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College Experience Translating Into Real-World Applications

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I recently finished my freshman year of college at Clarkson University and, even though it was only my freshman year, I still gained a lot of knowledge and experience. Clarkson University is a technical school, which means they focus more on engineering, business, and technology majors. Engineering is definitely the most prominent, with around 55% of the school in the engineering field one way or another. The business school is the second most popular with 21% of the school. Each of these schools are highly coveted and are filled with excellent staff.

My major takes advantage of both of these schools. I am an Engineering & Management major which means I get to split my time between the engineering school and the business school. The reason I wanted this major is because I get to be exposed to the engineering side along with the business side. I believe this will be extremely beneficial for me because I will have the knowledge and understanding of the engineering side while also being able to run the business side. My first year has shown this to be true. Going through Clarkson's engineering program will definitely gave me the knowledge to work in the field; classes like Calculus, Chemistry, and Physics at the college level give a deep understanding of the material. Along with that I got to take classes through the business school that have already helped me in my internship here at Indium Corporation. Classes like Organizational Behavior, Accounting, and Informational Systems gave me a good base onto which to add professional experience. These courses were interesting to me. However, the most beneficial courses that I took had to be the courses for my major.

Being an Engineering & Management major I take a more diverse selection of classes than students who are just in the engineering school or just in the business school. The classes that I got the most out of are the classes for my major. My major had two freshman-level courses called Team-Based Design & Innovation, and Technological Entrepreneurship. These courses were definitely my favorite because we were put into real-life scenarios. In Team-Based Design & Innovation we were split into teams of 5 and had to design a medicine ball rack and make a sales pitch for it. We had to determine how we were going to make the balls, the design of our rack, the sales forecast of the product, and a good way to sell it. I learned a lot about teamwork and gained valuable experience in Microsoft Office, Auto Desk Inventor, and Matlab. Our team had to get along and be productive, so it was important to be able to work with the team and to be able to work alone. This skill was also used in the other class, Technological Entrepreneurship. This class was a little different, we were still split into random 5 person teams but this time we had to pick a product of our own and make a business plan for it. The task was to design a product that could be produced by St Lawrence NYSARC, which is a group that strives to increase the quality of life for disabled people. This means our product had to be easy to make, safe, and repetitive to make sure it is a good task for the disabled workers. Our group came up with a whiteboard cleaner which involved mixing water and isopropyl alcohol, putting it into small spray bottles, and packaging them. We had to come up with an entire business plan including a sales forecast and marketing analysis. This project definitely helped build my teamwork skills because there was a lot of work to be done individually and as a group, so relying on team members and coming through for your team was something that had to happen consistently. We had to do a formal presentation in front of our class and a panel consisting of our professor, a NYSARC Representative, and other staff. This made it feel like a real life scenario.

The experience I got at Clarkson University this year definitely helped me throughout my internship. Working with others is something that is undervalued in the business world, not everyone can do it. Through my experience at Clarkson University I was able to jump into teams here at Indium Corporation and be successful.