Graduating Student Success Story: Arjun Gupta

Arjun Gupta recently graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in December 2013.  He completed the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree at the Daytona Beach campus.  He was an active campus leader, part of the Honors Program, on the Dean’s List, a tutor and more.  He completed two internships, one at Lufthansa Systems and one at Capgemini S.A.   He also completed numerous projects while on campus and made sure he participated in career development activities.  Arjun was an example student and job seeker.  He took advantage of many opportunities while in school while maintaining excellence throughout this campus experience.  Arjun recently accepted a Revenue Analyst position with United Airlines in Chicago, IL.  He made plans to continue his education and complete a master’s degree while working and to keep flying for fun.

As a graduating student, Arjun successfully navigated the career development and job search process.  He had some advice for current ERAU students about their time in school.

Open to Change

When Arjun started Embry-Riddle, he had many ambitions, from being a pilot to working in sales.  It took a while, but he was able to single out what he wanted using the campus resources available.  Several of the opportunities he took advantage of were the Industry/Career Expo, company information sessions and College of Business activities.  It was one of the United Airlines company information sessions that first caught his attention.  He was sold on the discussion about their corporate culture.  Even though he came in with a goal in mind, he researched and found what he wanted, which was not exactly what he entered school considering.  Arjun emphasized the importance of being open to other ideas since students never know what they might come across while in school.

Network

Arjun actively participated in many campus activities. He took advantage of speaking to industry contacts, making friends with alumni and going to company information sessions.  He also attended the Industry/Career Expo, met employers, got business cards and followed up with them via email.  He enjoyed talking to them about topics of personal and professional interest.  Arjun was consistently involved.  He went to open house forums hosted by his college.  He was a member of the student Advisory Board for the College of Business, where he served as a student host to the Industry Advisory Board members.  Arjun felt he was, “lucky enough to get to do these things,” but he was diligent enough to take advantage of the opportunities presented to him.

Get Involved

During his Business 101 class, he was recommended by the professor to be a part of the College of Business Student Advisory Board.  He participated in Business Eagles, a program for high performing College of Business students.  He consistently volunteered; he was the Vice President of the Humanitarian Advisory Board.  Arjun emphasized that it was important to do more than just academics; it showed that he was good with time management and focused on supporting others.

Arjun also recommended several skills that he felt were useful for his success.

  • Time management: must come to college putting time management as a top priority
  • Organization: know your personal abilities and how to use them to keep yourself organized
  • Relationship building: get to know your professors, make friends and hold conversations

Arjun offered several additional tips for job search success.

  • Focus on getting recruiters to remember you, starting your freshmen year; Arjun stayed in contact with his connections and went back to say hello every time they were on campus
  • Create a target company list and continually evaluate the targeted companies; he looked at each company he pursued for fit, culture of the organization and how it related to who he was and what he wanted
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Co-op/Internship Spotlight: Steven Bohlemann

photoSteven Bohlemann is a senior in the Aerospace Engineering program, concentrating on Propulsion with a minor in Aircraft Maintenance Science at the Daytona Beach campus. Through his minor, Steven is working on his A&P license. Steven has completed two internships to date and just started his third. His first internship was completed with GE Global Research in Munich during his junior year after a semester of Study Abroad in Germany; his second was with Lufthansa Technik Aircraft Component Services in the United States. Steven will be spending this semester working as a Service Engineering Intern with United Airlines in Houston, TX.

How did you land your internships, and how did you navigate the process?

I obtained the internship with United Airlines in their Service Engineering Department in Houston, TX as a result of the Industry/Career Expo. Make sure to go prepared to the interview; you don’t need to be an expert about the company but know simple facts. Also, the most important advice, I unfortunately realized a little late, is to BE YOURSELF in the interview. I used to think I would have to be exactly who I thought they were looking for, and this always made me really nervous. In my experiences, I have accepted three internships and been offered more; I found I had the best results when I prepared for the interview. While I change my daily attire and behavior to fit the formal occasion, I do not hide who I am. I clearly tell them what I love to do and why I am passionate about it, and if they ask, I tell them my deficiencies as well as dislikes. Remember if you play it safe, like I used to do, you will never be put at the bottom of the pile, but you will remain safely and jobless in the middle of the pile of applicants. You have to stand out. All of us, even us engineers, have unique personalities and sets of skills; let those shine through in an interview.

What have you done, and what will you be doing on your next internship?

I completed my first internship my junior year while I was having the time of my life studying abroad in Germany. I studied there for a semester, and the following semester, I was lucky enough to get an internship with GE in their Research Center in Munich, which at the time was one of their four Global Research Centers in the world. These research centers were where the next leap of technology were created, and it was incredibly awesome to work with those people. I worked in the energy production system department. I learned so much from this internship and really loved it. I became hooked on the internship experience.

My second internship was with Lufthansa Technik Aircraft Component Services in the United States. This one was far less technical when compared to my GE experience, but it was great to get another perspective on how the business and technical world coexist. I did a lot of reliability and performance studies of various components which was then presented to customers where financial consequences were discussed.

My third internship will be with United Airlines with their Service Engineering Department in Houston, TX. I am really excited to be able to call a hangar filled with airplanes, including the new 787, the office where I work.

What advice do you have for students seeking an internship?

Do not wait; I regret not going to Career Services my freshman and sophomore years and not attending the career fairs. While you most likely will not get an internship your freshmen year, get out there and practice. I used to be a very shy person and was super awkward in these type of situations. The only way you are going to get over those feelings of fear and intimidation is to PRACTICE. Put yourself in uncomfortable and foreign situations; you will inevitably learn and grow from the experience.

Did your international status cause you any challenges in attaining an internship in Germany?

It was hard to get an internship in Germany as my conversational German was pretty fluent, but I severely lacked technical German language skill, which made it harder, but not impossible, to get a position. Where there is a will there is a way, and I got an internship and overcame the language barrier. My co-workers were patient and very helpful. I was even able at the end of the internship to give a 15 minute technical presentation in German, all thanks to their help and patience with me during my internship. Here in the US, I had no problem as I am an American citizen.

What are your career aspirations and have they changed since you started your internships?

Other than being able to accumulate technical knowledge and skills from internships, these experiences have also helped me decide what I want and what I do not want to do. For example, I never thought I would’ve liked to work in Research and Development, as I mistakenly used to think it would be boring and not hands-on enough for me. I was hesitant to accept my internship at GE’s research center, but ultimately I said, I am here in Germany to expose myself to new adventures, so I decided to accept the offer. There is almost no other event in my life that has influenced me more professionally and personally than my internship at GE. I desire to ultimately work in field service/support engineering or R&D. I like that both career paths are exciting in their own respects. I would either like to be part of a team in R&D which may develop the next technological breakthrough or in field service engineering where you never know what you will be doing that day, as you cannot predict the problem that lands on your desk. From my own experiences, I have realized I love creating and building devices which are solutions to difficult, out of the norm problems, and I enjoy thinking outside of the box.

What advice would you give students who are contemplating doing an internship experience?

Umm…why in the world is someone contemplating if they should or should not do an internship? As respectfully as possible, I would say it would be ridiculous and, frankly, not smart to pass up the opportunity to do an internship. The whole purpose of going to school is to become educated to ultimately land a job in the real world. While school gives you a great foundation, it amounts to very little if it is not coupled with real world, practical experience which can be achieved through an internship. Through an internship you convert the raw knowledge learned in school into practical useful knowledge and a set of skills for your career. Doing an internship does not remotely guarantee a job; it does provide you the opportunity to set yourself apart from the next candidate, and hopefully with some luck, it is enough to get your dream job.

Please tell us about your learning experiences, both professionally and personally. What are the benefits you will take away from these experiences?

I have been at ERAU now for 5 years; I am pursuing my Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering with AOC in propulsion and a minor in Aviation Maintenance Science (obtaining my A&P License). When I look back on my college experience, I think of all the fun I had being part of the university soccer team, going to study abroad, great memories from various clubs, fun times with friends, and my internship experiences. These are the best times of our lives, so I cannot say enough, we should get out there and experience all that we can. Now is the time to try and pursue your different interests and truly see where your passion lies.

I can say my life changed when I went to study abroad, an experience which is by far the best decision I have made in my life. Not only did I have the most fun of my life, I grew as a person academically, professionally, and personally. My internship at GE Global Research Center in Munich was a great learning experience, as I was working for an American company in Germany, and my colleagues were from all over the world, to just name a few: Spain, Ireland, England,  Germany, America, Kenya, China, Mexico, Italy, Singapore and many more. This proved challenging in the beginning, as each culture was different, but what I took away was there were many different ways to get to the right answer, and you didn’t always have the right one. I learned how to work with a group of multicultural people and concluded that a diverse team may have initial short term obstacles, but I believe they are more effective and stronger in the long term than a culturally homogenous team. When employers ask me about a hard experience I went through or why I think I am a strong team player, I have a myriad of stories to provide them of evidence through the EXPERIENCE I had of living, studying and working abroad.

At GE, I was lucky to work as part of a team of scientists who took me under their wings, and they strongly impacted the person I am today and the professional I hope to be one day. I can say, I got my second internship as a result of my study abroad experience; they really liked that.  I took the lessons from GE to Lufthansa Technik, where I was mentored as well and was able to continue to develop my professional skills. These skills are invaluable to my career, and you do not learn these in school. You have to go out and experience these lessons, and hopefully, you do this before you begin your full time career.

Also, from my internship experience  and help from my advisor, I realized it would be a good choice for me to get my Airframe and Powerplant license to complement my engineering degree. I would have never done this had it not been for my time at GE, where I saw the value of not just designing some theoretical device, but also the ability to build it and comprehend the difficulties that come with constructing and maintaining components. I have definitely seen the benefit of pursuing my A&P license along with my engineering degree from employers this past career fair, as this was often the topic of conversation when I conversed with them.

I hope more students embark on adventures while in college, if that be through studying abroad, getting an internship, or putting themselves in some type of new foreign environment/experience, because not only will this make them a better professional  but also a more well-rounded person. One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” I believe we should live life to the fullest and experience all we can while in college, and that includes doing an INTERNSHIP!

Alumni Career Spotlight: Ralph Wainwright Jr.

Ralph Wainwright, DB 2010

Ralph Wainwright is a May 2010 Aeronautical Science graduate.  As a student at Embry-Riddle, Ralph did everything right. He held leadership roles, was a member of the Eagles Flight Team, volunteered, participated in several internships, kept his grades up, and worked as a flight instructor to build his time. It came as no surprise that less than a year after graduation, Ralph landed a position as a First Officer for Air Wisconsin Airlines flying the CRJ-200.

Can you share how your Flight Operations internship with Continental Airlines assisted in the progression of your pilot career?

Looking back to the Spring of 2009, the Continental Airlines internship was the best career-related decision I ever made. I was fortunate enough to intern in the Newark Airport Chief Pilot’s Office and work for the Chief Pilot of Continental’s Newark hub. My experience included FMS (flight management system) training, the high altitude chamber, various tours of numerous facilities in the aviation industry (including Boeing), and 24 hours of full motion simulator time in the 737. This internship gave me a firsthand look at the industry, as I was able to speak with many pilots on a daily basis. This was important because it validated my childhood dream to one day become an airline pilot. Along with networking and technical skills, the most important asset this internship provided me with was the ability to be granted an interview with the MINIMUM flight time required for a pilot position at Continental (which is now United).

In such a competitive industry with thousands of qualified applicants and a limited number of pilot slots, I cannot stress how important this internship can be. To put it simply, this internship is the difference in making it to a major airline at 30-35 years old versus the age of 25 (or even younger!). Be prepared to work hard during an internship, but also keep in mind that it is basically a 3-4 month interview and, should you succeed, it will certainly pay off in the end. To put the question into perspective, I am currently 22 years old in the right seat of the CRJ-200 jet, and with United Airlines forecast to hire within the next 12 months, the internship has put me in a fantastic position to eventually join United.

How has your Embry-Riddle education enhanced your position as a first officer?

Embry-Riddle provided me with an extremely well-rounded education to meet and exceed the job requirements of my first officer position. Because of the structured curriculum at ERAU, there were many important topics that had already been covered in class before I had ever stepped foot into the airline industry. These were topics that were new to most new-hire pilots such as Crew Resource Management (CRM) and Flight Management Systems (FMS), along with many others. The education provided at ERAU was extremely in-depth to the point where there were many important topics that were not even covered by airline training. This included in-depth aerodynamics, knowledge of the mechanics and components of jet engines, and numerous air traffic control classes and labs. This list was endless and ultimately set the Embry-Riddle student apart from everyone else. Flight training provided at ERAU was second to none, and having instructed/been a student at numerous flight schools, the level of safety and quality of training is incomparable to all but the airlines. Aside from this, you will find that ERAU can open many doors for your future if you work hard.

What advice would you provide to a pilot who will be graduating in the near future?

This is a really exciting time for pilots, especially those pilots in the making who are attending ERAU at the moment or will be within the next few years. Major airlines will be opening up their doors in about 12 months to hundreds and eventually thousands of pilots to replace those who must retire due to the mandatory retirement age of 65. It is important to have a plan to make sure you are in the right position to meet your goals and work for the company you want.

Always carry yourself professionally and presentably. You never know who you will meet and where. There have been many times where I have run into various people in unexpected locations (such as an airport, restaurant, etc.) who have helped my career. Opportunities can present themselves when you least expect it. It also may not hurt to always keep a resume or business card on you. Keep your resume updated constantly (I’d say about every 100 hours or so) including your logbook if you are a flight instructor. Keep an open mind when apply for jobs and going on interviews. The last time I was interviewed, I was only given a few days’ notice and I was extremely skeptical about receiving this job. I had already seen a few of my peers turned down for the position who were more qualified than I was, and it got to the point where I had considered turning down the interview in its entirety to prepare for another one I was scheduled for only a few days after. However, this was truly the job I wanted, and I had all my paperwork all ready to go so I took the chance. It certainly paid off because over a year later, I am still flying the CRJ-200 for Air Wisconsin Airlines, and I am really glad I went on the interview! Stay in touch with as many people as you can (and be friendly with them too!) because you never know who will be that  helping hand in landing you a job. When you do achieve your dream job or hopefully something close to it, please remember to be humble about your ERAU education. Your skills will speak for themselves so when you safely land your airplane during a snowstorm on a short runway in windy conditions, don’t boast about it! That will make you well-liked among your co-workers. Always be honest so…if you mess up…fess up! That is the path of least resistance of getting through a situation. It is a great time to be a pilot at ERAU so work hard now, and it will certainly pay off later!

What three traits or skills have made you the most successful in your career?

Perseverance: Since I was 3 years old watching airplanes with my parents at Newark Airport, I have always wanted to be an airline pilot. That dream has never left my sights since that day. Determination is key and if you want something bad enough, you must work hard for it. I never let anything get in my way of my goal since I started ERAU, and good decisions were a must in order to get here. I was really anxious to achieve my dream, so I put in an extra effort by giving up a few weekends to prepare for something important such as a test or check ride. Instead of taking the summers off, I spent my time more constructively by taking extra classes and working on my next flight rating. As a result, I was able to graduate a full year early and earned my Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science in 3 years. By managing my time effectively and efficiently, I was able to accomplish my goals in a shorter time period. My perseverance was the motivating factor to my success at Embry-Riddle.

Ability to work efficiently with other people: No matter what job you are in, being able to adapt to the work environment (which is extremely dynamic in aviation) and the people in it will make tasks easier to accomplish. Everyone has different insights and personalities, so it is important to accept everyone for who they are.

Attitude: Being arrogant with a “know it all” attitude will not get you anywhere in an airplane, especially with the people with whom you constantly work. I am fully confident in what I know, but I am always open to learning new things everyday. Taking your bad mood out on the world solves nothing, so I like to treat people the way I would like to be treated.

Co-op/Intern Spotlight: Lauren Guddahl

Lauren Guddahl, BS Aerospace Engineering

In fall 2010, Lauren Guddahl left the United States for Germany to complete an unforgettable engineering internship with MTU Aero Engines. During her time in Germany, she had the chance to learn the culture and the language while gaining new computer skills, exposure to the working world, and practical experience. This past fall, Lauren decided to complete a second internship, this time with United Continental Holdings, dba United Airlines as an Aircraft Structures Intern. Both of these experiences have given Lauren knowledge and perspective that she would likely not otherwise possess, along with some great stories to share in future interviews.

What motivated you to do an internship abroad with MTU Aero Engines?  

In May 2010, I did a study abroad program in Siena, Italy through Embry-Riddle.  I have always loved to travel, and I absolutely fell in love with Italy and the idea of exploring the rest of Europe.  The experience was one I can never forget and definitely changed my life for the better.  Once I returned, however, I decided to focus more on school and my career.  In doing this, I began to actively search for internships.  I was initially searching for something during the summer or spring as I thought I was too late for the fall, but I found out that MTU Aero Engines was still searching for an intern, so I looked into it more closely.  The idea of returning to Europe was extremely enticing, and as I researched the company itself, I became more and more interested in working there.  I know I never would have even considered it if it had not been for the study abroad in Italy, but I still wasn’t too sure about moving to a country where I didn’t know anyone or speak the language!  I applied anyway, and I was ecstatic when I was offered the position.  I had neglected to tell anyone I had even applied for an internship (let alone one in Germany!) so after sharing and discussing the awesome news with my parents, some close friends, and the intern who was working at MTU at the time, I knew that I had to take advantage of such an opportunity.

Did you have any challenges to get visas or work authorization from Germany?

As a U.S. citizen, the visa process for working in Germany was theoretically simple.  There is a German consulate in Miami that can issue visas in a few weeks as long as they have proof that I would be working for a company.  While this seemed relatively simple, it was time consuming as I was not able to get proof of my work authorization until I had an official contract and filled out some other documents.  Once I received the contract and other documents, however, I reached my first obstacle: everything was in German!  I unfortunately did not have any knowledge of German prior to this experience, so I was starting to become more and more nervous about the whole ordeal.  Eventually, though, I managed to translate the documents and get everything sent back to MTU, who then was responsible for submitting a request for work authorization on my behalf.  I was told it would take about a week for everything to be processed so that I could apply for my visa, but it took much longer than that because all of the documents had to be originals.  As my start date approached, I thought about backing out so many times.  I was worried about so many things that I look back at now and can’t help but chuckle.

Initially, I was supposed to start working on September 1st.  With the delay in getting my work authorization, I had to push that back until October 1st.  In the interim, I still had not gotten that ever so important document that would allow me to apply for my visa, which was still going to take a few weeks to process.  After speaking with my Human Resources contact at MTU and a few phone calls to the German Embassy, I learned that I could get my visa in Germany on the same day as long as I had the aforementioned work authorization document.  By this time, however, I had already gone back home to New York as summer classes had ended.  In the confusion of trying to get everything ready for moving to Munich for the next five months and going back home, my work authorization had finally been delivered, but to Florida two days before I was supposed to leave for Germany.  Luckily, I was able to have it overnighted to me so I could actually get my visa once I arrived there.

The place I had to go once I was in Germany to get my visa was called the KVR.  I had every intention of getting there first thing in the morning the day after I landed in Germany as I was told it was similar to a DMV structure, but I had the wrong directions to get there!  Munich has an extremely convenient transportation network and it was easy to find where I wanted to go, but I had the wrong address to begin with.  After walking around the neighborhood I thought it was in for a good hour, I finally mustered up some courage to ask someone for directions.  Ordinarily, I would have asked much sooner, but knowing nothing more than basic words in German, my communication skills were extremely limited.  It was an amusing process of pantomiming and pointing, but eventually I ended up in the right place and I was able to get my long sought after visa.  However, the visa was only good for four months.  Once I started working, I had to show that I had entered the country and my visa had been approved in order for MTU to obtain another work authorization document for me which would allow me to extend my visa for the duration of my internship.  At the time, the entire visa process was one of the most stressful and nerve wrecking things I had to deal with.  As I look back on it now, though, the entire thing seems amusing to me as the five months I stayed in Germany working with MTU were some of the most unforgettable experiences!

Tell us about your learning experience, both professionally and personally. Did you find it difficult working/living in a foreign country without speaking the language?

I learned so much more than I could have possibly imagined working at MTU. While I had worked in an office before, this was my first experience working in a technical position.  At first, I was extremely frustrated because I felt that I knew nothing useful to contribute.  While the people in my department were extremely friendly and helpful, it was clear the preferred language was German, which I knew very little of.  As time went on, however, I adapted to my surroundings.

My daily tasks varied from day-to-day after the first few weeks.  I was initially responsible solely for learning UniGraphics, a CAD program similar to CATIA.  Once I mastered the program, I was given various assignments to create new parts, update older ones and their drawings.  After I became more familiar with the company and the manufacturing process, I was given other tasks that would require me to speak with the machinists to collect data from the production floor.  I would then compile this information into an Excel sheet or a PowerPoint presentation.  Other projects I worked on consisted of translating information from German to English.  One of the neat things about working for MTU was that I learned how a company functions, especially when they have branches in different locations.  The production headquarters for MTU is located in Munich, but they have parts being made in Poland as well.  This made it essential for documents used by both branches to be in English as it had been deemed the official language of MTU.

I also enjoyed the work environment at MTU.  There were many facilities available for workers such as a gym, library, and a supermarket.  There was only one cafeteria within a reasonable distance for employees without a car, which was on the “campus,” but it had amazing food for a subsidized cost.  At least once a week, traditional German food was served, which allowed me to try a new cuisine without spending too much money.  Scheduling was extremely lax compared to the work structure most people are familiar with: 9 to 5, Monday through Friday.  The only thing that mattered at MTU was that you had an average working time of 35 hours per week.  This was especially nice since I would occasionally have a project that I would work on for several days without seeing daylight, but then I could have a three or four day weekend without taking any time off.

While I did learn a lot of technical terms and about the manufacturing process, I learned much more about myself as an individual.  I have always been rather independent, but I never realized how much I could do on my own if I had to.  I also never appreciated how much I do need people.  I wouldn’t classify myself as a loner by any standard, but I do enjoy time to myself more than most people deem reasonable.  Being forced to be alone, however, was a completely new concept for me and one I most definitely did not enjoy.

Additionally, I discovered how nice complete strangers could be.  Assumptions are made that most people are generally cold to the rest of the world simply because they just don’t care.  While on several of my many weekend trips throughout Western Europe, I was graciously helped by a local (or someone who at least knew the area well enough) when I was looking at a map or clearly lost.  I didn’t even have to ask for help – it was automatically given to me by a passerby who could tell I was a tourist.  When I was stranded at a train station for an evening on my way to Prague, two café owners allowed me to wait inside and gave me a full meal and hot tea even though they were closed because it was cold outside.  While most of us would do these things for people we know, we are less likely to offer our compassion to strangers.  It shocked me how common it was elsewhere, though.  Of course there are those people who wouldn’t help, but I found that most people would and it has become one of my goals to follow that mentality.

When I first arrived in Germany, I was extremely excited about everything that not being able to communicate with people didn’t exactly cross my mind as becoming a difficulty.  After a few days, however, it all hit me at once.  As I mentioned, people at MTU could speak English, but it was not preferred.  When I was involved in a conversation, my co-workers would try to teach me words and phrases, but it was still frustrating for both parties.  It did make things extremely difficult at first, but eventually we found an effective way to communicate.  Outside of MTU, many people could speak English.  I did pick up the important phrases and a bit more of the basic conversations, but I have to admit, if there is one language to know, it is definitely English.  This may be an extremely arrogant viewpoint for all native English speakers, but it is the most commonly spoken language and is the most probable reason for why English speaking countries do not take learning a foreign language as seriously as others in my opinion.  Most of Europe requires two languages to be studied in addition to the native one.

I see that you are doing a second internship with United Airlines currently.  What are the benefits you will take away from these two internships when looking for a full-time career?

My internship with Continental/United (I use the two names with a backslash because I was there during the official time when the FAA approved the merger of the two airlines) in the fall was also an amazing experience.  The opportunities I had from working with them are innumerable.  Having an inside look to what goes on in more than one company gave me a lot of insight on certain aspects regarding daily operational procedures.  While I was treated well at both companies and loved what I was doing in both positions, I definitely felt more involved with Continental/United.  Since I was part of the technical operations department, I was legally considered a Continental employee until the merger was FAA official on November 30, 2011.  Whether this feeling was due to the fact that I could generally understand all of the conversations that took place around me, I had more technical experience at that point, or I was more interested in the structures side of aircraft than engines could all be considered, but it is definitely something that will help me decide what type of full-time position I would like once I graduate.

I believe that having the interview and practical experiences will also assist me in searching for a job because I will have an idea of the general questions an employer might ask me.  I will be able to describe in detail certain projects I worked on, which might give me a leading edge over another prospective employee.  I know I had my doubts about doing both of my internships, but I am more than grateful that I took advantage of the offers because there are so many more things that I learned on my internships that I feel could never really be learned in school.  There is definitely not enough hands on experience when you are in school, and that’s what I valued most about working with MTU and Continental/United.

What advice would you give students who are contemplating doing an internship experience?

DO IT!  There is no substitution for an internship!  I truly believe everyone could gain something from an internship, and I can’t understand why it is not a requirement for all majors to have one.  At orientation my freshman year, one of the speakers told us one thing I will never forget: “There are two things every student should do while in college: a study abroad and an internship.”  I could not agree more with these words, especially now.  The experience, knowledge, and contacts you gain are not comparable to what you learn in school.  It also gives you insight to what you may or may not want to do.  I thoroughly enjoyed using CATIA every day of my EGR 120 class, and I thought my internship with MTU was going to be just as enjoyable.  I did appreciate the experience, but I learned it is definitely not what I want a career in.

The fundamentals and theories are important and essential for getting any position, but experience is also necessary.  While I am aware that most students do not want to postpone graduating a semester later than originally anticipated (I was one of those people not too long ago), it is completely worth it!  You go to school to get a job – if you’re being offered job experience while you are still in school – there is no reason to decline it.  I have too many friends who were extremely successful in school, but they have graduated and cannot secure a job or get accepted into a graduate program because they lack experience.  An internship gives you exactly that!

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