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Old 09-14-2014, 12:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Advice for a College Student Internship at United

Hi everyone,
This upcoming week, there is a big career fair at my college. There are tons of companies coming like Boeing, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, United Airlines (which I'm most interested in), etc. Currently I'm a freshman studying engineering with an intended specific major of aerospace engineering which I'll enter my junior year. That's how they do things here at Penn State University. Anyway I would love to get an internship with United (or another airline) and I'd love some advice from anyone who has maybe done this before.

My biggest flaw is that I'm a freshman. One of the programs they offer, is for aerospace engineering students that are sophomores or higher. Since I'd do this in the summer, I would be finished with my first year and technically be a sophomore but even then United would probably be more inclined to offer a spot to someone older. I want to make a great impression and hopefully land this. With some luck, all of that previously useless knowledge of airlines will finally pay off.

Any advice would be great! Thanks.
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Old 09-15-2014, 10:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice for a College Student Internship at United

Anyone????
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice for a College Student Internship at United

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Originally Posted by Bob Smoot View Post
First piece of advice, don't ask on a forum with a bunch of kiddies that talk about toy airplanes.
I don't know, some folks had gone through it, Micheal, and we do check occasionally. I'm more frequent at W900 and Buzz myself these days.

Quote:
Hi everyone,
This upcoming week, there is a big career fair at my college. There are tons of companies coming like Boeing, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, United Airlines (which I'm most interested in), etc. Currently I'm a freshman studying engineering with an intended specific major of aerospace engineering which I'll enter my junior year. That's how they do things here at Penn State University. Anyway I would love to get an internship with United (or another airline) and I'd love some advice from anyone who has maybe done this before.

My biggest flaw is that I'm a freshman. One of the programs they offer, is for aerospace engineering students that are sophomores or higher. Since I'd do this in the summer, I would be finished with my first year and technically be a sophomore but even then United would probably be more inclined to offer a spot to someone older. I want to make a great impression and hopefully land this. With some luck, all of that previously useless knowledge of airlines will finally pay off.

Any advice would be great! Thanks.
I wish it was spread around earlier in my college career. Companies for reasons that escape me ABSOLUTELY hate hiring people who are not Freshmen and Sophomores for internships (then gripe to the school that the people they hired don't know what they're looking at (true story!)). Plus most of the older students wouldn't be able to make the GPA requirements they want either. So apply while your GPA is still a three-oh and above! I know Lockheed Martin for example, wants at least two years out of people, so Juniors and Seniors need not apply. Plus, I can tell you, chances are high that your GPA will be dented too by the time you're up there, so getting in early is preferable.

Another piece of advice is this. Clubs, if you haven't already join them, AIAA, SEDS, all those guys, join them. Believe me, it's worth the $20 due! You'll get practical experience with software, electronics and materials (i.e. Carbon fiber (it's made out of magic. We dropped a coupler for our rocket in SEDS off a 4 story building and there was absolutely NO deformation. )) I know many friends who have gotten jobs through these places themselves, and it really increases those chances. Since you're still early on, you should be able to make time for Workshops and projects easily. Believe me, your classes will NOT teach you on how to work with anything, they'll give you an idea of theory, but most of your classes will not give you the hands on experience that can help get a foot in the door! Even your senior project won't help you there.

Most classes that an Aerospace engineer would take that feel relevant wouldn't be until their Junior Year and later. Until then, you'll be getting your basic math and physics out of the way (along with any gen-ed classes). Then, if you're lucky, by your sophomore year, you'll get through Statics, then Dynamics, then Thermodynamics. Around there you'll have either Fundamentals of Aerodynamics course (or whatever it's called out there) and/or Fluid Dynamics. That should be your first class that feels right on when it comes to Aerospace. Up until then, everything feels like a bit of a rehash of Physics.

As an Aerospace Engineer, if you're going more into the Aero side of things, get good at Star CCM (CFD program), MATLAB (it may not be as pretty as MathCAD, but 20 times more functional, and even more attractive on a resume, plus the similarity to C++ is a huge plus), and maybe Solidworks or ProE. Most people don't go into the field with any experience with either as interns from what I understand, but this will make you look better in their eyes.
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Old 09-22-2014, 02:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice for a College Student Internship at United

Whatever you do, just do something. Besides providing you what will be hopefully relevant experience, it will allow you actually meet people who can help you in the future. One of the biggest mistakes I made in college is that I fell behind in my first year. Falling behind wasn't the mistake...it was the mistake I made afterwards. I was just determined to graduate on time so I took on extra courses in the summer to do so. I didn't have any time to do an internship as a result. That was the biggest mistake I made.
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Old 09-22-2014, 09:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice for a College Student Internship at United

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Originally Posted by arctic9048 View Post
Whatever you do, just do something. Besides providing you what will be hopefully relevant experience, it will allow you actually meet people who can help you in the future. One of the biggest mistakes I made in college is that I fell behind in my first year. Falling behind wasn't the mistake...it was the mistake I made afterwards. I was just determined to graduate on time so I took on extra courses in the summer to do so. I didn't have any time to do an internship as a result. That was the biggest mistake I made.
With Mechanical and Aerospace students these days, it's rare to see anyone finish in that 4 years they say one would. 6 to 10 is more common from what I see. With a lot of majors in the STEM fields, graduating within that 4 years they expect everyone to isn't too realistic.
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Old 09-22-2014, 11:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice for a College Student Internship at United

I am currently a freshman at ERAU with an Aviation Business major. While that is different from AE and your situation could be different, I plan on waiting to do an internship until my sophomore-junior year so I have time to build up my GPA and gain some experiences with some clubs/network. Just my opinion though.
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Old 09-23-2014, 12:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice for a College Student Internship at United

Also some more advice from my time here already, I wouldn't set my sights on just one company. If you only want to work/internship for one company and they deny you, you will be very disappointed. If you really do want United though, I would try to contact people who work there or if you know any alumni from your school that work with them. You will also have a very short amount of time to make an impression, don't screw it up.
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Old 09-23-2014, 04:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice for a College Student Internship at United

Thanks for the advice everyone. I talked to people from United at the career fair and one of the guys said it would probably be better to apply next year but I'm still try anyway (probably after my 1st semester so at least I'll have a GPA to give them). I'm really trying to get this sooner than later because it would be great to be able to put on a resume when applying for other internships. Between my sophomore/junior years or junior/senior years I'll want to intern at Boeing, Gulfstream, GE Aviation or somewhere else that's aerospace focused versus United.
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