1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Would a manufacturing/industrial engineering internship benefit me?

  1. Apr 7, 2013 #1

    I am a sophomore mechanical engineering student looking for an internship to get some real life experience. I applied to an aerospace company which makes hybrid electric motors for a manufacturing/industrial engineering internship and have an interview. This seems like the type of company I'd enjoy working at in the future but I'm wondering how ideal this industrial engineering internship would be compared to my major focus, mechanical engineering. Would it help my skills in the future or should I take a ME internship if I can?

    These are the responsibilities listed:
    -Prepare detailed, step-by-step work instructions for the production and testing of all HEV and Aftermarket products. This involves becoming hands-on familiar with the product and following a defined format.

    -Update Cell safety information boards.

    -Conduct and document time studies of the various operations in the production cells.

    -Assist with the implementation of 6S and Visual Factory projects.

    -Assist in the layout and execution of product line layouts.

    -Create a searchable database to manage deviations from the customer.

    -Assist in creating standard work on the production floor.

    -Assist in creating a database for assembly part traceability.

    Any thoughts? Thanks:smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 9, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yes, in my opinion, you would benefit greatly by participating in the above internship. You will work side-by-side with engineers on real problems. It can (would) be a terrific opportunity to supplement all your classroom and lab learning. I have seen young juniors and seniors come to our company on summer internships. They all gained. I encourage you to go and do it!

  4. Apr 9, 2013 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Wow, the first item looks completely unbelievable for an intern IMO. Probably somebody in HR cut-and-pasted it from a job description without knowing what it means:

    Do you really think they are going to let an intern write the documentation on how to build and test their products????

    The rest look more plausible intern-type activities, e.g. "Update Cell safety information boards." = "make 100 copies of a piece of paper and go round the factory pinning them onto 100 notice boards", etc.

    IMO none of this will teach you much specifically about mech engineering, but it will teach you quite a lot about how an engineering company operates - just keep your eyes and ears open and soak up the atmosphere.
  5. Apr 9, 2013 #4
    That's probably the standard HR-type description for an intern in that department. I'm sure you won't be doing just those tasks. No one likes writing new work descriptions and submitting them to HR for each new intern, so I'm sure they're reusing this one.

    I work as a mechanical engineer and I had an internship in high school at an aerospace composites manufacturing company. It helped me understand how engineering companies generally function, but also gave me some valuable practical knowledge in how problems are actually solved. (The company also hired me after I graduated high school, so it helped me get a job as well.) It also gave me perspective throughout my college career. In school, a lot of times the professors don't have a lot of practical experience in industry solving things (with notable exceptions), but they'll tell you "this is how it's done in industry". With some practical experience, you'll be able to see how to apply your knowledge better. Besides, any practical experience is better than none. Companies do look for that in a job search, and you might gain a job skill that will help you later on in your career.

    For a mechanical engineer, some actual shop time is invaluable. I've talked with a lot of shop guys and their biggest gripe with designers is that some of them don't have a clue how things are actually made. They say that designers who come from school with no real shop experience come to work and design complex parts that are overly difficult, if not impossible, to build when simpler designs would be sufficient. They might not think about if the part might need a fixture or some way to be held in the tool. They might not take materials into consideration; they might call out stainless steel or aluminum when regular carbon steel would work fine. They might not think about heat treatments on metals. They might not realize that there are standard sizes that materials come in and it's easier to order those than just cut it out of a big block or something. They also might not dimension things correctly so that it's easy to measure, build to, or inspect to. When you actually make parts on the floor, you gain a greater appreciation for these types of considerations. I would say it would help you immensely, even if you're not planning on working in that particular field.
  6. Apr 9, 2013 #5
    Try to get this internship. Whatever you do, don't tell the interviewer you're holding out for one at another company. The things you learn as an intern are more about the real world and less about your areas of study. I think the internships are harder to get than they were a few years ago. So, make the best of the interview. You might not get another chance for this summer.
  7. Apr 9, 2013 #6
    Thanks everyone, that helps a lot. I'm actually hoping to get this one over any of the ME ones. Wish me luck
  8. Apr 22, 2013 #7
    I got the internship! Any advice would still be appreciated! : )
  9. Apr 22, 2013 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You will probably be assigned to a person who will be your "direct supervisor". Pay attention to what he or she says. I know that sounds a bit basic, but when a company evaluates an intern they call in the supervisor and ask, "did he do as you asked" and "did he contribute to the team effort?". Positive answers result in a positive evaluation.

    I had a similar opportunity once (a really long time ago). I used to go to my supervisor (team leader) with a list of items that seemed to me that needed to be completed. I asked for him to prioritize them for me. Then I'd go and start on his highest priority item. The system worked well, our project got completed on time, and I got a good recommendation!
  10. Apr 23, 2013 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Any work experience will be good for a few reasons.
    1) To look good on a resume
    2) To expose you to the work environment, whether it will be similar to life after graduation or not.

    That said, there's no way to know how specifically, technically useful an internship will be to your future profession. There are certainly mechanical engineering specific internships that will have little to no value other than filling a spot on a resume. This internship may very well turn out to be extremely useful even though you don't consider it related. My most useful experiences come from non-engineering positions.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook