Engineer Co-op question

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Keepcalm
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Engineer Co-op question

Post by Keepcalm »

M.E student with prior background in Testing & Evaluation for multiple companies. I worked with engineers on problem solving through prototype in the firearms industry (I am 32). I am also a former Marine.
My GPA sits at 3.3 and I have completed all general education along with Chem I, Solid Modeling I, and Pre-Calculus.
I would like to apply for this co-op, it is a manufacturing engineering co-op position....but am I crazy to this early on, and do I even have a shot with my background?
BlueCable
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by BlueCable »

Keepcalm wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:21 pm M.E student with prior background in Testing & Evaluation for multiple companies. I worked with engineers on problem solving through prototype in the firearms industry (I am 32). I am also a former Marine.
My GPA sits at 3.3 and I have completed all general education along with Chem I, Solid Modeling I, and Pre-Calculus.
I would like to apply for this co-op, it is a manufacturing engineering co-op position....but am I crazy to this early on, and do I even have a shot with my background?
Apply? Yes.
Do you have a shot? Maybe, but it's a long one.

Even if you don't get a position this year, the process of polishing your resume and interviewing will be helpful next year. Use a cover letter to explain how your unique experiences will allow you to contribute immediately and why this position is so interesting to you.

You do not have a stellar GPA and you haven't hit hard classes yet. Get a tutor if you need to, because if you can keep your GPA above 3.2 many more doors will be open to you.
livesoft
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by livesoft »

Why would you not apply? If you don't apply, there is no chance that you will get it. If you apply, there is a chance and if you don't get it, you will have made some contacts anyways. And you might get it.
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Crow Hunter
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by Crow Hunter »

You absolutely should apply.

Manufacturing Engineering doesn't require you to have a Manufacturing degree and it would be great experience. I know that if you were applying to my company, we would definitely hire you. We hire 10-12 Co-ops each year and they are integral to our operation.

We typically hire Mechanical students for our Manufacturing group and Electrical for our controls group but we have also done the opposite if the student seems to be a good fit.

We hire year long co-ops (not summer) and we try to give them lots of hands on experience. Having worked before and being "seasoned" would definitely be a plus for us.

If you are willing to come to West TN for a year starting in June 2019 through August 2020 I will recruit you now. :)
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PrettyCoolWorkshop
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by PrettyCoolWorkshop »

Your situation is different from most co-op engineering students I know, who went to college immediately after high school.

For them, I do not recommend a co-op. Co-op rotations take a lot of time, and can delay graduation by a year or more. They usually pay much less than the salary you would earn as a graduated engineer. So they are a net loss in terms of income. An internship, in comparison, is usually over the summer, when you normally wouldn't be taking classes anyway, and pays similarly, and gives similar experience, but does not result in the same delays.

For you, you've already seen the working world, are maybe a little older and more attached to a particular location, might have cash flow needs, etc. If the company is in a place you want to live, I would recommend applying at it. Especially if those jobs are hard to find in the area.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Absolutely apply. Companies pay co-ops based on their year in college, so they'd get you at a bargain compared with a senior, for example. They're counting on you being able to learn something in order to do a job they need done. They are not expecting you to come in as an expert and solve all their problems. Companies also provide co-op positions in hopes that when you graduate, you'll consider working for them. Your GPA says you have a good chance of success.

I did a co-op when I ran out of money. The co-op system was set up such that I earned vacation days but could not use them unless and until I took a full time job with them as my first job after graduation. As it turned out, I was offered a job with this company at a different location and a completely different engineering group and it was my best offer (both type of job and pay level). The company got a known in my work ethic and abilities and I got a known company culture and 8 vacation days vested on day one.

My co-op started in summer break and went through the fall semester, so 8 months total. I took a night course while on my co-op, so that reduced my delay in graduation. While on co-op, I decided to change my specialty (my college required specialty within EE major) and that made all the difference upon graduation and I have never been without a job. Had I not done the co-op, I never would have known that this other, more difficult specialty was a better path for me.

My college required that applying students be complete of their sophomore year. Not all colleges require this. I know of 2 colleges who require all students to work co-ops on a regular basis and start them after their freshman year.

I disagree with the above poster. Employers are looking for experience, even from new grads. Yes, a graduated engineer will make more money than a co-op but a graduated engineer with zero experience will have a far more difficult time getting a job in the first place.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by RickBoglehead »

Unless your former military service involved engineering, I don't see how it helps you in the Engineering world from a skills standpoint, or work experience standpoint, apart from you being more mature, having had great training in the chain of command, working as a team, etc.

My son did an 8 month coop at a top ranked Engineering school as well as two summer internships. However, he had enough AP credits that he could have graduated early, the coop allowed him to gain experience and graduate in normal time. Note that the university did require him to pay a registration fee for each semester (i.e. Winter and Summer) for it to be an approved coop and show on his resume'.

In addition to getting an engineering job on your resume', the coop allows you to work at a company and gain experience as well as dry-test a career. My son's coop was at an auto company. He quickly concluded that he didn't want to work at an auto company. One of his summer internships was at a company with under 50 employees and one person that was the knowledge-god and acted like it. My son quickly wrote off small companies for his future employment.

So he considered his work experience during college very valuable, and it did not delay his graduation due to AP credits. Up to you whether at your stage in life you consider it valuable, but you should apply and then worry about it if you get the coop.

And thank you for your service.
Last edited by RickBoglehead on Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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ten2go
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by ten2go »

Go for it. Apply, interview. If you do not get it, ask where you could have done better or what you are lacking. Polish those skills and try again next year. Often engineering co-ops lead to another co-op or a full-time offer. Pay is usually very good.

Work on that GPA. Double down on ALL of your classes. Get A's in the general ones to help boost your GPA. There will be some harder ones which you struggle to pull off a C.

Make sure you're doing well in math. It all compounds, if you're struggling with calculus early on, get some help now and you'll be better in the long run.
KlangFool
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

1) Apply.

2) Why limit yourself to co-op? People hire people. Find out who you know in this company. If they like you, they could hire you as an intern and/or part-time or contractor.

KlangFool
Crow Hunter
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by Crow Hunter »

I was an Engineering Manager for 7 years and I would always choose an entry level engineer with Co-op experience over one without.

At my current employer, Co-ops are paid quite well. Actually our co-ops are paid higher than some entry level engineers in the area. A new engineer started a couple of years ago and he said that the offer he got from another company was actually lower than what the Co-ops at my company are being paid on an annual basis.

However, the co-ops do not get health, vacation or holiday benefits while fulltime employees do.
GreenGrowTheDollars
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars »

BlueCable wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:31 pm
Keepcalm wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:21 pm M.E student with prior background in Testing & Evaluation for multiple companies. I worked with engineers on problem solving through prototype in the firearms industry (I am 32). I am also a former Marine.
My GPA sits at 3.3 and I have completed all general education along with Chem I, Solid Modeling I, and Pre-Calculus.
I would like to apply for this co-op, it is a manufacturing engineering co-op position....but am I crazy to this early on, and do I even have a shot with my background?
Apply? Yes.
Do you have a shot? Maybe, but it's a long one.

Even if you don't get a position this year, the process of polishing your resume and interviewing will be helpful next year. Use a cover letter to explain how your unique experiences will allow you to contribute immediately and why this position is so interesting to you.

You do not have a stellar GPA and you haven't hit hard classes yet. Get a tutor if you need to, because if you can keep your GPA above 3.2 many more doors will be open to you.
You have a perfectly fine GPA at this point in engineering school. Engineering GPAs are lower than arts & sciences GPAs. Work hard to do well in Calculus and physics.

No harm at all in trying for a coop.

Best of luck to you.
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Cycle
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by Cycle »

At my megacorp I've had meche co-ops as young as 18 and as old as 35 work for me. We interview them after their 1st-3rd college term. You are absolutely qualified to apply. You've got a great gpa and experience.

I've mentored probably 20 co-ops over the years, they do most of my work.
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lthenderson
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by lthenderson »

Keepcalm wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:21 pm I would like to apply for this co-op, it is a manufacturing engineering co-op position....but am I crazy to this early on, and do I even have a shot with my background?
Go for it. I did two co-op jobs before graduating and both were excellent experience and gave me a leg up on other candidates later when I was interviewing for an actual job. Employees loved to hear about the practical experience I received while in college. In the end, I graduated college and went to work for one of the companies I did a co-op for.

On a related note, I applied and got turned down for more than a handful of co-op jobs when I was applying for them. I always looked at the experience as a way to gain interviewing experience and refine my technique. Later when I was interviewing for actual jobs, I got was much more successful in my interviews.
Liberty1100
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by Liberty1100 »

GreenGrowTheDollars wrote: Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:22 pm You have a perfectly fine GPA at this point in engineering school. Engineering GPAs are lower than arts & sciences GPAs.
I do agree that GPA is fine. I think 3.4, 3.2, and 3.0 seemed to be used as cutoffs for entry-level jobs and leadership programs.

However,

Don't listen to this. It is REALLY easy to start thinking that a B is okay and not put in the effort for that A. I caught myself several times through college doing this and taking the easy road. Unfortunately, people still get A's in engineering and people can have a 4.0 GPA and close to it. You will be competing against them for the rest of your life. Have no regrets. Keep grinding it out.

The higher the GPA, the easier it will be to get a job/co-op and what not. Put in the extra effort and don't listen to the "engineering is harder than BLANK major(s)."
BlueCable
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Re: Engineer Co-op question

Post by BlueCable »

Just to clarify: I agree that 3.3 is a fine engineering GPA. My point was that it is much harder to get a 3.3 in Calc 2 and differential equations than in pre-calculus. You will need to work harder to maintain your GPA over the next year.

I work for a large corporate engineering firm that works be unlikely to offer you co-op before you've taken any physics or calculus. However, it is probably true that smaller companies would be less strict on that. Your military background may also help you.
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