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 3:55 AM

Try also to get some experience in the other engineering disciplines. They almost never exist purely on their own. It will also braoden your scope for finding interesting jobs. I am Chem Eng. Have now worked for 2 years in a mech eng (structural environment) & have learnt areas I never new & possibly will not get a chance in a hurry to do this in the future.

regards

BJ Invention

__________________
"Keep on keeping on"
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Active Contributor

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Clemson, SC
Posts: 13
#9

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 7:39 AM

Thank you all so much for your replies!

Towards the middle of my last semester I started working at a plant down the road from my university. It's not really official, but I'm working as a co-op under one of the manufacturing engineers. He is giving me projects and trying to keep them aimed towards the mechanical perspective. I'm learning a lot so far and really enjoying the experience. I will probably stay here until I graduate, so I'm glad to be getting some experience under my belt; hopefully it will help when job seeking.

I tend to be very professional in the workplace, so no problems there. No tats or piercings, either. I do need to get a suit, however, for interviews and such.

I'm guessing most of you have a B.S.? If anyone has a Master's I'd like to hear from you, specifically on how it has benefited you. Or really anyone else that has furthered their education.

Again, thanks for the replies. I love to hear from experienced people and apply their advice. Keep them coming, please!

Register to Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: The Capital City, Cow Hampshire, USA
Posts: 477
Good Answers: 3
#11
In reply to #9

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 7:58 AM

Actually, i have an A.S. + 35 yr of 'dirt under my nails' & 75% of 2 more A.S. in related fields (Machine Tool Processes, Mfg Eng tech, & Mech E tech, respectively).

If you find a place where "can do" is valued, career will be most fun.

Have, in the past, looked an MIT Sci.D ("i'm no philosopher!") in the eye, & stated "That will leave you with these problems, try this, instead" & have had the more workable solution.

In the end, it will come down to a combination of:

Insight & Implementation, & Opportunity, & Luck, & Personalities (yours, relating to Others), & PERSERVERENCE.

Life + Jobs are a crap shoot; if you are enjoying the game, things will come out better.

__________________
If you always do what you've always done, You'll always get what you've always had!
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member United Kingdom - Member - New Member

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Harlow England
Posts: 16499
Good Answers: 662
#12
In reply to #9

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 9:05 AM

I love to hear from experienced people and apply their advice. Keep them coming, please!

Ok...get those hands a tad higher on the finish

Del

__________________
health warning: These posts may contain traces of nut.
Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Active Contributor

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Clemson, SC
Posts: 13
#13
In reply to #12

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 9:43 AM

At first I had no idea what you were talking about. Then it clicked. Haha thanks!

Register to Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: "Dancing over the abyss."
Posts: 4942
Good Answers: 243
#14
In reply to #9

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 9:50 AM

Hey, you've already been given plenty of great advice.

It depends if you want to be educated as a critical thinker or if you just want to have a head filled with smart sounding BS.

I am in my mid 50's, have 30 years + of experience, and started my MBA two years ago.

In my class are many freshly graduated BS students who have absolutely no practical experience in Business (let alone engineering or manufacturing). This means that they are unable to apply the book and professor lessons to any kind of context, so they are getting far less out of the class work than those of us who can relate it to our practical work, experience, or lessons hard fought in the past.

As an engineer, you really ought to get the heck out of acadamia for a while to see how the BS your professors spout is really applied- OR NOT!

Then when you go back, you can apply critical thinking to your MAsters level work, rather than just gulp what they spoon feed you.

Without context, its just not the same.

HAving tools, vs knowing how tools are used and when to use them are two very different concepts.

Get some experience!

milo

__________________
People say between two opposed opinions the truth lies in the middle. Not at all! Between them lies the problem, what is unseeable,eternally active life, contemplated in repose. Goethe
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Power-User
United States - Member - New Member

Join Date: May 2008
Location: Arizona
Posts: 356
Good Answers: 4
#10

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 7:53 AM

There is one phylosophy that states that the time and money spent getting your MS would be better spent as an enthusiastic, energetic engineer; climbing the ladder at your career, for which you'll be getting paid.

Once you start your career, never let your foot off the gas pedal. Consider everything and everyone as an opportunity to advance your career. Those above you can bring you down. Those below you can bring you down. Mix a nice dose of social participation in activities which will indirectly help your position, even if you don't particularly like them; such as bridge, golf, poker, etc.

Look around and buy some real estate, maybe vacant land; even if you have to make monthly payments. Buy at the outskirts of town, the town will grow around it, increasing the value.

Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
United States - US - Statue of Liberty - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - New Member

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Gone to Alabama with my banjo on my knee...
Posts: 5595
Good Answers: 20
#15

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 11:05 AM

All good advice so far - don't forget to cover those socks with some decent shoes though. And whatever you do, please continue to get real-world experience in the field. In my opinion, nobody should be allowed to practice engineering without some time spent first with a wrench in their hand. (Well, a metaphorical wrench, anyway - a soldering iron would do as well.)

__________________
Veni, vidi, video - I came, I saw, I got it on film.
Register to Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
2
Anonymous Poster
#16

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 11:14 AM

I would not waste my time on getting a masters in mechanical engineering. In the past 20 years of working, 5 in pneumatic conveying, 10 in the automotive conveyor industry and 5 to now in the mega yacht industry, I have not worked with anyone who has a masters in mechanical engineering.

I have seen one kid who was right out of college with a masters. He was hired for less money than I was making because he had NO EXPERIENCE because he was RIGHT OUT OF SCHOOL. He thought he'd get a masters degree and then be able to demand a higher salary. Not so. He told me he looked for a year to find a job.... truth be known he priced himself out of the market. The only reason he was hired was we needed bodies who could use Autocad.

Turns out his Autocad skills were not as advertised and when I checked a drawing he did for a sliding motor base there was more red on the page than white or black. It floored me - I have never seen a 3/4-17 thread.... turns out he didn't have a clue about standard bolt sizes and thread pitches. He made them up as he went. He didn't last long enough to get a full pay check.

The point is - you will get paid based on what you've done for me lately. A person right out of school with a BS has no experience and someone with a masters has even less experience. With a masters most employers will not give you much consideration because they know you will be wanting a salary or wage considerably higher than someone with a BS. Over the years I have worked with a lot of people who were fantastic designers who could do all of the calculations required who did not even have a BS degree and were paid quite well because they had a lot of EXPERIENCE.

Travis

Register to Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
Guru
United States - US - Statue of Liberty - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - New Member

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Gone to Alabama with my banjo on my knee...
Posts: 5595
Good Answers: 20
#19
In reply to #16

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 11:43 AM

I've never seen a 3/4-17 thread either, but it sure sounds interesting! Have you considered registering as a member here? I'll bet your continued input would be quite welcome...

__________________
Veni, vidi, video - I came, I saw, I got it on film.
Register to Reply
Active Contributor

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Clemson, SC
Posts: 13
#18

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 11:35 AM

Those are really good points about the Master's degrees that I hadn't thought of before now. It makes sense, though. I have talked to one ME that recently left the place I'm working at and she said her first job paid for her Master's degree while she was working. Any thoughts about this?

I'm also curious about where you all work (i.e.-what type of work you do on a daily basis). Just trying to get a better understanding of real world applications.

Thanks again,

Matt

Register to Reply
Guru
United States - US - Statue of Liberty - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - New Member

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Gone to Alabama with my banjo on my knee...
Posts: 5595
Good Answers: 20
#20
In reply to #18

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 11:46 AM

For my part, I'm a scientist, not really an engineer, but I have worked with many through the years, and can read blueprints with the best of 'em! I am an environmental, health, and safety professional working (now) in heavy construction.

__________________
Veni, vidi, video - I came, I saw, I got it on film.
Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1790
Good Answers: 87
#21
In reply to #20

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 11:51 AM

I work for a large international oil company, and actually we value masters degrees, so it would be an advantage working for us.

Click on the persons screen name on any post and you can see their profile. Some have them filled out others don't. My bio is there.

Register to Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: "Dancing over the abyss."
Posts: 4942
Good Answers: 243
#22
In reply to #18

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 1:35 PM

I am now Director of Industry Research and Technology for a US manufacturing trade association.

I have been Director of Quality and development for cold finished division (10 plants)of a large integrated steel producer. I have been plant manager, senior plant metallurgist, laboratory supervisor, (chemical, metallographic, mechanical testing) environmental tester (emissions, air, water), and a host of other operating and positions.

"Serving one's apprenticeship" is a labor of duty and a particularly rare one at that these days. But it is the exponent that raises the power of your education...

When you meet an engineer, it doesn't take too long to figure out if they have real experience or just "book learnin' "

Frankly, It was my operating experience that gave me the best engineering motivation... both to solve the problems and see the necessity to solve the problems.

Don't think of Masters as way to get bigger paycheck.

Think of getting relevant experience to make the value that you add to your employer worthy of that bigger paycheck.

milo

__________________
People say between two opposed opinions the truth lies in the middle. Not at all! Between them lies the problem, what is unseeable,eternally active life, contemplated in repose. Goethe
Register to Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 479
Good Answers: 9
#23
In reply to #18

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 2:59 PM

I got the MS paid for by the company while working full time.

I assume you are at Clemson U. One of my son's was accepted there, but chose VT instead. Clemson is a good school!

Register to Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: The Capital City, Cow Hampshire, USA
Posts: 477
Good Answers: 3
#24
In reply to #18

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 5:24 PM

Re: Employer paid education, Can be an excellent deal - provided that it's because they have found that you are worth keeping. On the flip side, you probably will be indentured to them for a period afterward. Will degree place you in another career path? Will you like that as well as your current position?

__________________
If you always do what you've always done, You'll always get what you've always had!
Register to Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 302
Good Answers: 4
#25

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 5:33 PM

Remember one thing: engineering is problem solving. Mechanical engineer focus on mechanical but doesn't limit to it. Get some knowledge on other area. You don't need to know how to solve every problem, you just need to know who can solve it for you.

The reason for education is not only knowledge but mostly on problem solving. There are always more then one way to solve a problem. Which one you choose depends on the constrains you have.

Oh take a basic drafting course so you know how to draw and how to dimension properly. I hate new grad drawings. 90% of the time it doesn't work at all. The other 10% will be too costly to make. Stop dimensioning with 5 decimals, please.

One more thing, real world use imperial, not metric.

__________________
Pineapple
Register to Reply
Power-User

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: The Capital City, Cow Hampshire, USA
Posts: 477
Good Answers: 3
#26
In reply to #25

Re: Student seeking general advice

06/24/2008 6:00 PM

"Oh take a basic drafting course so you know how to draw and how to dimension properly. I hate new grad drawings. 90% of the time it doesn't work at all. The other 10% will be too costly to make. Stop dimensioning with 5 decimals, please."

Amen! A paper & pencil course in drafting gives one an idea of how a drawing 'should look' ( in truly ancient times drawings were 'inked' on vellum; i.e. nearly CARVED IN STONE; really makes the phrase 'right the 1st time' have more than symbolic meaning!)

Also very valuable: some (more than cursory) time in a shop; to: 1) get a feel for what the processes can/cannot do, 2) have to actually need to machine part from a truly crummy drawing, & 3) try to actually assemble parts made from said c.drawings.

Oh, yes! There's also a deadline; please pull off a miracle; fix all engineering errors in something less than zero time. (this explains why 'newbie' engineers are sometimes looked down upon) The more you can be percieved as a part of the team, willing to take advise from the floor, the better.

& yes, overriding CAD package default dimensioning IS worth your time. It proves that you've truly thought out job requirements. Could save many $K

__________________
If you always do what you've always done, You'll always get what you've always had!
Register to Reply
Register to Reply 27 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Anonymous Poster (3); BJInvention (1); Del the cat (3); EnviroMan (3); flyinghigh (1); mblouir (3); Milo (2); Pineapple (1); sidevalveguru (4); Steve S. (3); The_curious_one (1); umpradhan (1); user-deleted-9 (1)

Previous in Forum: How do I determine the losses in an elbow?   Next in Forum: Material Composition & Differences.

Advertisement