College Major Deep Dive: Engineering
Recent MIT grad and Mechanical Engineering major, Abdalla Osman, will give a deep dive on what it looks like to major in engineering at one of the top universities in the world. Abdalla will explain the courses you might take as an engineering major, different extracurricular opportunities you could pursue, potential career paths, and more in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2022-04-17 College Major Deep Dive – Engineering
[00:00:00] Hi everyone. My name is Rachel. I’m your moderator today. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on College Major Deep Dive – Engineering. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists. Okay. We are very lucky to have Abdalla Osman, the, uh, presenting today. He is a MIT graduate from the class of 2021, where he studied mechanical engineering. So before I pass it over to Abdalla, let’s do a very quick poll. I’m curious to hear, um, what grade you’re in. So dollar wall.[00:01:00]
Folks are starting to answer that question. I’m curious to hear, um, what made you choose MIT for your undergraduate career? Thanks for the introduction, Rachel, and hello everyone. It’s great to be here. Um, so MIT actually, wasn’t, wasn’t my, uh, first choice. I, um, thought I was going to study architecture. Um, and I wanted, I applied to a lot of architecture schools, but also applied through in my application to MIT just because it’s MIT.
Um, and when I got in, uh, or actually before I got into MIT, I worked as an, a with an architecture firm for a little bit and figured out that architecture wasn’t really what I wanted to do after graduation. And so I decided to study engineering. And when I got into MIT, I figured since I wanted engineering, um, where I, I mean, MIT is pretty high up there in terms of engineering and.
Uh, that’s where [00:02:00] I, uh, I visited and I loved it and I ended up, um, deciding to go there ultimately. Awesome. I know there’s a lot of folks who can, um, likely relate with, you know, thinking you really want to go in one direction and then figuring out that it’s not the right direction, but then finding something else that you love.
So thanks so much for sharing that. So our poll responses, I’m going to close the poll now, um, we have about 50% of folks are in the 10th grade, uh, 39% of folks who are in the 11th grade. And then we have 2% of folks in 12th grade, 2% in eighth grade, 7% of ninth grade, and 2% as other, thank you all for participating in the poll.
So doll, I’m going to pass it over to you for the presentation. All right. Awesome. Well, it’s great to see that we have a lot of students who are. Um, underclassmen, uh, in high school and even maybe some before high school, [00:03:00] that’s good to see. And I, towards the end of the presentation, we’ll be talking about what you can be doing in high school to prepare for a major in engineering, but, uh, to get us started, I wanted to get, uh, to start off by talking a little bit about my experience as a mechanical engineering major at MIT.
Uh, and I wanted to talk about my experience in, uh, broadly in, for, uh, along four different, uh, in four different categories. So the first one is of course academics, uh, as an engineering major and, uh, academics are definitely a priority. Um, and when it comes. Uh, my experience at MIT, I average around four to five classes per semester, uh, uh, in order to complete all of my requirements and graduate in four years.
And I ended up doing a minor in engineering and mechanical engineering, or sorry, a major in mechanical engineering with a minor in energy studies. And at MIT, we also have to do a humanities [00:04:00] concentration. And again, humanities are, uh, you know, uh, uh, social sciences, um, English writing, uh, those sorts of subjects.
And my concentration was in anthropology. So my team requires all students, regardless of major to do a humanities concept. In addition to your, to your, uh, to your major. And I ended up adding a minor as well. So those were the academics. Uh, I would say academics are definitely, uh, on the challenging side at MIT.
I’d say a lot of people I have mighty students would agree with that. Uh, in addition to academics, a big part of my experience as an engineering student at MIT were extracurricular activities. And, um, on campus, I was heavily involved with, uh, the solar electric vehicle team and the solar electric vehicle team or the solar car team is what we would call you making club on campus.
And there’s a number of these making clubs. And these are clubs where students get together and make [00:05:00] something, uh, uh, you know, we ended up making a solar car. There’s a number of other different clubs, such as the, uh, electric race car team or rocket team. And these clubs are just a great way to really apply what you learn outside of class.
Uh, and, uh, Learn actual practical engineering skills. So I’d definitely recommend, uh, looking into those, if you have a chance. Other extracurricular activities that I did on campus, uh, were, uh, the global teaching labs, which is a program that MIT has between semesters, where they send students abroad to teach.
So I ended up going to Spain and taught robotics, uh, with COVID. I ended up doing teaching labs virtually, and I taught, um, uh, all about energy to Sudanese students. So the students, uh, studying in Sudan, in addition to academics and extracurricular activities, uh, there’s also a lot of emphasis on professional development at MIT.
So these are, uh, that’s, uh, preparing for summer internships, uh, as well as going to [00:06:00] conferences and just networking in general, as you learn more about. Uh, post-graduate opportunities that you can go into after you graduate. And then finally, of course, there’s life on campus. Um, so a lot of students at MIT, uh, myself included, uh, do a lot of personal projects outside of class and my friends and I would get together on weekends and we’d go to the, the machine shops are open on weekends, so we’d go and, um, you know, uh, machine cool things.
So we, we would, uh, you know, we would weld and our free time, we built a few different, uh, projects. I have a friend who I helped with. Uh, I helped build a, uh, an electric vehicle in his dorm room, which was really cool. And he actually took it out on the street, uh, to test it. And it ended up where it ended up working, which was an awesome personal project of his and a few other friends.
Uh, also have really cool projects that they work on on the side on weekends. Uh, there’s also a number of different clubs, student groups. Uh, as well as [00:07:00] different dorms on campus that have their own culture. So anything that you’re interested in, there’s probably a club for on campus. So at a high level, I, uh, you know, that was my ex my experience as a mechanical engineering student at MIT.
Uh, next I’ll talk about, uh, different majors in the field of engineering, uh, that are offered at MIT and just broadly at different universities. Um, so I, I majored in mechanical engineering, mechanical engineering at MIT is the second, most popular major, right after computer science. So other, uh, other majors in the field of engineering include computer science, I would say, is up for debate as an engineering or a science, but I personally would consider it to be an engineering, uh, Within engineering.
So there’s computer science, there’s aerospace engineering, bioengineering, electrical, and chemical engineering, materials, engineering, nuclear, and civil [00:08:00] engineering. Uh, and these are listed here in order of popularity, uh, uh, at, at MIT.
Okay. So let’s talk about courses that you can expect to take as an engineering major. So, uh, at MIT. There are what’s called general Institute requirements. And these are classes that everyone has to take regardless of what your major is. And, uh, many other schools have similar similar requirements as well that are shared across all students, regardless of what, what you’re studying.
So the general Institute requirements that I had to take, uh, were a few science requirements that include biology, chemistry, and two physics classes. Those were classical mechanics, as well as electricity and magnetism. I also had to take a few math classes. Uh, we had to take single variable calculus and multivariable calculus, and [00:09:00] then most engineering students also had to take differential equations, but single variable multivariate variables were requirements across, across all majors, not just.
And then as I mentioned, MIT requires students to take humanities classes as well. Uh, so I had to take eight humanities arts and social science classes. And these are what we, we, uh, know MIT called has classes, the humanities arts and social sciences. And the reason behind these requirements, the humanities classes is that, uh, the administration at MIT students to be able to, uh, branch, uh, branch out and explore different, different disciplines outside of what they are studying.
So they want engineers to be able to take some humanities classes and learn how to write and how to communicate instead of just being completely focused on engineering classes, beyond the general Institute requirements, we also have to take major specific classes, and these are, uh, for me as a mechanical engineering student were classes in mechanics and [00:10:00] materials, dynamics and control.
Uh, Thermo fluids and design manufacturing, and these classes usually have multiple levels. So there for, for these sub fields within mechanical engineering, there were intro classes. And then beyond that, there were also required level two classes. So I had to take two classes within mechanics and materials to within dynamics and controls to as in thermal two, within thermal fluids, into, within design manufacturing.
And then beyond these specific, uh, sub fields, we also have had access to a number of specialized classes that were w w were within our mechanical engineering major. Uh, so these classes included product design, energy systems, hydrodynamics. I personally focused a lot on energy since that was my minor. So I took a lot of energy systems classes, as well as some product design classes here and there.
Uh, but we had, I had access to a number of different sub-fields within mechanical engineering that I could take classes. And then beyond the major specific classes, there were non-major classes. [00:11:00] And I took a number of programming classes, uh, as well as some anthropology classes, which was some, which was my concentration.
Uh, but the idea behind these non-major courses is that you’re not just limited to the classes within mechanical engineering. You can explore and branch out and take classes that you find interesting. Even if they’re within other majors,
what type of extracurriculars can you pursue in college as an engineering major? So on this slide, I have three different types of extracurriculars that I, that I was personally involved with. And I know other students as well, benefit benefited greatly from the first is research. Um, so, uh, research is a great way to, um, to augment or supplement your, the, what you learn in, in your coursework.
Um, and as an undergraduate, you might be surprised to find that there is actually a number of opportunities that are available to you in terms of doing conducting [00:12:00] research within graduate research labs. Um, I reached out to a professor that I really enjoyed taking the class with and asked if he has any projects he was working on.
Uh, and he said he, he is, uh, he has a number of projects that he’s actually actively looking for undergraduate students as research assistants. So he rolled me onto one of his projects and. Doing research with them for several years as an undergraduate, a number of other students also conduct their own personal research or research that is required for some of their classes.
So some classes are, uh, have a, some experiment experimentation component. And for those classes to conduct your experiments, you can reach out to different professors that have labs relevant to what you’re doing, research, and then ask if you can use their labs for your own personal research. And many of them would, will happily accommodate and a number of students also do research focused thesis projects as well.
So research again, research is a great way to supplement your, [00:13:00] your, uh, engineering coursework. I talked a lot about making clubs, a couple of slides, uh, earlier, uh, making clubs again are a great way to learn some practical engineering engineering skills, uh, as a member of the solar car team. Uh, I learned how to weld.
I learned how to use CAD and run simulations. How to, um, uh, do, do testing on parts that I built. Um, it was just an all around amazing experience to put into, uh, to put into application that all the theoretical knowledge that I, that I gained from my coursework. So in addition to the solar car team, I mentioned there’s the formula SAE team, which is the race car team.
There’s rocket team Hyperloop. Uh, we have a driverless race car, uh, race car group at MIT, and just a number of other really cool making clubs that are available to students. And then finally our academic and pre-professional organizations. [00:14:00] And these are, um, organizations for, uh, pretty much anything you can think of any major.
We’ll have one of these, uh, pre-professional organizations. Um, these also include, uh, honor societies. So I, myself was a member of the mechanical engineering honors society, as well as the general engineering honors. And these, uh, these organizations and honors societies are just a great way to network with other students in, in your, in your major, as well as with alumni who, uh, graduated, uh, from, uh, who are graduated and currently working in the field of that, that you’re interested in.
Uh, many of these groups also have events where they bring in, um, different companies from the industry to recruit or give talks and presentations. It’s just a great way to meet other people who are interested in what you are also interested in.
So what are some career [00:15:00] paths that I can take with an engineering? So on the left here, I have a list of career paths that are, that are specific to what I have seen, uh, within students who are studying mechanical engineering, uh, or studying engineering in general at MIT and, uh, on the right are, is some data that I, that I pulled from, uh, MIT’s website of different post bachelors or post-graduate outcomes for students at MIT in general.
So not just engineering students, but all students at MIT, but let’s talk about the engineering specific postgraduate oppor, uh, post-graduate paths on the left. So many students who study engineering going to graduate school. So these are students who are interested in pursuing research roles after graduation or interested in becoming professors.
So many of them will go into graduate school in order to prepare for those, uh, those. Many students, myself included go into corporate engineering roles, engineering roles after [00:16:00] they graduate. So these are students going into engineering positions at corporate or large, larger companies, some students going into corporate management, rotational programs.
Uh, so these are programs where students will have a number of different, uh, we’ll rotate through a number of different roles, uh, in preparation to become, to become leaders or managers within a corporation or within a company, a number of students. Uh, and some of my very close friends went on to found or join startups.
Uh, and then finally many engineering students become consultants, whether technical or engineering, engineering consultants, or management consultants. And then on the right here again are, uh, uh, just some data about where students at MIT ended up. Um, and you can see the first, uh, the first, uh, The largest number of students going to computer and mathematical occupations.
And this is just a reflection of that. Uh, the [00:17:00] popularity of computer science at MIT. So by far the most popular majors, computer science. So this, this, uh, 38% here makes sense, but a good number of students also go into architecture and engineering occupations. These are the engineering tracks, like corporate engineering, engineering roles, or engineering consultants or other positions, but in startups.
And then, uh, all the other students, scientists go, uh, con uh, scientists, finance students, or anything else that people study at MIT, uh, round out the, the, the other, other post-graduate outcomes beyond those two. But you can see from this list that, you know, there’s really a large range. Of, uh, of tracks or paths that you can take with an engineering major, right?
So it’s not just limited to engineering occupations, but you can, a number of students become consultants. A lot [00:18:00] of people are going to finance. A lot of people end up starting their own companies. So there’s really no limit to what you can do with an engineering major.
How can I maximize my chances of landing an internship in the engineering field? So the landing and internship has a, there’s a number of factors that go into, into, uh, into being successful when it comes to, uh, internships. And the number one factor by far is having a strong technical foundation for a lot of these, uh, Hardcore engineering roles or internships within companies that are known for their engineering.
Um, the many of these interviews, uh, leading to these internships will be technical technical interviews. So these are interviews where, uh, the recruiter or usually it’s engineers within the company will sit down and ask you technical questions, [00:19:00] uh, hypothetical engineering questions, or they’ll dig deep into your engineering experience.
And they’ll want to know if you are a, uh, if you are a technically sound or a competent engineer. So the best way to prepare for, for these types of interviews is to take challenging and relevant coursework and to work on a number of impactful projects, and to really think about blessings and takeaways from, from these projects that you can apply beyond just the project and into, uh, apply, uh, in an engineering role at a, at a, at an internship.
So having a strong technical foundation is definitely the number one way you can, uh, maximize your chances of landing an internship beyond that. Um, another really important factor is just being professional. So having, uh, uh, a, a good resume and making sure your resumes free of grammatical errors, working with career services and upperclassmen to, to, um, [00:20:00] wordsmith your resume, developing a really good elevator pitch and an elevator pitch is, um, that, uh, first 30 seconds or so of you talking to a recruiter and explaining what you’re interested in and why, why you would be a good fit at their company.
So having a good elevator pitch can really take you a long ways in terms of landing an internship and, uh, being able to really articulate your experience as an engineering student and how that experience is relevant to what you’re applying. And that leads to the third, third point here, which is doing your research.
So when you’re going into these, uh, application cycles and looking for internships, it really pays to know what each company does. Um, comp the companies are different, of course. So you should really know what sets each company apart and beyond that, knowing what position you want at the specific company that you’re talking.
And, uh, that shows, uh, the [00:21:00] recruiter that you’re, you’re taking the application process seriously, and that you really know what you’re, what you’re applying for. And, uh, recruiters, recruiters usually really value someone, someone who puts in the work beforehand and knows what they’re talking about. And then, uh, finally tailoring your approach to each company that you talk to.
Right? So, um, if you’re applying to a very technical position, you would want to highlight the technical work, the technical projects that you worked on. If you’re applying maybe to more of a, uh, maybe a consulting or some type of management position, you might want to highlight, um, the leadership experience that you have, or, um, or just generally, uh, the relevant experience to that specific position that you’re applying for.
Awesome. Thanks so much of dollar before we let you continue the rest of your presentation. We’re going to do one more quick poll. Um, so the question is [00:22:00] where are you in the college application process? So while those answers are coming in a question I have for you, Darla is where, what was your favorite place to study on campus at MIT?
Uh, that’s a, that’s a good question. Um, there’s I think I had a number of, um, places that I said he didn’t frequently, but I would say my favorite place is a Barker engineering class. And if you’ve seen pictures of MIT, you’ve probably, you’re probably familiar with the big dome and, uh, the Barker library library is built underneath the dome.
So, and they have the study space right underneath the dome. So you can go there and you can look up and it’s really beautiful. Um, you can see the sun sunshine through the, uh, through the stone on the dome and it’s just super peaceful and I think it’s a great, great place to focus and get some work done.
Awesome. And that sounds great for those nights when, um, you might need to pull an all-nighter or close [00:23:00] to an all-nighter sounds like a very, uh, peaceful place to be definitely. Yeah. Awesome. So I’m going to close that poll. Now it’s looking like we have, um, 63% of folks who are, you know, I am researching schools so more towards the beginning of their, uh, college admissions process.
22% of folks have not started yet, but you, uh, doing great work by being here today and starting to learn a little more about potential majors. Um, 8% of folks are working, just started working on their essays. 3% of folks are getting their application materials together, and 5% of folks are almost done.
Congratulations to you all. Um, perfect. Abella I’ll pass it back over to you. Awesome.
All right. So is there anything I can do now in high school to increase my chances of getting into engineer? Yes, there’s definitely a lot you can do in high school to increase your chances. And I would say the number one thing you can do is to take your classes [00:24:00] seriously. And those include, um, not just your technical classes.
I know a lot of you who are interested in engineering are definitely already taking your math and science classes seriously, but, uh, beyond that, all of your classes, really, and I mean, as I’m sure you all, you all already know all your classes will impact your GPA and, uh, will be on your transcript. But these engineering schools want to see that you’re doing well, not just in your technical classes, but also in your other classes.
And as, as, uh, as I mentioned earlier, MIT does require us to take humanities classes because, um, even as an engineering major, these classes, uh, still add a lot in terms of necessary skills that allow us to be a really good engineers, right? So people who, um, people who take their, uh, People who take, you know, a large number of maybe writing courses or communication courses who are able to write well and communicate and present and empathize with others.[00:25:00]
Those are the people who will be able to get their ideas across and then be able to, um, uh, really understand, uh, what drives people when it comes to engineering challenges, even, um, you know, beyond just having the technical ability or the technical know-how engineering, know how to be able to, to solve a problem.
You also need other soft skills that you can begin building by taking these classes and doing well in them. Um, and then joining engineering clubs. So I talked about these making clubs that we have at MIT that are available to students, but many, many high schools also have engineering clubs and teams that you can join now and, uh, and begin developing some of the skills that I talked about.
All right. So, um, I personally was involved with, uh, the robotics club at my high school. And I learned a great, great deal of skills, relevant engineering skills that have served me well [00:26:00] going into college and even beyond college and, uh, you know, a, a very important skill. Of course, when it comes to these teams is teamwork.
Um, it’s, uh, you really need to be able to know how to collaborate with others because, um, you know, the, uh, working in a team and being a team player will allow you to have a product that is so much more robust and so much better off than something you would have been able to do alone. So teamwork, uh, practical engineering skills and skills beyond the classroom are, uh, uh, are really important.
And it’s a great way to start developing these skills is by joining these engineering clubs. And then finally, um, developing your interests while keeping an open mind. And what I mean, my, I mean, by this point is, uh, thinking really deeply about the question, uh, uh, of, you know, what it is that you are interested in, what is your passion?
And, um, [00:27:00] when you do, uh, start to find that passion or find really the, what, what drives you for me? I, it ended up being, uh, energy, uh, you know, taking classes that are related to that passion, but at the same time, uh, keeping an open mind and realizing that, you know, uh, people change over time. I mentioned earlier that I thought I was going to go into architecture, but ended up switching to mechanical engineering.
And I wouldn’t have been able to make that choice if I hadn’t taken some, uh, more make that decision of, I hadn’t taken some engineering classes in high school. I knew that, you know, I did enjoy engineer. So being able to build a vertical for yourself in terms of knowing what you’re interested in and taking classes and doing activities around those interests, but at the same time, uh, expanding your scope, taking different, different types of classes in different classes in different disciplines will and ultimately serve you well in helping you, uh, be a, a well-rounded [00:28:00] well-rounded student going into engineering in college,
and then finally, any, uh, pieces of advice, uh, for high school students interested in engineering and on the slide here, I have three. The first one is that engineering requires passion. So, um, as I’m sure you, you may, uh, have heard from other engineering students engineering and in college is not a walk in the park, right?
A lot of these classes are very challenging. Um, number of all nights, Um, there’s a lot great deal of stress sometimes, um, lots of workload, uh, but if you don’t, um, enjoy what you’re doing, it becomes very difficult to keep going, right. It’s uh, uh, you really have to, uh, you know, really enjoy the classes, enjoy your, um, you know, the, [00:29:00] um, enjoying the extracurriculars that you’re doing that are related to engineering really have a vision for yourself in terms of doing this, uh, or have some sort of idea of what you want to do and how this is what you want to do after you graduate and how this plays into plays a role into in preparing you for, for whatever it is that you want to do.
Uh, and that just helps. Uh, at least for me, it helped keep me motivated and helped keep me pushing through all the difficulties of studying engineering and. Second point here is that the best engineers are multidisciplinary. And I talked a lot about this in the previous slides. And this is just the idea that as an engineer, you can’t just focus on the technical classes and your technical skills, right.
You have to really be able to, um, uh, branch out and, uh, kind of have a foot in a number of different worlds, whether that’s, uh, engineering, whether that’s, you know, being a good communicator, being a, uh, [00:30:00] you know, have maybe some idea of the business world as well. And just generally being able to tie different disciplines together in order to create a solid engineering product and being a good engineer at the end of the day.
And then finally realizing that things don’t always go according to plan. Um, I gave an example of my, um, my decision to switch from architecture to engineering. Um, but I, this is just generally the idea that over time, Uh, maybe, uh, your, your interests might change your, uh, uh, uh, your passions might change and just keeping an open mind and being able to, uh, being flexible and being able to adjust, um, and, uh, pivot when it comes time to, to pivot will really serve you, uh, down the line.
And that’s just generally a great, great life skill to, to, to have, as you go into engineering or any, any field that you end up doing in college. [00:31:00] I think that wraps up the presentation. Awesome. Thanks so much have Dolla. Um, I know that I learned a lot listening to you speak, and I know that our attendees must have as well.
So, you know, that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you all found this information helpful. And remember that you can download the slides from the link in the handouts tab, moving on now to the live Q and a I’ll read through the questions that you submit in the Q and a tab, paste them into the public chat so that you can see and then read them out loud.
Before our panelists gives an answer as a heads up, if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, just double-check that you joined the webinars through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. So the first question that we received is, um, the clubs that you listed at Dolla at MIT are they run by students or teachers and also, is it possible to start your own club?
Yeah. [00:32:00] So these clubs are almost entirely run by students actually, which is, uh, uh, which is, I think is wonderful because it really puts the leadership in the hands of the students. Um, so, and for these clubs that are also primarily undergraduate students as well, and the, there are faculty advisors, but they’re just there in case we, we have, we run into any problems, but the clubs themselves are run by students.
Um, all the leaders, leadership, or students, we make all the decisions. We are the ones who go, go out and get funding, uh, partner with, uh, partners. If there are. Um, we schedule for the solar car team. At least we scheduled road trips. We rented the car as we were the ones who went out, took the car, um, you know, uh, tested it around the country.
We applied for races. Everything is student run, which I think is a great way to really develop some leadership skills as even as a young student. Awesome. So another question we [00:33:00] received, um, is, you know, the person said this session was advertised to me through NCSA, which helps student athletes get ready to find their right university.
And this person wants to be an engineer, but also play basketball. So his question for you is, do you see many student athletes taking an engineering curriculum? Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Uh, my freshman year I had three roommates. One of them is now an all American pole vaulter. One of them played varsity, um, volleyball throughout the four years.
And they’re just phenomenal, uh, athletes, but they’re also really, uh, uh, they’re also really smart engineering students. Both of them were engineering students as well. So it’s, um, definitely possible to play a sport and be a student athlete, uh, and be, uh, an engineering in study engineering. Great. And just to add onto that, I went to Northwestern for undergrad and we saw, [00:34:00] um, also plenty of folks who were taking engineering coursework or pre-med coursework and were student athletes.
It just something I heard from all those students where, you know, it just takes a kind of different, uh, approach to your schedule and studying and just figuring out the right way to kind of organize your day so that you’re able to kind of fit everything in since there is so much demand on the sports side of things as well.
Definitely. Yep. Perfect. So then the next question that we said, uh, that we received was if you could major in a different type of engineering, what kind would it be? That’s a good question. Um, I think I would major in, um, maybe chemical engineering. So I mentioned I had a minor in energy studies and a lot of that is looking into.
Um, you know, energy systems, um, different types of my research was, uh, in, uh, nuclear. So looking into different types [00:35:00] of fuel systems, um, uh, and when, when it comes to fuel and just the energy problems in general, a lot of that has to do with the chemistry behind it. And I ended up falling in love with chemistry, chemical thermodynamics.
So I had to go back again, uh, and choose something other than mechanical engineering. It would probably probably be chemical engineering with also a focus in energy as well. Very cool. Um, I, the next question that we received was how difficult would you say it is to get into MIT of Dolla? Um, well, what, that’s a difficult question to answer, um, because I mean, I have my perspective and for me, um, uh, You know, it’s it, it’s really difficult to put yourself kind of in comparison with everyone else because everyone at MIT is just so different.
Uh, I would say [00:36:00] if I had to answer, I’d say it’s probably pretty difficult, but it’s, um, I mean it, MIT wants to see people who are passionate about what they do. And everybody at MIT that I’ve met, uh, is really passionate about what they do and if you’re passionate, uh, and if you’re doing well in school and if you have, you know, you’re ambitious and you’re you have initiative then, I mean, the world is your oyster, right?
Nothing’s impossible. What a great answer. And just a reminder for the folks in the room and for the person who asked that question, I just looked for 20, 22 MIT’s acceptance rate was 6.7% this year. Um, and so it, you know, it’s like Abdallah said it’s competitive, but you know, nothing is ever impossible.
So, uh, another great question we received is, is there a business side to engineering? Yeah, definitely. Um, uh, engineering, uh, [00:37:00] engineering by itself. It’s, um, you know, there’s, it’s hard to solve many world problems that are just engineering problems, right? At the end of the day, everything comes down to, um, you know, whether we like it or not usually has something to do with money has something to do with, um, uh, different business elements, having a good, solid business model around a problem.
So he can be the best engineer engineer in the world. But if you don’t have an idea of how the business ties into, uh, the business side of things ties into what you’re, what you’re working on or what you’re doing as an engineer, uh, it’s difficult to make your ideas go, go for. Even as a mechanical engineering student, uh, we were not required, but highly recommended to take some classes in the business side of things.
So I ended up taking a few economics classes. We also had a management in engineering class that talked a lot [00:38:00] about the business side of engineering. I think those types of classes, it really rounded out my engineering experience. And now that I’m working full time, I find that they’re very helpful in terms of translating the technical problems that I’m working on to, uh, in terms of their impact on the company or their impact on the energy industry as a whole.
So having an idea or some business acumen is super helpful, even as an engineer. Thank you Dallas. So, uh, next question, we received as much as you are willing to share. Um, would you be able to share your high school stats? So including, you know, what club activities you took, GPA sat, scores, AP classes, extracurriculars.
Uh, sure. Yeah, it’s been awhile. Um, but, uh, I can try to remember, so club activities, I played football for high, [00:39:00] uh, my high school for three years. Um, that was kind of the big, the big. Big activity, big time commitment that I had. I also get a lot of volunteer work. I was an Eagle scout for boy Scouts. I did a number of, uh, many countless volunteer hours.
My Eagle scout project, uh, was I ended up starting a volunteer organization actually, uh, around mentoring, under underprivileged students in my local community. Um, uh, it was also involved with some, some clubs on campus, like the robotics clubs, robotics club. Um, yeah, I’d say that was pretty much it for my activities, uh, by, I took a lot of AP classes as well.
I don’t think I can name all of them now, but I think I took around maybe 10 AP classes. Um, my GPA was a 4.3, so [00:40:00] that was above four because of the AP classes. Um, Uh, sat score 1500, I believe.
Yeah. That’s what I can remember now. Uh, thank you so much for sharing that, um, much appreciated. So then, uh, next question we got was, what are your thoughts on biomedical engineering? Would it be a safer bet to go into something like chemical or mechanical engineering instead? Um, so I don’t usually like to think of it as, um, you know, a safer bet or not safe.
Bet. I think if you’re, if you are. Passionate about biomedical engineering, then I definitely encourage you to go into it. I have a very close friend who is studying mechanical engineering with me, but with a focus on medical devices and is now doing his PhD in biomedical engineering and he loves it. And I think it’s a very, uh, the sorts of problems that they’re solving are definitely really important challenges.[00:41:00]
They’re saving lives in terms of the devices that they, they design and the, uh, and the work that they’re doing. So if you’re passionate about biomedical engineering, we definitely need as many biomedical engineers as possible, you know, uh, given recent events in the pandemic and all that’s going on. Um, so I think it’s a wonderful field.
I personally wasn’t the best in biology didn’t really enjoy it. So it wasn’t, it wasn’t it for me, but, um, I, for many people, I think it’s a, it’s a great message. Great. So we got a question from an international applicant. They asked, um, do I need to participate in the science Olympiad and if no, are there other similar, um, extracurriculars to it’s that would be beneficial to my application?
That’s a good question. Um,
I, well, I would say that the competition [00:42:00] for international students is definitely is, uh, it’s a, it’s very difficult because there’s just so many students applying and doing, you know, activities like science, Olympiad, doing the number of different activities is wonderful because it could set you apart, but it’s definitely not required.
I know a number of international students who didn’t do these activities, uh, maybe because it wasn’t available to them or they just chose to focus on different, uh, different, uh, Different activities that they wanted to do in high school and they made their way into MIT. Uh, so it’s definitely not something that you have to do.
Um, and, uh, there are other options beyond just science Olympiad. There is, um, you know, a number of different math competitions, a number of different there’s physics. Um, there is, uh, just doing your own thing and going out and finding opportunities, uh, outside of these Olympiad competitions is also a [00:43:00] great way to show initiative.
So I think there’s a lot you can do. That’s not, uh, you know, not, not just these, these, uh, Olympiad com.
Awesome. So we’re going to take a real quick break in the Q and a section. Just talk a little more about CollegeAdvisor.com for those in the room who aren’t familiar with us. Um, so, you know, we know that the college admissions process is overwhelming both for parents and students alike. So we have a team of over 300 former admissions officers and admissions experts like Abdalla who are ready to help you and your family kind of navigate every part of the admissions process in one-on-one advising session.
Um, you can sign up for a free consultation with us by registering for our free web [email protected] Um, there, in addition to connecting with our team students and their families can explore webinars, keep track of application deadlines, research schools, and more all right on our website.
And this [00:44:00] webinar is actually being recorded and can be accessed [email protected] um, for your rewatch. Awesome. So back then to Q and a, um, a, another question that we received is should I consider a non, a, B E T school for undergrad, and then perhaps transfer to an, a, B E T school for mat for a master’s?
Um, I’m actually not sure what Abe T stands for. Do you know Rachel let I was, I Googled and then I lost my Google search on one second. Um, I think it is. Association, it’s a crediting organization that accredits college and university programs and applied in natural science, computing, engineering, and math.
Okay. So I think they’re asking, should I, um, if I’m interested in engineering, should I consider, you know, maybe a liberal arts [00:45:00] school or a non, you know, science, um, specific, uh, education, um, and then undergrad, uh, then transfer to one for masters? Mm, yeah, that’s a good question. And, um, I think you can, yeah, it, you don’t have to go to, uh, a specific or engineering specific undergraduate to go into engineering, uh, engineering in graduate school, or as a master’s student.
It does help, I think, but it really depends what your. Goal is right. So if you, if you want to work as a technical engineer, then it might make sense for you to study engineering as an undergrad, and then do that also, uh, uh, in graduate school. But if you want to, um, uh, maybe do something else with, with your education.
For example, I have one of my roommates now, uh, studied peace, peace building and [00:46:00] conflict resolution as an undergrad, and is now applying to a technical master’s program is applying to urban, urban planning and architecture, which is not exactly engineering, but still technical. And he’s the way he’s approaching.
It is sort of, uh, using that master’s program in combination with his background in conflict resolution, as a way to solve some, uh, uh, problems within, within cities in terms of city planning and other problems. So it really depends what you want to do. I would say if you want to go again, if you want to go into technical.
Uh, post-graduation then I would consider going into a technical program for an, for your undergrad, but if not, then it, I guess it’s a case by case basis and you should maybe spend some time thinking about what it is you want to do. Great response. So the next question, I think I’m curious to hear a little more about this as well.
Describe the student culture at MIT. Was it study, study all the time where there, you know, was there opportunities to [00:47:00] socialize and build relationships as well? Yeah, that’s a good question. Um, so I think at MIT, the way would, we would describe our, our culture is work hard, play hard. And what that means is there’s definitely a lot of studying, but, uh, also many opportunities to de-stress and do a lot of really cool things outside of study.
Um, I would say during the school week, uh, there’s definitely, you know, everybody around you is going to these sites. Uh, maybe some all-nighters everyone, uh, weeknights, everybody will be studying in libraries around campus. Uh, weekends are usually when students really go out and do a lot of fun things. Um, my Saturdays were spent in the machine shop, working on the solar car, um, and then, uh, doing judo on Saturday nights and some week nights.
Uh, but beyond that, uh, I, you know, there’s a lot of really, really, uh, you know, fun things to do around Boston that [00:48:00] people, uh, do weeknights. Um, if you’re into partying, there’s pretty decent party culture at, uh, you know, around campus. Um, lots of hiking in the nearby mountains, um, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont area.
Um, so yeah. Yeah, so lots of opportunities to do things other than study and other culture. Uh, other points about culture on campus. I mentioned that different dorms have their own culture. Um, so some, some of these dorms have very strong culture. Uh, we have a dorm called east campus, which is known for kind of being counter-culture.
Some people really like that. Um, we have different dorms where internet that cater to international students. Um, we have, we also have a large number of frats that are also have their own culture. We have a few engineering Kratts, uh, that kind of are geared towards, uh, engineering students. We have some frats [00:49:00] for scientists.
So regardless of kind of what you value and what your interests are, you’ll find a community for what you want to do at MIT. Awesome. So the next question we received is, is it okay to take the act instead of the sat? Yeah. Yeah. And I think depending on where you’re applying to some students or some universities that are flexible with what they accept, um, some people find the act to be easier than the sat.
Some people find the opposite to be true. So, um, I would encourage you to maybe experiment with both, uh, and, but also double-check where you’re applying and see if they accept a one over the other. Um, so I, but overall I do think it is possible to take the CT over the sat. Awesome. So other than MIT, can you suggest, suggest some good schools for mechanical engineering?
[00:50:00] Uh, yeah. Um, so MIT is up there, but beyond, other than MIT, I, uh, You know, there’s Stanford. Of course there is, um, uh, I I’m from the east coast. So I applied to some east coast schools. I applied to I’m from Virginia. So Virginia tech is a good engineering school. Georgia tech is a good engineering school. Uh, duke has some solid engineering programs.
Um, uh, Caltech is a great engineering school. Um, he, yeah, I think there’s a, there’s a pretty long list and I’m sure a CollegeAdvisor has some resources around that as well, but those are what I can think of off the top of my head. Awesome. Um, and a quick Google search, us news and world also has a great list of kind of the best, um, MCAT schools for mechanical engineering, um, right now in the country.
So the next question [00:51:00] we have is at what point did you have to declare your. Yeah. Uh, at MIT, we have to be clear and major in our second year. So the first year, uh, most people will spend the year taking some over the GRS general Institute requirements, as well as experimenting with classes and majors that they think they could potentially go into.
But by the end of your first semester of your first or second year is when you have to declare your major. Great. A question we got is what is the average day of someone working in corporate America? That was a recent graduate with a mechanical engineering degree. So I guess the question is what does the average day in your life of Dolla?
Um, interesting question, uh, So I work a nine to five job. I wake up, um, maybe, uh, wake up around six 30, um, eat some breakfast drive over to work, which is about [00:52:00] having our drive. Um, well, nine to five, but I usually ended up being there around eight, uh, because I have a flex schedule, which means that every other Friday I have off.
So I work longer hours on weekdays. So I have, I can finish my 40 hours or 80 hours every two weeks, so I can have every Friday off every other Friday off. So I get there about eight, uh, eight to five, um, have some early morning meetings with my team. We have some check-ins about what, uh, what our plan for the day is.
Um, then usually have a couple of hours to work on my projects, which are now kind of mostly doing research. We have. Um, so right now, uh, I’m gearing, gearing up for a presentation next week on a new technology that I was tasked to research. So a couple of hours of research, um, grabbed lunch with the team.
Um, [00:53:00] come back a couple of afternoon meetings. Uh, in my role, I talked to a lot of startups. So I might be meeting with a couple of startups in the day, uh, talking about their technologies, um, energy related technologies that we could potentially partner with for the company. Then end the day with another check-in with my supervisor, uh, about what, what I accomplished and what the plan is for the rest of the week.
And then go home 5:00 PM, maybe get a workout in, make some dinner and that’s it for the day. Very cool. It sounds like it’s a, um, a good mix of, you know, Research really flexing, you know, your background and skills, but as well as, you know, project based work and connecting with your team members, um, which, uh, seems like a really cool mix of, uh, time and spaces that you get to occupy.
Um, so a, we get, we got a question from a ninth [00:54:00] grader who is in first tech challenge in taking project lead the way engineering courses, their question is, would you recommend accepting a job shadowing, a mechanical engineer at Boeing as a summer opportunity or attending a summer camp at an entity engineering school or college?
Oh, that’s a, that’s a really good question. I think both of these. Wonderful options. Um, I personally would lean towards a shadowing and mechanical engineer just because that will, um, really shed a lot of light onto what, uh, an engineer does day to day. Um, uh, and I think as a ninth grader, as an underclassmen, you still have a lot of time to, um, you know, have a couple more summers to try all these other opportunities.
But something like that is, uh, definitely unique. I don’t know a lot of students who have that opportunity. Um, [00:55:00] and I think it could really, uh, tell you a lot about, you know, what it’s like to be an engineer and help you make the decision as to whether or not this is, this is the right path. Perfect. So we got a question, another person who’s interested in the business side of engineering.
So they said they heard of an engineering management major, but saw that most of those, uh, most of that field of study is for master’s degree. Do you know if there’s a major in undergrad that is close to kind of that direction? Um,
at not that I know of, um, there are so at MIT, I know there isn’t for sure, but, um, I’m trying to think. I mean, based on what I know about other universities, but I don’t think there’s a major specifically for engineering management, but I do know that many students end up double majoring in engineering and [00:56:00] business or engineering and finance or engineering and management, uh, at MIT.
We also have within the mechanical engineering major, there’s a. A focus on management. So you can do engineering with a focus in management, but that still falls within the general category of an engineering major. So you could still definitely take a lot of management classes and develop a lot of management skills, even if you don’t have a specific management, uh, degree.
Um, so that’s an option as well. Awesome. Super helpful. Um, so the next question that we got is would MIT still be a good school for someone leaning more towards the biomedical aspect of engineering? Definitely. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Um, we do have a biomedical engineering. We also have just a general biology major as well.
And, uh, there’s a lot of flexibility to take classes, even as an engineering major. I could take a lot of classes in biology if I wanted to do [00:57:00] biomedical, if I wanted to. Um, so the engineering, um, the, uh, The, the courses, the majors are very broad, so you can really do with it as you wish. So if you want to focus, lean towards the biological side, or by sorry, the biomedical side of engineering, you can definitely do that.
And kind of, I’m not really focused on the engineering side, if you wish, or if you wanted to, you could say, I think with the flexibility that the, that the major offers, you could really do pretty much whatever you want with the major. Awesome. So another interesting question we received is, you know, is a career in the field of engineering worth the cost of education.
Um, again, interesting question. Uh, I think, well, that’s, again, that’s a subjective [00:58:00] question depending on, um, uh, you know, what the cost is and. You think is worth it or not worth it, what that means to you. But for me, I personally think it is worth it. I think we do need more engineers in the world to solve a lot of the problems, that challenging engineering problems that we’re seeing now.
Um, and I know there’s a lot of discussion going on about making college more affordable, which is fully support that. And I think that’s, that’s wonderful. So maybe that will change hopefully by the time you guys are in college, maybe. Um, but I, engineering is definitely important engineering and, um, when it comes to the cost benefit analysis, there’s also lots of opportunity to, uh, recover those costs, you know, with an engineering degree.
Right. It’s um, depending on what you do, uh, engineers usually see some competitive compensation for the jobs that they, that they accept. So it’s, uh, usually a lot of people end up making, you know, [00:59:00] uh, recovering those costs pretty quickly after they grow.
Perfect. So we got a lot of really great questions about folks who know they have an interest in engineering, but are not really sure which brands of engineering that they’re most excited about or most passionate about. Do you have any advice or tips on how to kind of parse through and, you know, figure out your interests when there’s just so much information out there?
Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I would say, definitely take as many different types of classes as you can. Um, but I mean, I doesn’t mean spend all your four years taking all different types of classes without a focus. Right. But take classes that you are interested in that you think you could potentially, uh, could potentially develop into something further, um, talk to people who do different types of things, figure out what they do.
Um, ask them about their experience, learn from them. Um, Maybe, if you have the opportunity to do internships in a number of different [01:00:00] roles that might help, uh, then just generally just reading and doing your research about what, uh, different fields and. Awesome. Well Abella thank you so, so much for answering all these questions and for your presentation, um, that is the end of our webinar tonight.
So thank you all for coming out and again, thank you to our panelists of Dolla. So, you know, we had a really wonderful time talking to you today about college, major, deep dive engineering. Um, we have a number of awesome other webinars up this month in April. Uh, the rest of this month on Tuesday, we have a Q and a with former admissions officers that you will not want to miss.
It’s going to be a really interesting conversation. Again, you can register for these [email protected]/webinars. Um, thank you all again and have a good night.[01:01:00]