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What are the best steps forward to follow for a mechanical engineer in their senior college year.

I am a Mechanical Engineering student at AUB, and I am currently at the beginning of my senior year. I would like to set a few midterm and long term plans for my graduation, and I would appreciate some advice on where I should look for opportunities in the industry and how to reach out for recruiters and professionals. I hope that your answer would help me plan the start of my career correctly. mechanical-engineering mechanical-engineer career middleeast


As a mechanical Engineering graduate, I would say LinkedIn has tremendous potential when leveraged correctly. What are your interests in Mechanical Engineering? My advice would be finding people with similar interests and career plans through the network and messaging them. Try to stay in touch too, without being an 'asker' and instead working on developing your network. Prasanna I.

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Haitham’s Answer

At AUB, you are set for a good certification program. I don't want to disappoint you, but in Lebanon you are limited to few fields of engineering in your career. HVAC, plumbing and fire fighting, or what we sum as MEP works for construction. industries in Lebanon are limited to simple applications. Future may uncover good boom in rhe emerging market and things may start to change. Good luck.

Thank you for your reply Haitham. I have completed an internship with Middle East Airlines previously, and that is the only opportunity that I have found in Lebanon until now. So, I totally agree with you about the situation in Lebanon, and I am setting my plans to search for work opportunities abroad. However, I am finding it difficult (Coronavirus epidemic aside) to find opportunities abroad mainly because I have no contacts in the engineering field, and I do not know where to start. I hope you have some advice about how to go about doing that. Again, I am very grateful for your reply Haitham. Abedel-Hameed H.

Start with LinkedIn. I do some work globally using some contacts. After COVID-19, as now the economy is slipping and there have been many layoffs in the US and other main markets globally, it would be a hard task. This may last for couple of years. You are still young. My advice is to work for a small company with hands-on experience to start your career. Take a step forward always and accept any challenge that may appear to you. No one wants to hire an engineer and wait for couple of years until they become productive. Salaries are usually high in this profession and companies have little tollerance for cost. Haitham Khamissi

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Mike’s Answer

Hi,
I graduated as an ME over 25 years ago. I started innairo space and hated it. Over the years os was a Project Manager for a compan-0y that built machines for the Pharma industry, tech support for the sales team and then ended up in sales from industrial to enterprise software. The good new is an ME degree teaches critical thinking that can. be used for multiple careers the hard part is determining where to start.

Leveraging the great basketball coach John Wooden "Let The Game Come To You". This means don't be afraid to try different jobs. In my case I did not have a lot of oppositions I took what was offered. From that I learned what I liked and disliked and used that info for the next job. Think of getting a job as what will I learn to make me more valuable, agile and flexible for future positions or jobs.

I hope this helps,

Mike
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Gustavo’s Answer

Hello! The first step is to ask yourself which area do you have the most affinity in Mechanical Engineering? What interests you most in the development of work as a Mechanical Engineer? Mechanical Engineering has several aspects, from the marine industry to the development of high precision and sensitive machines. My suggestion is that you choose a path you like more within Mechanical Engineering and start to go deeper into this area. Talk to your Professors, try to get into different projects at the University, and increase your network of contacts with people who already work professionally in the type of activity you intend to pursue. It, in my opinion, is the most sensible attitude to take, if possible try to do an internship to see if it is this aspect of Engineering you want. In this way, you will be creating certainties and options about the best choice to be made. I hope I have helped my best regards.

Thank you so much for your exhaustive reply Gustavo. I am actually interested in two tracks: Thermal and Fluid Engineering and Mechatronics. To follow up on these tracks, my final year project is going to be in the Mechatronics track while my undergraduate research is going to be in the Thermal and Fluid track during my final year. My main problem is that I am a first-generation graduate in my immediate family and particularly a first engineering graduate in the wider scope of my family. So I have no clue yet on how to approach employers or where to look at all. I think the better question to ask here is how can I start my career as a Mechanical Engineer, where to look first, and what to expect. Thank you for your help, Gustavo! I am looking forward to your reply. Abedel-Hameed H.

Well, the first step is to become a LinkedIn member. Linkedin has several opportunities for internship programs that you can choose your level in the Profession; in you particular case, you are in entry-level finding an internship. I believe it is an excellent point for you to become a LinkedIn member if you are not. One of the most significant opportunities that LinkedIn offered to us is the fact to connect to several Professionals in our area. Think about that, become a LinkedIn member and trying to communicate to another's Mechanical Engineering students, internships, recruiters and people connected with the Engineering business. It is a recommendation to you first of all. I hope to helped you, my best regards. Gustavo Braga

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Michael L’s Answer

Hi Abedel-Hameed,

Opportunities are primarily about what you make of them. So learning how to make the best of each opportunity and grow along the way will be crucial to your career development. A good method for integrating the positive aspects of your opportunities into who you are as an engineer/person will propel you through a successful career.

Before discussing career development strategy let's consider goals. You should have personal and career goals. Personally, think your personal goals are at least slightly more important to have and should be longer-term than then professional goals. Employment and technological opportunities can change and even disappear. Our participation with family, friends, and community will always be fashionable, beneficial, and yield high dividends. When you think of personal goals think 20 years in the future. What personal impact will I have made? Will I be on track for retirement? The non-professional aspects of you life influence your ability to perform on a professional level in so many ways so develping life skills and meeting personal goals are very important. For professional goals think 5 years in the future. Try not to focus too specifically one an area of mechanical engineering technology. You might discover you do not enjoy it as much as you thought while you were in school. Or the opportunities may not be available in the future.

So how to plan for your first 5 years out of school? So I three important things to consider are: 1) Direction - determing which opportunities to focus your energy on, 2) Capitalize - take advantage of the skill development and achievement the opportunity offers, 3) Development - personal development of strengths and mitigation of weakness.

Spend some time reviewing mechanical engineering technological areas of focus. Investigate the positions in these areas of focus noting the skills the use. Choose 3-5 areas of focus that interest you and use many of the mechanical engineering skills you have seen across the mechanical engineering technological spectrum. Choosing areas that interest you helps with showing passion during interviews and helps you engage with your work. Choosing areas with higher number of required skills and skill level will make your experience more applicable to future opportunities. Match your skills to the skills required by the technological focus areas you selected. Note your strengths, weaknesses, and absence of skills for interviewing and development purposes.

So you got the job. Congratulations! But before rushing off and being the best engineer you can be let us consider a few concepts. Because you are early in your career it is statistically likely you will be looking for another job in two years, and arguably beneficial, it is prudent to leverage your current opportunity to help you land your next opportunity. Create a plan to learn new skills and development existing skills required for succeeding in the position. Determine how each skill will be developed either through personal research, training, mentorship, or a combination. Track and record your achievements by listing your assigned projects and responsibilities. Regularly record the details of your involvement and specifically highlight the skills used and business value resulting from your efforts.

At some point you will likely discover your current experience does not offer all the development opportunities you need for your career growth. Prioritize the skills that need development and create a development plan for your top priority skills. Many professional organizations like ASME have classes that you can take to supplement/complement your experience. For personal development efforts start by learning the general principles of the skill and figure out a way to apply your knew knowledge in an engineering project. The more you can validate your skills through experience and professional training the easier it will be to sell the skill in an interview.

Now you have a few principles to add to your career strategy.

Wishing you the best on starting your career.

Regards,

Michael



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Deeksha Shivakumar’s Answer

Hi,
If you are not interested in going down a completely technical path, I would suggest you take elective courses from the business school. This will give get you to those positions in which both technical and managerial skills are required, there are many opportunities available regardless of which country. If you are unable to select courses from the business school, you can concentrate more on subjects like Demand Planning, Supply Chain, Operations planning and control, Systems Engineering, Operations Research, Logistics.
The subjects mentioned above can get you in to any top companies in the world, as supply chain is a integral part of every company.
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