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Old 10-06-2012, 11:03 AM
 
161 posts, read 192,675 times
Reputation: 52

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Oh! yeah! I have the same situation as OP. I graduate this May with a BS degree in bio chemical engineering and minor in mathematics and CS (all most a second BS in math if you count the math course work). When I started college 5 years ago, my parents wanted me to be premed, and I was also told by the dean of engineering if I could not get into med school, the chemical engineering degree is a good degree to have, starting salary should be at least 50k.


Here you go! I did the same thing as the OP did, get all As in my engineering class, CS and mathematics class ( very hard classes), I want to keep the GPA high to apply for med school. I also took courses in the summer full time. However at the end of my junior years, I did not want to go to med school anymore when I realize that I do not love to study biology related subject that much. So I think, at least I still have a chemE to start a career.


In my senior year, most of other kids they start to do their senior thesis with a company, i.e internship. I also started my thesis by working alone in our school engineering lab. I worked alone and hard (7-12hrs a day in the lab for a year + my senior course work) to research, run experiment, collect data, and failed multiple time before to get the report done (it's indeed more like a research paper ). In fact I designed my own method, experiment, with very little help from the professors. The other kids have co-workers, ect... to help them spoon fed the method, the literature review, all they do is to write the report, collect data. I.e I can think, they don't. This is also true while I did homework + doing team project + team lab with them. Most of the critical thinking part/method I have to do it myself, they could not contribute any useful idea.

And yeah, the OP is also true about this kind of students. They did not bother to do homework, project rather than to work part time at a restaurant to pay for electronics, cellphone bills, and flirt around with girls. Most of the time, I have to finish the team reports/ team homework myself to turn them in on time.

But here is the interesting story:

I graduated with a 3.75 overall gpa May 2012 ( my engineering gpa is 3.8, math is 4.0). Now I am employed with an Indian restaurant, I also use my math skill but as a cashier ^_^. I have sent over 100 resume , fixed cover letter... but no success.
While the kid that I know (used to be the same team member) , his GPA sucks, he failed the core engineer class ( thermodynamics, transport phenomena) twice now have multiple offers. He and I both applied to the same position, but the recruiter don't even bother to give me an interview. The year he failed his core courses, he repeated again to earn a C and intern with a company while I worked in that lab.

Now, I don't know what to do beside keep applying online. My best bet is that I will do a PhD in computational engineering and to become a researcher (but I know this route is a painful route, but at least it is better than to use my math skill at the Indian restaurant every night).

If I could do it again, I wish I could do the same as the other kids. Now I realize that the one who is truly smart, not me, nor my professor, but those kids.

If you have any advice for me, I really appreciate it.

Best regard,

max100.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
22 posts, read 28,812 times
Reputation: 85
Sounds like you have all of the credentials and none of the application.
What you need is your foot in the door. Realize we live in an economy where a very large number of "good work" has been sent overseas all in the name of profit. So what that means is companies are now able to hire PhD's to do the work of a Bachelors. That leaves a whole lot of new graduates unable to find good work - so they end up taking "entry level" work to ensure at least some income. In turn, I beleive that means the uneducated and untrained to their own devices.

At any rate - what you are going to have to do is take a job with a company like Virgina College or Art Institute and once you are inside - then you begin to make acquaintences. Make sure to do a great job of whatever you are hired to do - then, move around. In each area you work, it allows you to increase your skill level in your resume.

the term "its not what you know, but who you know" has never been as TRUE.

I put in a maybe 200 resumes and cover letters - never got one interview....the job I have I got because a friend of mine worked there and and she gave my resume to one of the other managers. A few months after that I gave a friend of mines resume to my mngr and now she works here.
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:20 PM
 
161 posts, read 192,675 times
Reputation: 52
yeah, and quite funny is that, the only interview so far I have is an unpaid intern position with Merrill Lynch ^_^. I really don't know what is going on with the US ' economy nor what I did wrong except I chose to work on my own project (which I thought it was indeed more relevant to my biochemical track rather than intern with a company. )

Most the chemical engineering kids who have internship do stuff relating to mechanical or packaging, industrial. But well, I guess I should start to look at which grad school will have good funding and maybe should consider to be a quant, but like I said, this is a painful and extremely risky route.
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:56 PM
 
1,245 posts, read 1,529,033 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justwords74 View Post

the term "its not what you know, but who you know" has never been as TRUE.

So why bother to go to college at all then? Wouldn't one be better off spending one's time networking and learning how to smooze, learning how to dress the part and hold one's self, and, dare I say it, becoming a better liar?
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:20 PM
 
161 posts, read 192,675 times
Reputation: 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by VX5650 View Post
So why bother to go to college at all then? Wouldn't one be better off spending one's time networking and learning how to smooze, learning how to dress the part and hold one's self, and, dare I say it, becoming a better liar?
Well, I don't know either. , So far, what I have heard is that you will be successful if you keep doing hard from the dean and my family. But the "hard" work , in reality , putting to much effort in academic achievement means very little., rather than you should be "hard" in doing other things outside school and enjoy life. I can not remember how many favorite match I missed cuz to study for exams.

But anyway, I have to go to work now. It will be a long tonight. I hope there won't be too much frustration or I have to void too many tickets like yesterday.
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:21 PM
 
Location: the Great Lakes states
798 posts, read 2,176,923 times
Reputation: 534
Just my two cents, and a lot of different options that I would suggest:

(1) Substitute teach in the school districts within 45 minutes drive of your home. Its not much money, but it's a job and it's needed. Get to know principals and experienced teachers who will be great references down the road (and don't ask for at least a semester or more.) You have to socialize professionally, either through a job or through volunteering.

(2) While you're sitting at home in your rural town, volunteer to coach a kids sports team or do something beneficial for others. Help with the food bank at church. Getting out and volunteering will raise your spirits because you'll see more of the good in people.

(3) It's holiday season and retail is hiring. You say you're 3 hours from even a moderately sized city... do you have family or friends you could live with who are within 1 hour of anywhere? One hour is driveable.

(4) It's not too likely that you're going to save enough money to rent an apartment before getting a job in a big city. That's just the honest truth. Keep sending resumes to places of interest within driving distance. Get a job before you move.

(5) You could check the Craigslist postings for short term SUBLEASES in cities you want to move to. Sublessors generally are anxious to rent to anyone who will pay the bills - they want to move ASAP. It's a short-term commitment of 1-6 months. In summer especially you can find these in major college towns. Then you can use that time to enjoy the bigger city, socialize and network, and work retail or substitute teaching there WHILE you try for bigger/better interviews and job positions. If nothing comes of it, either see if your finances will allow you stay there, or tell family in advance that you'll be moving back home if it doesn't work out.

(6) Resume: 2 pages MAX. Cover letter: 2 pages MAX with 1 inch margins (that's about 700 words.)

(7) Relax and keep taking good care of yourself.
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:40 AM
 
1,544 posts, read 2,068,646 times
Reputation: 1185
Quote:
Originally Posted by VX5650 View Post
So why bother to go to college at all then? Wouldn't one be better off spending one's time networking and learning how to smooze, learning how to dress the part and hold one's self, and, dare I say it, becoming a better liar?

because you still "need a degree", yes a degree is the bare minimum and rarely will the degree alone get you the job, but it is the bare minimum
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:05 PM
 
19,078 posts, read 21,915,686 times
Reputation: 13432
Quote:
Originally Posted by max100 View Post
yeah, and quite funny is that, the only interview so far I have is an unpaid intern position with Merrill Lynch ^_^. I really don't know what is going on with the US ' economy nor what I did wrong except I chose to work on my own project (which I thought it was indeed more relevant to my biochemical track rather than intern with a company. )

Most the chemical engineering kids who have internship do stuff relating to mechanical or packaging, industrial. But well, I guess I should start to look at which grad school will have good funding and maybe should consider to be a quant, but like I said, this is a painful and extremely risky route.
I went right into grad school following my BS. I had an RA, a TA, and left school with a few years work experience. As an undergrad it's imperative to get real, working experience, but that should have been the case if you were working in an academic lab. By approaching a prof in a research lab and even offering to work for free (I did so as an undergrad) you can get your name on posters and publications. It's invaluable when you hit the job market because you can call on 2-3 years experience right out of the gate. Also, location is very important in biotech and if you consider grad school keep the school's location in mind. It matters and will make life easier for you as you come close to graduation. I had a job before I graduated and finished my master's while at my new job.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:42 PM
 
161 posts, read 192,675 times
Reputation: 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Braunwyn View Post
I went right into grad school following my BS. I had an RA, a TA, and left school with a few years work experience. As an undergrad it's imperative to get real, working experience, but that should have been the case if you were working in an academic lab. By approaching a prof in a research lab and even offering to work for free (I did so as an undergrad) you can get your name on posters and publications. It's invaluable when you hit the job market because you can call on 2-3 years experience right out of the gate. Also, location is very important in biotech and if you consider grad school keep the school's location in mind. It matters and will make life easier for you as you come close to graduation. I had a job before I graduated and finished my master's while at my new job.
I really appreciate your advice. However I also have some concern as well. I mentioned in the previous post my background is bio chemical engineering. I graduated in May 2012 and have been under employed for 5 months ^_^

I understand that you put your graduate assistantship and teaching assistantship as work experience as I have observed multiple graduate students to that, and you were successful in having a job, that's wonderful. But the situation is not that bright if you look to that ACS report below. I wonder if you are a chemical/process engineer. The situation I am facing now is quite tricky, as I explain below.

In the world of chemical/bio chemical engineering, most of the jobs description, I have looked sofar, they want industry type process experience, which I don't have. (I wish I could change the situation i.e to do my senior thesis with a company rather than did research by myself in my school lab). In the world of chemical engineer, the industry is run mostly by bachelor degree holder except if you want to get into research job that's when you need to go to graduate school to have a master or PhD. However after I have done the research alone and finished my senior thesis I seriously don't want to do biochemical research anymore.

One more thing I have to mention, according to this ACS report , prospect for graduate in chemical field. Doing a master, even worst than a BS ( read the last table). BS 53% fulltime, MS 43%, which truly reflects what is going on in the chemical industry exp >>> MS/PhD

Quote:
pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals/cen/pdf/09023-acsnews1.pdf
Doing a PhD / MS in chemical engineer won't improve too much on the job prospect. The graduate assistanship experience will depend greatly with the professor you will work with. If you are lucky, you can get a hot topic that is current in the industry and you will get a job, otherwise I don't know how much it will count toward the process/plant experience you need . In some cases, you are also viewed overqualified. You mention academic lab is viewed as work exp, maybe true maybe not, I myself work in lab too, using sophisticated analytical equipment extensively such as HPLC, gas chromatography, bio reactor ... to finish that senior thesis.

I know that I am in a really bad situation. Maybe grad school is the only way to go now, but I know for sure I do not want anymore graduate study in chemical engineering. This industry needs exp, not graduate degree. I am still looking for jobs . However after seeing that kid with weak GPA, weak independent critical thinking, but with experience got the jobs, I know that my chance is very limited with this mind set in this chemical process industry.

With the relationship with my professor in math/CS/finance department I think I can get excellent recommendation , to pursue a financial mathematics or computational engineering graduate program and seeking internship in the quantitative finance field. And like you said, location is important.

Last edited by max100; 10-07-2012 at 01:59 PM..
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:18 PM
 
19,078 posts, read 21,915,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max100 View Post
I really appreciate your advice. However I also have some concern as well. I mentioned in the previous post my background is bio chemical engineering. I graduated in May 2012 and have been under employed for 5 months ^_^
Where are you?

Quote:
I understand that you put your graduate assistantship and teaching assistantship as work experience as I have observed multiple graduate students to that, and you were successful in having a job, that's wonderful. But the situation is not that bright if you look to that ACS report below. I wonder if you are a chemical/process engineer. The situation I am facing now is quite tricky, as I explain below.
I'm not sure what a process engineer does. I'm not an engineer, although many of my colleagues have engineering degrees and backgrounds. We have the gamut of degrees from marine science to enviro and engineering. It's sort of funny. I'm chem and clinical. I'm involved in physiochemistry in early drug discovery at an institute in Cambridge.

To note, I personally don't pay attention to what comes out of the ACS, although the ACS spams my email continually. It's who they survey, and the people they survey are members aren't they? ACS members do not span the gamut in industries and seem to be such a confined group. It had its place and perks while in school, but it pretty much ended there for me. That's all an aside to this discussion, tho.

Quote:
In the world of chemical/bio chemical engineering, most of the jobs description, I have looked sofar, they want industry type process experience, which I don't have. (I wish I could change the situation i.e to do my senior thesis with a company rather than did research by myself in my school lab). In the world of chemical engineer, the industry is run mostly by bachelor degree except if you want to get into research job that's when you need to go to graduate school to have a master or PhD. However after I have done the research alone and finished my senior thesis I seriously don't want to do biochemical research anymore.
If you're committed to only one aspect/area of industry, and unwilling to entertain available opportunity, then I can see how that would be problematic when trying to land a job. I certainly didn't plan for the track I'm on now, but it's work, relatively interesting, good pay and benefits, and I just went with the flow. I'm on a track now and once on one it's difficult to get off. So, it's good that you're thinking of it.

Quote:
I know that I am in a really bad situation. Maybe grad school is the only way to go now, but I know for sure I do not want anymore graduate study in chemical engineering. This industry needs exp, not graduate degree. I am still looking for jobs . However after seeing that kid with weak GPA, weak independent critical thinking, but with experience got the jobs, I know that my chance is very limited with this mind set in this chemical process industry.

With the relationship with my professor in math/CS/finance department I think I can get excellent recommendation , to pursue a financial mathematics or computational engineering graduate program and seeking internship in the quantitative finance field. And like you said, location is important.
I think that sounds like a great idea for you if that's where your interests lay. I recommend that you spend as much time as possible with professors while in school, other grad students ahead of you, and network your ass off. If you can find a p/t gig to intern (volunteer even if they won't pay), go for that as well. Try to suck the life out of your grad experience in order to build a solid foundation. Good luck to you. I would be interested in learning about the program and school you eventually choose.
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