What would you do if you had an engineering degree?
August 31, 2009 8:55 AM   Subscribe

What would you do if you were a recent engineering graduate? (What companies would you be looking into across Canada?)

Suggestions for all branches of engineering are welcome.

A bit of background about myself:
Recent Mechanical Engineering graduate. ( with ~ 2 years of co-op experience). I am interested in almost anything Mechanical Engineering related, from vehicle engineering (aircraft, trains, automotive, etc) , HVAC, to power generation. What would you suggest as companies to apply for within Canada?

Willing to move anywhere for the right Job / experience. (Although Major cities of interest are Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto)

It has also been suggested to go back to school for something business related (seen a bunch of links about mba on ask metafilter)

I understand that mechanical engineering is a wide branch of engineering on it's own, and would like some suggestions as to which direction I should take.
posted by MechEng to Work & Money (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
American ME here.

Find a company where there's lots of internal mobility at first - where the more of your interests are covered, the better. In your shoes I would check out Bombardier and plan on staying for a few years. The first choice I had to make out of undergraduate was between Chicago Bridge & Iron and Douglas Aircraft; I chose the latter and it gave me quite a bit of insight into how the field I particularly like - thermo - actually gets applied. What you learn in your first job is very likely to surprise you. Select a graduate track after you have been surprised, and don't take it at all amiss if you end up in a medical devices firm and find medicine fascinating. A EE of my acquaintance is now an orthopedic surgeon because that's what happened to him.
posted by jet_silver at 9:39 AM on August 31, 2009

ME grads are often welcome in the test and certification industry, and you may find it interesting work, as well as highly informative for your future direction. Check with companies like CSA International (the commercial arm of the non-profit Canadian Standards Association) and Testing Labratories of Canada. Many large manufacturing companies also have internal test labs, that evaluate raw materials, internal processes, and finished goods quality; if you have a specific interest in test as a career area, make sure to look for opportunities in this area with such firms, too.
posted by paulsc at 1:35 AM on September 1, 2009

Contract Engineering - Bechtel, Fluor, Amec, Hatch, SNC Lavalin, WorleyParsons - to name a few of the larger companies in Canada - all have offices in the major cities (Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver etc. These and many other contract engineering companies do just that, build 'stuff'. Power plants, Mineral Processing, Petrochem (offshore and onshore) etc. etc. Or you can get into detailed equipment - FLSmidth, Flowserve, Metso, (mostly mining companies - that's what I know). Also GE and Pratt& Whitney are in the GTA, building airplane turbines.
Car companies are also in the GTA - Honda, Toyota, Ford (and more) are all in the area.
You can also work for various production companies - steelworks in Hamilton, Ontario Power Generation, Inco.. errr Vale Inco, Xtrata (formerly falconbridge), Teck, etc.
That's just a few off the top of my head.
posted by defcom1 at 3:49 AM on September 1, 2009

It has also been suggested to go back to school for something business related - those suggestions should have been followed by footnotes that
1) an MBA program worth going to generally requires work experience, and does not take people coming directly from undergrad
2) if you wait, you might get an employer to pay for an MBA under tuition reimbursement which is better than
3) the fact that they can cost a lot of money out of pocket (in the US, at least, and compared to engineering grad school, which is usually funded)
4) the MBAs are having serious employment difficulties right now.

By all means the background is good, but doing it full-time, now, is probably not ideal.

I am a chemical engineer, and an American who wanted to move overseas, but I did what jet_silver suggests. I work in a non-sexy industry, but my employer is all over the world and has expertise in a huge variety of industries.
posted by whatzit at 5:22 AM on September 1, 2009

I graduated in 2008 from Mechanical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. I had a wide range of interests too. I was looking at the possibility of grad school. I was also considering developing my up-to-then private pilot's license and going back to a former co-op employers near UW and maybe sending a resume to one of my co-op employers in Europe.

I reasoned that if I worked for a time I would be much less likely to go to grad school, so I prioritized that option. I applied to masters programs, having been unsure about my academic research prospects. A year later I'm at MIT and I love the place, the program and the people. I might be in the pre-bitter phase, but I am committed to staying on for a PhD.

One thing that has been helpful here, was valuable at UW and that I will continue to do is keep my options open and explore many paths at the same time. All things being equal, I'd prefer a horizontal company with room for placements, experience and advancement within other fields. I like travel too, which has helped my ability to find new/interesting opportunities and I encourage you to work one or two major projects in a few fields until you get really excited about something.
posted by KevCed at 7:11 AM on September 1, 2009

Response by poster: Thank you for everyones suggestions so far, they have been very helpful.

KevCed, I am definitely a big fan of MIT and have just found this on there website that I would like to share with other recent graduating engineers looking for work:

"These guides are intended to assist you with the job and internship search process. We spent time researching the various fields to find valuable information on industries, professional associations, internship programs and alumni in the field. Please peruse your guide of choice to find out great information. You should also check out the Engineering Hotlist for career related links." MIT career development center

Guides found here

Engineering Hotlist found here

Hope these links can help others, these links may also be helpful for high school students deciding on which branch or type of engineering they should select.
posted by MechEng at 7:56 AM on September 1, 2009

In my opinion, Raytheon's a good place to work, at least here in Australia. They have a Canadian career website .

Don't expect to be doing pure mechanical engineering though - you should be looking to become a better engineer in general - doing stuff like work planning in addition to your mechanical speciality.
posted by trialex at 6:57 PM on September 2, 2009

Dunno where the link went...

Raytheon Canada
posted by trialex at 6:59 PM on September 2, 2009

I worked at the Greater Toronto Airport Authority for three summers, and the engineering department always seemed to be the busiest of the bunch - see what the airports in the major cities you mentioned are doing and what they are preparing for. It was fascinating to see how a very busy airport functioned on a day to day basis and how it was projected out for the future. Morrison Hershfield as another company you could also look into.
posted by nothingsconstant at 6:59 PM on September 16, 2009

Whatever you do, take the fucking FE test, and then the PE test, while it's still relatively fresh. I've been out of school for over ten years, and never thought I'd need it, but now....yeah, wishing I'd taken the damn thing years ago.
posted by notsnot at 6:15 AM on October 23, 2009

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