Going into sales with a Purdue Engineering degree.

Author: Timothy Dres, BSME 2006. Sales Engineer, Carrier Corporation (a United Technologies subsidiary)
There are many degrees that you can get from a university, but there aren’t many as versatile as an engineering degree from Purdue University. When I started the engineering program at Purdue I assumed I would end up in the auto industry, or maybe I would use my degree to design new technologies or improve existing ones. However, as I took more classes I was convinced that design was not the right path for me. I began to doubt my choice to get an engineering degree because I wanted to do something that was more social and more business-oriented (I was even minoring in psychology because I found these classes to be very interesting). Then I discovered engineering sales.

Upon graduation in 2006 I was looking at many job options that were available and none of them grabbed my attention until I found one for HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) sales in California. At first glance I thought, “Sales. That sounds nothing like engineering and what do I know about air conditioning?” But after looking into it a bit more it sounded exactly like what I was looking for. California seemed like a bonus too! So I went to the interview and I was hired relatively easily. It turns out that on the west coast many companies think of Purdue as an Ivy League school, and even when they know Purdue is not Ivy League, they are still impressed and recognize Purdue as an elite engineering school.

Enough about my story though. The real question is how does this apply to current and future Purdue engineering students as they enter into the job market? I guess the most important thing to take from my story is that you truly can do whatever you want with your Purdue degree. You can go into design. You can go into science and medicine. You can go into business and/or sales. You can own your own business. The potential of your degree is endless, and many other degrees do not offer that flexibility. You should also know that a Purdue degree garners a lot of respect and that there is no shortage of Purdue alumni in the business world that you will bump into. There are dozens of them in the company I work at, and hundreds that I have met in the industry. Probably the most important lesson I learned at Purdue was not taught in a classroom, or at a seminar...the most important part of the degree is the social setting that Purdue provides to all of their students. Never underestimate how important networking and social interaction is in the business world. And Purdue does an amazing job at setting the atmosphere for that.