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Internship vs. Graduate Job
Sync
2 Posts

Hi,

I am currently a 3rd year MEng engineering student, but I have the option to leave this year with a BEng.

I currently have two job offers: one is a summer internship, the other is a full time graduate role.

However, I am not sure which one to take.

 

Graduate Job Benefits:

  • Full time, permanent job

  • Working in an area which is where I want to work

  • In a city which I prefer

  • No more school.

  • No more applying to jobs

Graduate Job Negatives:

  • Having a BEng as oppose to an MEng will prolong me becoming chartered

  • Starting salary is nothing special

  • No guarantee they will sponsor me to do an MSc (for chartership)

Summer Intern Benefits:

  • Only 8 weeks

  • I can go back to school and finish with an MEng/MSc which helps towards chartership

  • Possibility for sponsorship through final year and guaranteed job

  • I really liked the person who interviewed me

Summer Intern Negatives:

  • No guarantee of a job/sponsorship afterwards

  • In an expensive city and I would need to find accommodation.

  • Not sure what exactly I'll be doing.

  • Much smaller company than graduate job (but still a multinational)

 

One option I considered was doing both, since I could technically fit the 8-week summer placement in after my degree and before I start my graduate job, but that might end up being stressful.

If you were in my position, what would you choose?

Thanks.

5 Replies
Andy Millar
1763 Posts
Hi,

Good question! As I've just posted in answer to a slightly different question, don't do a master's just to get Chartership, the extra evidence that you'll need to show for your CEng application if you "only" have a Bachelors is not that much - if you're doing an interesting job that you enjoy you can easily pick up that extra evidence whilst getting paid for it.

More critical is how Bachelors / Masters affects your long term career prospects, and that very much depends on the type of work you want to do and the industry you want to do it in. So look at job sites for the type of job you might want in five years' time and see what qualifications they are asking for. That should help you a lot.

It's difficult because it's very much a personal decision and there's no "right" or "wrong" answer, each way just leads you down a different career path, and often can still end up at the same place. 

A few specific comments on your pros and cons:
  • "I really liked the person who interviewed me" - irrelevant, there's a good chance that you won't end up working for / with them anyway. If if you start working for them they can easily move on shortly afterwards. (If you've had a chance to look around the company and like the overall atmosphere that's different.)
  • "Not sure what exactly I'll be doing" - interesting point, very often even in a new permanent job you won't be sure exactly what you are doing, and in fact in the most interesting graduate jobs you shouldn't be - the whole point should be to get a range of opportunities and options as you start to explore the real world. But you should have been given some idea of what areas you will have the opportunity to explore.
  • "Much smaller company than graduate job (but still a multinational)" - But what do you want? Big companies appear to be stable, and appear to offer logical progression plans, but equally you can feel you are stuck in the machine. Small companies can be chaotic and risky, but also full of opportunities - small companies (or stand alone parts of big companies) can create new opportunities to specifically suit you, but it is up to you to show what you are capable of. So do you want stability (although beware that's often a bit of myth in big companies) or risk and opportunity? Again no right answer, just what suits you.
In the end, whatever you decide if you go into it with determination and the right attitude it'll be fine in the long term! I think the one bit of definite advice I would give when choosing an organisation to work for is: if everything else is equal, choose the one that seems to employ people you'll enjoy spending 8 hours a day with.

Good luck,

Andy  
Sync
2 Posts
Hi Andy,

A lot of excellent points there.

I think one thing I definitely need to do is look at what options are available for me to achieve CEng with a BEng, because I know a masters isn't necessarily a requirement.

Thanks for your help.
Roy Bowdler
819 Posts
Financially the answer is obvious.

There is nothing to stop you studying for an MSc in the future, perhaps more focussed on a subject area closely matching your career pathway, if you still have an enthusiasm for academic learning.

The only downside that I can think of, is if you intend to migrate, because some countries require a “4 year Engineers Degree”, for their version of “registered engineer” (see Washington Accord). Whatever you do, gaining Chartership is a few years away.

The UK-SPEC standard has just been renewed for 5 years and the emphasis on professional competence, means that on balance good work experience is arguably of more value, than more time spent in university, unless you want a research/academic type career.

In the workplace, if you have enough drive and initiative you could really be making a name for yourself in a years time, instead of competing with other MEng graduates for a limited number of training positions.    

PS I replied before seeing the other thread about MSc.   


 
Andy Millar
1763 Posts
Sync:
I think one thing I definitely need to do is look at what options are available for me to achieve CEng with a BEng, because I know a masters isn't necessarily a requirement.

All you will need to do is show that your work experience has given you knowledge "equivalent" to a Masters, which is what most candidates seem to do - the majority of candidates I support through their CEng applications have Bachelor's degrees. Normally there is nothing extra that you will need to do in your CEng application (of course, we are trying to use crystal balls to look a few years into the future here!), the only difference is - to put it simply - that the assessment panel will look at the technical knowledge and learning you show in your work in slightly more depth, in line with Roy's post.

This may sound a bit odd but: if you do find yourself in a position where your job requires CEng, then you should be able to successfully apply for CEng! The point being that your employer will only consider you for such a role if by that time you have developed through your career all the competences which are needed to achieve CEng.

So I'd really suggest thinking about a career first, and then CEng will fall naturally out of that if it needs to.

BUT what is really useful to do now is to get hold of a copy of UK Spec (see the link for the upcoming edition which I posted last night on another similar thread in this forum), the requirements, "competences", in there are not just those you'll need to meet for achieving CEng, but more importantly they are the requirements that employers are looking for in their senior technical staff - which of course is why they are the CEng requirements. So they are a good guidebook to the competences you want to be developing over the next few years anyway.

Oh, and a final thought, you may find in a few years time that you decide to move more towards project or other management rather than the more technical side, many do, in which case IEng may be the more appropriate registration category anyway.

Cheers,

Andy

I think the question here is about the BEng to secure job vs MEng rather than the internship, which is certainly valuable but not the crux of the matter. Neither is the MEng/CEng connection particularly important - that'll be possible on either route if you are doing the right work.

Option 1: It's a bit cheeky but what about the following: you ask the lovely company who want to employ you if they would defer the position for a year to allow you to finish your MEng? They'll probably say no, but it's not a stupid thing to ask.

Option 2: If you are sure about the sponsorship through your final year and a guaranteed job afterwards on the MEng route, then surely this would be a goer? Assuming its an area you want to go into.

Option 3: Finish with a BEng, take the job.

Don't do the internship and then start a graduate job.

For what it's worth, 11 years ago I took the 3rd year -> summer internship -> 4th year MEng -> job route.

 

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