Category Archives: Student Stories

Stories about the Career Journeys of Michigan Tech students.

From Intern to Full-time Position

Matthew Rudy is off to ITC Holdings after graduation to pursue a full-time position!

Matthew had an internship in the planning department for ITC this past summer. He was the first intern the economic planning group ever hired, and Matthew’s skills and motivation exceeded his supervisor’s expectations. At the end of his internship, Matthew was offered a full-time position starting after graduation.Matthew’s advice to other students is to network, network, network! He advises students to, “Go out and meet with as many recruiters as you can. Start networking companies early. They will remember you throughout your time at Michigan Tech.”

“Go to industry days, go to Career Fair, go to as many events as possible. By going to these events, you will meet  recruiters that will know you by name.”

Matthew is an Electrical Engineering student at Michigan Tech.
Written by Morgan Laajala, Communications Intern, Career Services 

A Casual Conversation: How Allison got her Co-op at Kimberly-Clark

Kimberly Clark“Network with company reps as much as possible. Having that personal connection with someone… is very helpful on the job hunt.” -Allison Dorn, Mechanical Engineering Student at Michigan Tech.

Allison already had an internship lined up  for Summer 2017, but she still wanted to attend the Spring 2017 Career Fair. She went with no expectations and received a co-op offer for Spring 2018- one year away.

Allison knows it’s important to stay relevant, so she attends career events like industry days, employer info sessions, resume blitz, mock interviews, and the Career Fair cookout. Her goal is to brush up on her interview skills and distribute her resume.

Allison became interested in Kimberly-Clark when they hosted an event with the Society of Women Engineers.

At Career Fair, she noticed there were no students lined up at Kimberly-Clark.  She went to talk to them on a whim. Knowing she had her internship coming up, she wasn’t looking for anything but a conversation. After a great conversation with a  KC rep, they wanted to interview her for a Spring 2018 co-op. Allison scheduled her interview for the following day and received an offer two days after Career Fair.

Allison advises other students to “network before career fair, during different company info sessions and at Career Services’ events- so that when you get to career fair you already have established relationships.”

Allison also advises students to always be prepared. She says, “The two weeks before career fair, you should have resumes on you at all times! You never know when you will have a chance to give it to a company rep!”

Written by Morgan Laajala, Communications Intern, Career Services


A Clear Career Path: How Sooraj got his Full-time Job

Sooraj Rehan Sooraj Rehan_cropis a mechanical engineer heading to Cummins, Inc. to pursue a full-time position.

Sooraj created a clear career path for himself to find success. Sooraj focused on the kind of career he wanted and the companies he was interested in working for. He chose relevant classes and coursework, worked hard to get good grades, and completed an internship.  Sooraj applied for hundreds of jobs before landing an offer from Cummins, Inc.

Part of Sooraj’s personal career journey was to take advantage of CareerFEST resources at Michigan Tech. Sooraj attended employer meet and greets, a mock interview, and an advising appointment.

Sooraj’s advice to other students is, “Have a clear goal and do not be distracted by anything else. Hard work is life.”

Written by Morgan Laajala, Communications Intern, Career Services


Be Yourself: How a Math and Psych Major Landed her Co-op

Rylee Price_cropRylee Price is heading to Greenheck for a Production Supervisor co-op this spring. She went to Career Fair with one goal: to prove that her mathematics and psychology majors are useful to recruiting companies.

Rylee scheduled an interview with Greenheck and attended their Co-op Day. She interviewed with five different recruiters who were looking to hire co-ops. Riley used Co-op Day to network, show off her skill set, and ask questions about available positions.

Rylee’s advice for other students is to be yourself! She says, “Be confident in who you are and your capabilities. Be willing to learn, accept challenges, and make mistakes. Don’t fear rejection, and be ready to put yourself out there. The greatest advice I could give is to know how to market yourself!”

 

Written by Communications Intern- Morgan Laajala. 


Making Connections: How Sachin Landed a Full-time Job at Cloudflare

Written by Morgan Laajala, Communications Intern at Career Services

 

Sachin Fernandes, a Michigan Tech Alumni '17 with a degree in Computer Engineering, working at Cloudflare.
Sachin Fernandes, a Michigan Tech Alumni ’17 with a degree in Computer Engineering, working at Cloudflare.

It was a LinkedIn post and following his gut that inspired Sachin to look at available jobs at Cloudflare,  a company with services he’d used,  good principles he recognized and cutting edge technology.   He looked into different  positions to better understand the type of technology talent they were looking for, and he decided to “give it a shot.”

After doing his research, Sachin emailed an engineering manager at Cloudflare named Tony.  Tony had a similar technology  profile and seemed excited to connect with Sachin.

Sachin shared his relevant engineering experience with Tony and inquired about an available internship at Cloudflare. Sachin was disappointed and discouraged when he found out that someone else was hired for the internship. However,  Kirsti, a Career Services Advisor at Michigan Tech, helped Sachin  keep his spirits up and encouraged him not to give up.

Sachin sent monthly emails to Tony about his current projects and reached out to other employees at the company. He says, “Never be scared to email or text someone, it always pays off.” Sachin was later recommended for an internship by Tony and other connections he’d made at Cloudflare.

Over the course of a few weeks, Sachin had multiple phone interviews and was invited to their San Francisco office to interview. To prepare for his interviews, Sachin reviewed Cloudflare’s open source projects to understand the company’s process of writing and building software.

Sachin interviewed at Cloudflare on October 31, 2016, and felt an immediate connection with the company.  He was amazed by the facility and knew that he wanted to work there. After returning to Michigan Tech, Cloudflare had Sachin complete a final interview with a senior engineer. The interview was a  two-way conversation that made Sachin feel comfortable and allowed him to ask questions and solve problems provided by the interviewer.

A few days later, Sachin accepted an internship offer that turned into a full-time position. Sachin’s tip for students is to always send a thank you note to everyone who interviews them and helps them during the process.


Conciseness in Communication is Powerful

In High School, I remember the first assignment that needed to be typed and not hand-written.  I had to get my mother to do the typing for me!  The technology of manual typewriters, ribbons, and white-out demanded a high degree of skill, manual dexterity, and practice.  Advancements in word-processors, electronics, and printers have made this a distant memory.  There is no question that documents created today are easier to read, analyze, and search.  

Videos and Infographics seem to be in a similar realm.  The software to create and edit videos has evolved to be nearly as simple as word processing.  The file sizes and amount of information processed is “orders of magnitude” larger, but the process is surprisingly simple.

The focus on being concise and efficient hasn’t changed.  

Students struggle with the idea of making a 1-page resume and a brief cover letter.  They constantly have more information to add to the single piece of paper used to summarize their life and accomplishments.  Conceptually, the focus on the audience and what is important to them is extremely difficult when you are personally invested in the topic.  

Last year, we made a decision to make short summary videos of the CareerFEST events held on campus.  Taking 6 hours of raw footage from any event and distilling into 2-minute videos doesn’t seem fair!  There were hours of planning meetings, scheduling, and logistics that went into these events.  But, when you watch the final product, the focus needs to be on the design and outcomes of the event.  The videos are available on: https://www.youtube.com/user/MTUCareer

Today’s student has grown up with access to the Internet in their hand – both literally and figuratively.  They would much rather see infographics, diagrams, and videos to describe events and complex relationships.  Why not watch the video online rather than read the book?  I have to admit, when these things are done right, I’d rather watch a video or review and infographic too!


Co-op experiences produce graduates desired by industry

Rich Wells, Vice President of Michigan Operations for Dow Chemical, walked into a room of talented students from top Universities across the U.S.. These students were working as employees at Dow’s diverse chemical production facility in Midland, Michigan. Each student’s job is not to sweep floors but to take part in a wide variety of meaningful projects that will significantly impact the company financially, while allowing each student to develop meaningful career skills.

The first question for Rich from these student co-ops was what skills did he see entry level engineers lacking? He quickly listed off five areas. 1) Decision making – being comfortable making decisions with limited data. 2) Trusting the knowledge you have gained in school and build on it. 3) Problem-solving skills that allow you to break down complex challenges and develop an array of solutions. 4) Interpersonal skills ranging from working effectively in diverse groups to constructing a clear and concise e-mail. 5) Producing results where he notes that answering e-mails does not qualify as a result. Dow Chemical structures student co-op assignments to develop and foster these skills in young engineers.

Caleb, a chemical engineering student at Michigan Tech from Leelanau, Michigan, was assigned to the pesticide production division. His process engineering duties included working with a diverse workgroup in both age and experience. Caleb’s communication strategy followed the saying “two eyes, two ears, one mouth”, meaning we were all meant to spend more time observing & listening and less time talking. Caleb learned volumes of information from his mentor Dave and the hourly operators like Scott who had been working there for over 20 years. In the process he gained their respect, allowing him to lead by influence as he successfully completed his projects.

Holly, a third-year chemical engineering student at Michigan Tech from Essexville, Michigan, was assigned the role of process safety engineer. Her job was to ensure all chemical storage and shipping containers were labeled with appropriate hazardous material signage. If these containers were involved in an accident, a labeling mistake can cost lives along with millions of dollars in fines. Holly developed the ability to build a network of ‘expert’ resources as well as a process to accomplish the task for the diverse number of chemicals and storage units.

Andrew, a third year Mechanical Engineering student at Michigan Tech from Reece, Michigan, was tasked to assess and recommend new water pumps to be purchased for the manufacturing complex. These pumps supplied water for steam generators vital for successful operations of chemical production throughout the facility. Andrew’s recommendation must satisfy needed flow rates at an acceptable cost.

Each of these students was given work meaningful to operations of one of Dow’s largest productions facilities. These students were provided mentors, needed resources, and the support of their superiors. They brought the knowledge they gained from their educational experiences, combined it with the practical knowledge they gained from their peers, and developed multidisciplinary teams to successfully solve the challenges they were assigned.

Dow Chemical’s co-op/internship program allows students to put their acquired knowledge to work in a real world setting. Caleb, Holly, and Andrew will leave this experience having not only provided Dow with valued contributions, but also having developed the skills that Rich Wells and industry covenant in their new college recruits.


Great Career Opportunities In #Steel

Arcelor_Tour_Group_Photo_IMG_6526Huskies have a long and proud history of careers in the steel industry.  To help students learn about the opportunities available to them, ArcelorMittal partnered with Michigan Tech to transport a bus full of students from Houghton, MI to Northwest Indiana.  These students had a chance for an all-access tour of the Indiana Harbor facility along with some unique dining and sightseeing opportunities.

During the tour, students saw first-hand some of the challenges and opportunities of careers in the factory.  They learned the importance of teamwork and safe work practices.  Since the tour consisted primarily of first and second-year students, these lessons will help them in their future careers, regardless of their degree or the company they work for.

Some of the post-tour surveys revealed what the students learned:

  • “Everyone we spoke with seemed genuinely invested in the company and also what they are making”
  • “Employees were very satisfied with their jobs”
  • “It is very important for a company to be good to the people that work for them”
  • “…an opportunity to assume responsibility from day one on the job…”
  • “The company…still allows personal fulfillment”

Before the students took the tour, 50% said they probably would not have considered a career in the Steel Industry.  After the tour, 93% of the students said they would consider working for ArcelorMittal.


Messages from Commencement – Pursue your Passion!

Commencement ceremonies are occurring in high schools, colleges, and universities across the country. For graduates, it is a time of anxiety, relief, hope, and choices. A key component of each ceremony is the keynote address by an honored guest whose job it is to capture the magnitude of the moment. They are also asked to provide some insight or pearls of wisdom that can aid you in the journey you are about to embark on with your newly acquired knowledge.

Many commencement speakers focus on the importance of discovering your passion and pursuing it relentlessly. Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, stated “I hope you find yourself on one path but longing for something else, you’ll find a way to get there. And if that isn’t right, try again. Try until you find something that stirs your passion, a job that matters to you and matters to others. It’s a luxury to combine passion and contribution. It’s also a clear path to happiness.”

JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter book series, acknowledges the role that failure will play in your future “You might never fail on the scale I did. But some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you fail by default.”

Others like Larry Page, founder of Google, express the value of dreaming big. “I think it is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. I know that sounds completely nuts. But, since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition. There are so few people this crazy that I feel like I know them all by first name. They all travel as if they are pack dogs and stick to each other like glue. The best people want to work the big challenges.”

Apple founder Steve Jobs spoke of the value of following your own wants and desires in his address. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it in living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Success in life is a journey not a destination. Each of these commencement speakers has faced obstacles, failures, and immense challenges throughout their lives. They each communicate the value of discovering their passion because that propelled them to overcome each of these challenges and achieve their goals. Commencement is a time to reflect on your accomplishments and begin your next journey. Pursue a career and goals you are passionate about, and the best is yet to come!