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Old 06-10-2013, 04:45 PM   #1
Gallowbraid OP
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Jobs in the industry.

So we've finally convinced my 18 year old that it's time to start preparing for his future. He's raced motocross and loves everything about the sport. He's incredibly strong in math and science, and has considered a mechanical engineering degree and making an attempt to work for the big factories. Any suggestions or guidance from the masses? Anyone working in the industry and able to share some advice?
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:18 PM   #2
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Not really bike related but if he is interested in motosports in general take a look at my alma mater just a hour or so away from your place in GA.

Clemson has a graduate department, only one in the nation, specifically for automotive engineering and I would think as an undergrad he could get a lot of exposure to motosport engineering. I know they do a fair amount of stuff with NASCAR. Who knows maybe a graduate degree in automotive enginering after a BS in ME.


http://cuicar.com/

http://www.clemson.edu/centers-insti...hipwinner.html

http://www.clemson.edu/centers-insti...miaarticle.htm
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:45 PM   #3
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There are a lot of great schools out there with strong mechanical engineering programs with ties to the automotive industry. I'd encourage your son looking for a ME program with a history in involvement in Formula SAE or similar programs. It's a bit far from you, but the ME program at The University of Texas-Arlington has an incredible record with their students competing and winning F-SAE competition for a couple of decades or so. I've know the program head for many years and have driven one of their retired cars. You wouldn't believe what these kids can do with a motorcycle engine and chassis design. Too bad this program wasn't available when I was his age- I might have stayed with Mechanical Engineering.
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:13 PM   #4
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I would check the cost of sending him to Canada to take Engineering if money is a major factor. Places up here like Carleton University also offer the Formula SAE 4th year course.

Just prepare him to understand that Engineering Degrees are very tough. Part of the plan is to make 50% drop out in the first year. The last 3 years are an exercise in driving you insane as a test of your substance. If you make it you will eventually be able to call yourself an Engineer but you won't likely do any of the stuff you actually learned in University.

Engineering can be as hands off or hands on as he wants it which is nice. A factory would likely have day to day operational stuff going on as well as longer term programs that need to be dealt with so again, there's options if you get bored.

Steve
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:49 PM   #5
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What ever he does, research the placement from the school, and the job in general. To many kids are following their dreams these days, nowhere.

Mechanical Engineer is a good field. It may not be what he thinks it is. But it will most likely provide him a career.

Taking the first year or two at a local school will save money, and boost his GPA.

The school is important, and it isn't. You do see companies that recruit from the same place they went to. It may get you foot in the door. After a few years, it doesn't matter that much.

Cooping while in school looks good on his resume, may provide a job, or may save him and a company some time, if he doesn't like something too. Some coops pay decent money too.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:02 PM   #6
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I have been checking out schools for a year, in various trades. They are being quite vague with "placement" information, or data about where thier graduates are ending up.

When I asked one instructor, "can you tell me some sucess stories?"

He replied with a question, "Do you know anyone in the industry, ? we really encourage networking"

Not the story I would like to hear.
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:01 AM   #7
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I see you are in MN. You might want to consider MI Tech. Considered a very good engineering school. Lots of places to ride when you visit him too.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:22 AM   #8
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I am a younger guy at 24 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from a Nationally ranked engineering school University of Missouri - Rolla. It has Formula SAE car (does well), Baha, and Solar Car I did not participate in the clubs (regretably) but I was a B student with a 3.15 GPA in my major. I have a strong background in engine mechinics car or tractor, desiel on/off road, motorcycles (mostly street), and a higher than average mechanical aptitude. That being said

I spent the last year trying to get a job in the motorcycle industry as an engineer or manager or whatever they would hire me to do. In my opinion you have to be one lucky SOB to get in because I recieved 0 call backs and one email from Kawasaki motors division that said NOPE (not literal but ya...)
I also spent the year prior trying to apply for jobs in the automotive and heavy equipment industry since that is pretty much my area of expertese, and notta.... John Deere which I have rebuilt dozens of thier engines litterly said "go away we dont want to talk to you, next" since my GPA was not 3.3.

I am not trying to discourage but for me it seems that the motorcycle industry is an impenitrable fortress for career choices unless you get lucky.
Just my two cents

I can say that engineering is a wonderful education choice!
You can go anywhere and do anything without boundries. You can be a manager, designer, consultant, salesman, hr person, whatever... the skys the limit and the job market is on FIRE for engineers I put my resume out for one month and my phone blew up with opportunity in any location you can think of. Best decision I ever made

As far as placement for UMR or its current name Missouri Science and Technology (MS&T) all of my engineering friends including about 20 or so Mechanical engineers (among other people that I associated with) ALL had jobs at graduation or shortly thereafter.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:27 AM   #9
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Don't know about the motorcycle side of things, but GA Tech seems to have a decent amount of students involved in motorsports. They tend to run a car regularly at the GRM $20XX Challenge, which could be good resume fodder.

I've got a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and its not a bad route to go, but depending on your son's math skills, tread lightly. Engineering Mechanics and Industrial Engineering are two other programs you might want to look into. Fortunately, there's a decent amount of crossover between E Mech and ME, so if you decide you are more suited the other, you won't have wasted too many credit hours.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by SteveROntario View Post
I would check the cost of sending him to Canada to take Engineering if money is a major factor. Places up here like Carleton University also offer the Formula SAE 4th year course.

Just prepare him to understand that Engineering Degrees are very tough. Part of the plan is to make 50% drop out in the first year. The last 3 years are an exercise in driving you insane as a test of your substance. If you make it you will eventually be able to call yourself an Engineer but you won't likely do any of the stuff you actually learned in University.

Engineering can be as hands off or hands on as he wants it which is nice. A factory would likely have day to day operational stuff going on as well as longer term programs that need to be dealt with so again, there's options if you get bored.

Steve
I agree with the comment about tough. It was so bad many of us engineering students when asked out major replied Pre-business. Sad thing is many of them became our bosses at 2X or more the salary.

I would discourage engineering as a career. Become a optometrist or pharmacist. Much easier.

Rod
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:30 PM   #11
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Even in this economy, I think there is a shortage of engineers. Kids in general are not going for technical stuff.

I don't think you can just go after fun stuff. You need to get a job, and get some experience, then take some time to find one. Few years on the resume will help.

If you encourage your kid to follow his dream and get in motorsports, he will be living in your basement.

Engineering starts out at decent pay right out of the gate. It plateaus kinda fast thought. Lots of places try to get you into management, which I have no interest in.


I was listening on the radio about how many kids go to school for journalism, and the incredibly small numbers that get a job. To me, that is just a waste of their parents money. Then you got kids, saying it is not fair they got to pay these loans off, since they can't get a job.
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:02 AM   #12
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A college degree is about three things: the classes you take, the grades you make, and the hands you shake.

From the first week in any program a person has to find a way to make themselves stand out (in a positive sense!). The classes and the contacts are all about gaining the necessary skills and generating internships that in turn generate job offers.

Good luck!
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Old 06-12-2013, 11:45 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by blk-betty View Post
Not really bike related but if he is interested in motosports in general take a look at my alma mater just a hour or so away from your place in GA.

Clemson has a graduate department, only one in the nation, specifically for automotive engineering and I would think as an undergrad he could get a lot of exposure to motosport engineering. I know they do a fair amount of stuff with NASCAR. Who knows maybe a graduate degree in automotive enginering after a BS in ME.


http://cuicar.com/

http://www.clemson.edu/centers-insti...hipwinner.html

http://www.clemson.edu/centers-insti...miaarticle.htm
My buddy went to Clemson for this program and got a job with the Bavarian Motor Werkes right out of school.

Now he works for Tesla.
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Unstable Rider View Post

He replied with a question, "Do you know anyone in the industry, ? we really encourage networking"
This is the truth in all jobs now. You need to make a concerted effort to network, join clubs, associations, heck even blogs. Anything you can do to get your name out there and know people. It's a lot easier to hire the guy you know that is good than the guy you don't know that claims to be great. Most people that are established in their careers are happy to spend time with those that are just starting out; providing they show ambition, drive and aptitude.

Pick you school, focus 120% (the hardest school work is still easier than busting your ass at work 50/60/80 hours per week) and meet everyone.

I'm not an ME and I screwed up and dropped out of college 20 years ago (Physics myself). I've also not interviewed for my last 3 jobs (16 years). I do work too hard though and that's the dues I pay for not having a degree.
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Old 06-12-2013, 12:55 PM   #15
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There don't seem to be a lot of engineering jobs around these days except for defense stuff in my area. I used to work as an Electrical Designer (no degree), but was laid off in 2008. It seems a lot of the jobs have gone overseas due to manufacturing moving out of the states. India in particular has a lot of engineers over here.
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