By Chelsea Bailey '16
Late in the summer, PGP had the amazing opportunity to take a group of students on a tour of Continuum in Boston, one of Olin's most desirable employers. Continuum is a design firm that works in product or service design, as hired by clients (Gillette, Target, Samsung, for example). They have five locations in LA, Milan, Seoul, Shanghai, and Boston. The Boston location is made up of 150 employees, and is the heart of the company's engineering activity.
Olin is lucky enough to have two alumni currently working at Continuum in Boston. Liz Kneen '08 is a mechanical engineer who put Olin on Continuum's radar when they hired her four years ago. Liz spent some time at Olin last year talking about how to put together a portfolio. Recent grad ('13) Jared Kirschner joined the Continuum team as an electrical engineer last month.
And Continuum is now starting to hire Olin interns. One of the most exciting parts of our trip was being able to visit Allie Duncan '15 who worked as a software intern at Continuum this summer. Check out our video to meet Allie, her boss Adam, and hear about the Continuum experience. She did such a good job that Adam joked that he was not going to let her come back to Olin this fall! Allie admitted her mom had different ideas about that.
What Does It Take to Get Hired at Continuum?
Continuum is a highly appealing workplace, but not an easy company to join. '08 Alumna Liz Kneed explained, "It takes a lot to just get through the door." Her advice? Much of the process relies on timing and luck, but networking can give you a real advantage. She advises, "Be passionate. Be curious. Network where you can." Adam adds, "Be interesting and sell yourself."
What skills can you work on in the meantime? They recommend that mechanical engineers be well-versed in SolidWorks, have full machine shop skills, and a strong grasp of mechanical fundamentals. From the software side, they recommend competency in C, C#, some visual studio, and a scripting language. Start researching code standards and learn how to make your code beautiful and easy to read.
No matter what form of engineering you are passionate about, it is key to start working on your people skills as well. Continuum, similar to most design firms, relies on working with clients. Your ability to communicate and sell will be just as important as your abilities to design and build.