“The company is about to launch on the market the product developed during my internship. Seeing the manufactured product is surely the most satisfying result achieved until now.”
Why did you decide to study mechanical engineering at Politecnico di Milano?
Let’s say that other than liking scientific subjects, I’ve always been a sucker for vehicles: I spent my teenage years “working on” my motorbike. In a way, I’ve always known I was going to study mechanical engineering, even though at some point even materials engineering and nanotechnology. After hearing the programme presentations, I learned that mechanical engineering would have allowed me to cover all aspects of engineering, including energetics, electronics, and economics, giving me a complete education without leaving out materials and nanotechnologies. All things considered, it has never been about what, but more about where. In fact, I did think about moving to the US. Among many others, I really considered attending MIT, Stanford, Columbia, and Berkley. Truth be told, I soon realised I wasn’t willing to give up many comforts and conquers in terms of freedom, which would remain guaranteed if I stayed home. Besides, staying wouldn’t have prevented me from studying in one of the best Universities in the world. In the end, I don’t regret not going to the US. Who knows what the future holds: I might still be able to make my dream of getting an MBA or MSc in Business overseas.
How did you manage to fit into the university lifestyle?
The beginning was tough. University is nothing like secondary school. The same module is cleared in one lecture and simply hearing your Professors in class is absolutely not enough to pass the exam. Time after time, I understood how much time spending studying, how to organise my study sessions based on the amount of coursework, and what activities to sacrifice to reach my goal. However, winning the race against time is hard, regardless of your determination. By the day between year 2 and 3 set as the deadline to calculate the Grade Point Average (GPA) to choose the Preparatory Track, I didn’t have the required ECTS. I had to go with one of the Professional Tracks instead. Although it was not my choice to make, today, I am happy with what attending this track gave me in return. The opportunity to participate in a company project-work where theory can be applied to carry out real-life tasks is a super gratifying experience.
I believe that when you say company project-work, you are referring to your compulsory internship. Correct?
Precisely. The Professional Track awards 18 ECTS for a compulsory internship, included two credits for the “Preparation for the Internship” modules. Accordingly to my track on industrial plant engineering, I worked full-time for a company that produces lighting systems and assembles mechanical components for third parties. I got an interview there thanks to someone I know. This company offered me the chance to develop, supported by their design department, a new product: a bulb to enlighten the interior of machine tools. After the formal acceptance by the Internship Administrator and the appointment of my Academic Tutor, I started the internship by carrying out some market research. I personally visited some companies to hear their needs. When starting a new project is fundamental to understand the consumer’s problems and needs. In my case, the system to develop had to guarantee the users full visibility inside the machine during production while minimising maintenance time and costs. After the development stage, the manufactured prototype underwent several lab tests to verify its resistance to shocks, water, and chemical agents. The product is about to be launched on the market. Seeing it manufactured is the most satisfying result of my academic career so far.
How did the company and your academic tutor help you organising your work?
The company helped me scheduling the whole development stage, whereas my tutor supported me on the most practical part of the job, including scheduling activities and technical support, making corrections, and providing suggestions. Officially, the internship lasted for as much as the Programme states. Still, I kept following the project even after the end of the internship for two reasons: I wanted to see the final product manufactured and write a complete internship report. In fact, other than the written assignment on the experience itself, I could include all technical sheets, from designing to testing.
Did the company ask you to continue working with them after your internship?
They asked if I wanted to continue following the project, but did not make a formal job offer. I had already shared with the company my idea to get a Master’s Degree after my graduation. So, I believe they never made me a proposal sure I would decline it.
Do you have any piece of advice you’d like to share with anyone who wants to enrol in a Mechanical Engineering Programme?
Beware, you must study a lot and continuously. You will have to take both written and oral exams for the same subject, meaning you will have to study twice. However, you must never forget your goal and find the strength to start all over after failing an exam. It is not easy getting back on track after a failed test but, you will eventually move past it with the right motivation.
Discover more about the Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.