(Note: This is part two of a 2-part series). Part one can be found here.
Alumni Reflections of MSOE from a Mechanical Engineer Marcus Poppler ’02 is a Project Engineer in the engineering department at Taylor Dynamometer, the leading manufacturer of engine dynamometers located in Milwaukee.
Marcus attended MSOE where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology with a specialty in fluid power. Marcus shares some insight on his experience at MSOE and how it prepared him for his career.
What college courses were most helpful in preparing you for your career? Even though my major was mechanical engineering technology, MSOE required that approximately 25% of my credits were in the electrical engineering field. At the time, I didn’t necessarily understand its importance. But now I know that they were helping me focus on systems rather than just the mechanical elements. This was very beneficial because in my job I perform a great deal of electrical design work. Without that training, I might have missed out on some great job opportunities.
I’d also say that the courses I took for my minor in fluid power were helpful. My background in fluid power enabled me to get my current job with Taylor Dynamometer, as well as my previous position with a manufacturer in the hydraulic industry.
What advice would you give current MSOE students? Take a foreign language. The workplace is becoming more global, so having the ability to speak a second language will give you an advantage. But more than that, it is a sign of courtesy and respect to have the ability to speak to another person in their native language. I’ve had the opportunity as part of my job to travel to several other countries and met people who spoke three and four different languages. I really admired those people and wish I shared that ability.
Take every advantage to hone your practical skills – CAD, rapid prototyping and trade skills – while in college because you will rely heavily on them in the workplace. I wish that I was faster at CAD now because I’d be more effective in my profession. The curriculum at MSOE offered some opportunities to work on CAD, but there were other opportunities in which I didn’t take advantage. If I had to do it over, I would spend more time mastering CAD and other skills.
Get real work experience. At Taylor, we offer internship programs that provide engineering students the opportunity to work on a variety of projects. You will work with other engineers on important projects that will end up in the marketplace. A number of the interns have been hired full time by Taylor, so it also offers an opportunity to prove your capabilities.