Name: Andrew March
Year of graduation: 2010
Option Track (water/air/EDC…): Energy
Past Job/Company: Product life cycle and resource engineer at Siemens AG
Other: Treasurer at BikeSurf.org. If you come to Berlin, rent a bike from us for free :)
How your time at CU (and specifically in EVEN) set you apart? How has it helped you to succeed? Retrospectively, the most important thing I learned at CU was how to learn; how to use resources available to me to acquire new knowledge and skills. You might not have all the applied know-how at your disposal just from taking a handful of classes, but you are given the tools to go and figure that stuff out.
How quickly did you find a job after graduation? Do you have any tips or advice on the job search for seniors? I had several job offers before I graduated, six in Germany, one in France and one in Colorado. I think the best way to market yourself is to build a network through doing internships while you're already in school. Companies love interns because they do good work and they're cheap. You should love your internship because you get to experience what it's like to be in a certain environment. Whether it's research, consulting or field work, you’re going to get a glimpse of what it's like to do that work on a daily basis. Then, when you look for a job you can already discuss with your potential employer what you envision yourself doing. They know you can figure the work out, come on, you graduated from CU, but more importantly they need to know if you'll be a good fit in the workplace. Plus, you'll know if you want to work there already from your past internship experiences.
What do you do at Siemens AG?
I primarily researched raw material production and recycling for critical metals such as rare earths. I've conducted full analyses on the global metals market and modelled a deep dive into supply chain logistics, economics and environmental impacts of the life cycles of these metals from mine to market to engineered product (such as car motors or wind turbines). I also conducted energy and resource efficiency analyses of the construction and use phase of certain types of gas/coal turbine components, comparing additive manufacturing (3d printing) to more conventional manufacturing methods.
What’s it like working at a multinational company abroad? What’s the hardest part? What’s the best part?
It's different than working in the US for sure. We have an adjunct department in Princeton, NJ which I've visited and even within the same company the working style isn't the same in different countries. I find the company to be very hierarchical, and the hardest part is convincing managers to talk to you. German companies are very systematic and thorough and like to stick to a script and go through bullet points, making them very risk averse. Sometimes I want to deviate from the script and make a change, but am always advised to do it like it's always been done. I personally don't agree with that.
The best part? That's easy...35 hour full-time work week and 6 weeks of vacation. On a more serious note, I think one of the best parts of the job is being able to visit and analyze cutting edge manufacturing processes at some of Europe's leading technology factories.
What has driven you to pursue your various international experiences?
I studied abroad in Madagascar and am in love with languages, culture and travel. I took a job that allowed me to learn a lot of new things very quickly in an international setting.
In addition to English, you are fluent in French and advanced in German and Malagasy. How important do you think it is for engineers to learn foreign languages? Is there a specific language you would recommend to learn in general?
I think it's critical. Honestly, the language of engineering is English. Most literature on any engineering subject is published in English. However, speaking literally any other language besides English will open up enormous possibilities when you encounter someone who speaks that language. You can't learn them all, but people resonate with the fact that you take an interest in their language. If you end up traveling somewhere, you'll use it, and you'll have an even better time wherever you go. I want to learn Mandarin or Cantonese. If you can fluently speak english in addition to either of these predominant Chinese languages you'll be snapped up anywhere as an engineer.
You have experience in both government and industry work. What’s the biggest difference? Do you have a preference?
Huge industries resemble governments in many ways relating to bureaucracy and administration. One of my mentors once told me that no matter where you work, you'll spend about 60% of your time doing actual work, and 40% dealing with administrative documents and forms. Personally, I prefer industry work because of the pressure to succeed and perform. A government isn't going anywhere (unless somehow your department is being defunded by congress) whereas industries have to constantly fight to innovate or risk losing relevance.
Do you wish to share your contact info for students or graduates looking to network?
March 23rd, 2015