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Sunday, 7 April 2019

Good tips to become a Successfull Engineering Students

If you’re a current engineering
student, here are ways to put
yourself on the fast track to
success.
ACCORDING TO A RECENT survey by the Higher Education
Research Institute at UCLA, one third of college freshmen
plan to major in science and engineering, while about 8
percent of all first-year students intend to concentrate in
engineering proper. Some of these engineering students are
destined to land major leadership roles in the United States
and worldwide, while others are . . . well, every field has its
“lesser lights.”
We were interested in finding out what current engineering
students could do to put themselves on the fast track to
career success. We invited visiting blogger Edward Crawley,
professor of engineering and director of the Bernard M.
Gordon Engineering Leadership Program at MIT, to share
with us the advice he gives his own undergraduate
engineering students. Here are his best tips, most of which
would work for any career-aspiring college student:
1. Identify the people who inspire you, and find out
what makes them tick. If you love Apple products, Steve
Jobs may be your idol, or perhaps you love the Segway and
its creator, Dean Kamen. You can easily find out a lot of
information about Jobs and Kamen—or just about any other
prominent person in technology—so use it to look into
what’s helped these people and their companies become so
successful. Then emulate their good traits in your personal,
scholastic, and professional life.
2. Develop a portfolio of projects.Participate in every
hands-on, experiential learning opportunity that a balanced
schedule allows. This way, you’ll have something unique to
show a prospective employer (or venture capitalist) when
you graduate, while other students will only be able to list
their courses. In addition, you’ll be far more likely to retain
the knowledge you’ve gained in classes because you’ll be
applying it and, in the process, boosting your
communication and interpersonal skills.
3. Learn the value of networking.When it comes to
being a leader, whom you know is almost as important as
what you know. Attend lectures on your campus and
introduce yourself to the speakers. Check with your school’s
alumni association to get a list of alumni from your program
who want to connect with undergraduates.
4. Work in teams as much as you can. Whether it’s
creating a solar-powered car, participating in a sport, or
writing for the school paper, get involved with an
organization that requires a team effort to produce great
results. Throughout your career, you can be sure you’ll
work in teams, and the skills you develop in school will help
prepare you to lead teams when you graduate.
5. Seek informal leadership roles.You’re always a
leader, whether you’re officially in charge of a team or not.
Sounds counterintuitive, but you can lead from any position
in an organization by influencing how people work together
and how they make decisions. Usually people think that the
leader is the president or the manager, but if you learn how
to recognize and deal with various leadership styles from
any position in a team, you’ll be seen as a leader when you
take on your first job or internship.
6. Find your flaws—and fix them. As with any skill,
leadership needs constant improvement. When you are part
of a team, try to create a way to get feedback from team
members, group leaders, and professors. When you have
concrete feedback on how people view you, you can work
to improve your skills, including communication and
leadership. Plus, you’ll learn how to accept—and give—
constructive criticism. That’s absolutely necessary for your
future career.
7. Take a business class. As an engineer, it’s not enough
for you to be technically proficient; you need to have
business savvy. If you’re going to be a leader, you need to
understand what a P&L is (also known as an income
statement), read organization charts, know how to negotiate
contracts, and be familiar with the myriad other functions
that every top engineer needs to know. Otherwise, you
won’t understand what to do when an accountant, lawyer,
or middle manager gets in the way. A business course or
two can take you a long way, and these classes are often
easier to pass than your calculus course!
8. Take design and other humanities classes. There’s a
wide world out there beyond problem sets, laboratories,
and theory. Take a visual design course so you’ll learn to
represent ideas graphically. Take a cognitive science course
to learn how people interpret the world and understand it.
Take a literature course to develop your knowledge and
appreciation of the classic books, which will help you write
and communicate more effectively.
Star Tip. Tomorrow’s leaders will have to communicate
effectively across international borders and be familiar with
other cultures, so develop some proficiency in another
language, travel abroad, or meet students from other
cultures. Start “globalizing” right at college.
9. Make your summers productive.Employers place
tremendous value on practical experience. Seek out
internship opportunities actively and early in your academic
career. Try to demonstrate through your internships a series
of evolving leadership experiences, and use the internships
to build your portfolio of actual projects/products. New
graduates who can show a commitment to using their
summer to continue to learn are always viewed more
seriously by a prospective employer.
10. Recruit and develop your personal board
of directors. As an undergraduate, you might feel alone
when confronted with hard decisions about the courses to
take, jobs to apply for, or even balancing school work and
your personal life. You won’t feel alone if you develop a
personal board of directors just for you. Just as a company
has a board that guides the organization, you can stock your
board with professionals from organizations and
companies, as well as former teachers and knowledgeable
family friends.
Extra Pointer. Be sure to “nurture” your board of directors:
Keep in touch with them, provide them regular updates, ask
them for guidance, and be sure to thank them for any help
they provide. And don’t be afraid of conflicting advice. If
members offer different suggestions, you’ll have the
occasion to balance off one idea against another and make
your own decision—just like at a real company.

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