“We’ve been very successful with Stevens Institute of Technology graduates. They come with a well-rounded education and stellar resumes. Their approach to problem solving is practical, not theoretical, so they’re able to learn and come to decisions quickly,” said Lydia Goubrial, manager, office engineering and training at FM Global, a commercial property insurance carrier with big-name clients such as Johnson & Johnson.
“At FM Global, we come up with engineering solutions for our clients in order to mitigate risks and protect them against hazards. Our engineers are boots on the ground – they’re on site at our clients’ locations, helping them to prevent or recover from a loss.”
Some of those boots on the ground belong to members of the Stevens Class of 2017 – four were recruited to join FM Global before they graduated in May. The new hires, just a few months into the job, are already contributing to the company, according to Goubrial. She says that the workplace readiness of Stevens graduates is, in fact, one of the reasons why FM Global regularly recruits at Stevens’ career fairs.
Hands-on work experiences give Stevens students a competitive advantage
When FM Global looks to recruit, they’re not just looking at the degree, says Goubrial, they’re looking for people who have been tested in the real world – people like Kevin Wheatley ’17 and Ravi Shah ’17.
Wheatley and Shah, now consultant engineers with the company, both graduated with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. But that’s not what made them stand out in a competitive field. By the time each met with FM Global recruiters, they had built up impressive resumes filled with meaningful work experiences through the Stevens Co-Op Program.
They gained exposure to different industries in a variety of areas, including manufacturing, design, supply chain procurement, product development and project management: Wheatley at Dr. Pepper, Picatinny Arsenal and Sigma Design, and Shah at UTC Aerospace Systems, Fisher Price and GlaxoSmith Kline.
“The co-op program did extend me one year – I stayed five years for a bachelor’s instead of four. But I came out of it with about 20 months of job experience,” said Shah.
Those co-op experiences paid dividends for Shah and Wheatley post-graduation.
As Goubrial describes it, having those real-world credentials demonstrated their ability to work in a professional environment.
“In their current positions, it’s not purely a function of engineering. They need to be able to effectively interact and communicate with a lot of people who don’t necessarily have an engineering background, whether it’s the plant manager or people in marketing, finance and so forth,” explained Goubrial.
International experiences helped grads adjust to new places and people
Another bright spot on their resumes that caught recruiters’ attention was their study abroad experiences. Wheatley spent his fall semester in Dublin, Ireland in 2014 and Shah in Budapest, Hungary in spring 2016.
“I probably went on 15 interviews and most of the companies did notice the study abroad experience and would ask me about it,” recounts Shah.
For Wheatley, his semester in Ireland was his first time traveling overseas.
“It helped me to become self-reliant. It took me out of my comfort zone in a way that probably would not have happened if I didn’t get to experience being on my own in a foreign country away from family and friends.”
Shah thinks studying abroad is notable for an international company like FM Global, which has more than 5,000 employees around the world.
“In my current role, I’m traveling and meeting and interacting with people from all walks of life. The study abroad, together with having worked in four different industries in four different states, gave a picture of the kind of broad experiences I could bring to the company.”
Now that they have joined the ranks of Stevens alumni, Shah and Wheatley reflect on their time at Stevens with gratitude for how it prepared them for post-graduate life.
“[Stevens] teaches you how to think and how to figure things out more so than any other school that I’ve been exposed to,” said Shah.
Stevens’ emphasis on the hands-on application of knowledge, says Wheatley, is critical to what his current role demands.
“At FM Global, we go through very intensive training all the time, and we apply the things that we learn when we go out into the field. It’s the same kind of real-world approach to knowledge that I was taught at Stevens.”