My name is Bruno Aranda, a senior in Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach. I chose the AE propulsion track because of my passion for engines and aviation. My interest in engineering began early in high school when my friend and I started “flipping” cars which means we would buy cheap cars with mechanical issues, fix them, and sell them for profit! During my time fixing cars, I took apart several engines and my curiosity for complex machines continued to grow. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I eventually learned how a jet engine works (simplified of course) and from then on I was sold.
Please tell us about your learning experience at your GE Aviation internship/co-op, both professionally and personally. What are the benefits you will take away from these experiences?
After three co-op rotations with GE Aviation, I can say I have grown tremendously both professionally and personally.
I had the opportunity to work at three different GEA sites in Lynn, MA, Cincinnati, OH, and Huntsville, AL. While working at each site I must have met hundreds of professionals who in some shape or form had an impact on my professional career. My experiences at each site were each unique both at work and outside of work, but the most important thing in common was the volume of networking I did! Being able to grow relationships with professionals in my field of interest and continue to grow them after my co-ops has been critical to my success.
I think this can be related to any internship with any company, but a huge benefit of completing co-ops was the opportunity to see my work directly impact not only the business, but the customers. Almost everything I did and learned while at work was crucial to my success. It was no longer like at school where I might learn something new and think, “I’ll never use this again in my life.” Every skill developed at work was put to use almost immediately and always kept improving.
As mentioned above, my co-ops were all in different states. I grew up mostly in North Carolina and then moved to Florida for school. For my co-ops I’ve had to move 14-22 hours away in different directions every year. I had just finished freshmen year and was 19 years old when I had to move to Boston by myself. There was no longer an institution telling me where you I can live and telling me that the finances will be taken care of with payment plans and have advisers to consult with. Throughout these past 3 years I’ve learned extensively on how to search for housing, plan financially, move across the entire east coast with all my belongings and move back 4 months later, and then do it all again in 8 months. It was a challenge and I made plenty of mistakes along the way, but sometimes that’s what it takes to learn.
What advice do you have for students interested in obtaining an internship/co-op?
My best advice is to always update your resume, attend as many conferences possible, and NETWORK.
– Updating a resume can take 5-10 minutes as soon as you completed the project, job, etc. Waiting until the day before an interview or career fair can be stressful and lead to careless mistakes that recruiters won’t miss! And remember to tailor your resume to the company of interest; not everyone is looking for the same skills or experience!
– Most of my friends and colleagues (and myself) have obtained an internship/co-op through career fairs and conferences. There are so many golden opportunities at these events and recruiters are more excited to meet you than you think and want to hear about you!
– Finally, networking is what will get you the farthest in your career, no matter what stage. It only takes one right connection for you to land the position you’ve been wanting for years, whether an internship or first real job. Some say it is being at the right place, at the right time, but it’s really all about who you know!
How has your time with GE Aviation impacted your college experience?
I have noticed in myself after my co-ops that I come back to school with a slightly different mindset every time. When I finish a rotation, I always finish in stride. Meaning the first few weeks I take my time to learn the job and my responsibilities and always finish on a cliff-hanger. When I get to school, my mind is still in “work mode” so I always see my productivity levels are higher every time I come back. Also, how I see classes have changed. I no longer sit in classes just to learn the material to get a good grade on an exam. Now I analyze in class how this new material relates to the real world and how I could apply it to my job. Completing these co-ops have changed how I see school entirely.
What are your plans for post-graduation?
I am excited to finally say I have accepted a full-time position with GE Aviation in their Operations Management Leadership Program (OMLP), starting next fall! This is a 2-year rotational program where I will be able to see different aspects of the business through 3 roles. This will be a great opportunity to experience different roles and at the end of the program know 100% where I want to steer my career.