Second-year graduate student Orlando Salemi earned his Bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Houston in December 2013, where he graduated with honors. He then went to work for HP in the manufacturing department for high-end servers, and he was part of an outsourcing project for transferring manufacturing facilities.
“I gave input to determining the specific products, and the quantity of servers and racks, that were expected to be built at the new location,” he said. “That also included creating instructional videos and SharePoint Sites, in order to achieve a seamless transition of information”
Salemi was capable of doing the work, but felt he could use more technical foundation.
“Senior engineers constantly discussed designs that involved mechanical systems,” he said.
Wanting more out of his career, he applied for the Rice Engineering Professional Master’s Program (EPMP) in mechanical engineering. He received a fellowship from the Lloyd’s Register Foundation for his studies, and anticipates graduating in May 2017.
“Having an advanced degree will allow me to climb the corporate ladder faster and to be more competitive in my career,” he stated. “And this mechanical engineering program is different than others, because it is specifically designed for students who want to go into industry.”
In addition to the core technical requirements for the professional master’s degree, Salemi is also taking some engineering management classes to help him round out his mechanical engineering expertise. He said these courses have been beneficial because they focus on teamwork, leadership and communication skills.
“I took a Leading Teams and Innovation class, and it helped me understand the process of developing a team and motivating people. I also took Technical and Managerial Communications, which emphasized presenting technical work to others who may not have an engineering background.”
Salemi feels the EPMP complemented what he learned as an undergraduate, and at the same time offered crucial technical design components that are necessary for mechanical engineering success. “For me, mechanical engineering is a more technical degree, and it leaves the door open to a variety of career choices,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to be able to approach problems in industry by using intersectional ideas from both industrial and mechanical engineering.”
He’s looks forward to pursuing a career in the oil and gas industry. ExxonMobil, Shell, and Chevron are at the top of the list of corporations he’d like to work for.
“I would like an engineering position that applies mechanical design, specially geared towards the reliability/maintenance of equipment that is used in the oil and gas industry.”
Because the Professional Master’s Program in mechanical engineering focuses on engineering design as well as leadership skills, Salemi feels it is a great fit for his current academic and future career goals. He also knows an advanced degree is attractive to employers.
“Rice University’s program is rigorous, and people in industry want to see this combination of design and leadership abilities, so this was an excellent choice for me.”