Learn what students have to say about the Integrated Engineering program:
Past IGEN president
Q. Why did you choose IGEN?
A. I transferred from a college, and admittedly, it wasn’t my first choice because I didn’t know much about the program. But if I did know about the program upon applying to UBC, it would’ve been my first choice.
Q. What do you like about IGEN?
A. IGEN has a very personal atmosphere. Relative to the other engineering programs at UBC, it’s pretty small, and we’re a close-knit group. If you have a question on an assignment, chances are you’ll pass a classmate in the lounge and you can ask for help. 4th, 3rd and 2nd year students all interact in the clubhouse and help each other out when ever possible.
Q. Since the IGEN program is new, how is it with potential employers?
A. Overall, the response from industry has been really positive. I’ve heard employers say, “I wish I could’ve studied in that program,” and “Our company could use more engineers with your broad perspective.”
Q. Is it a challenge informing employers about the program?
A. No, I find it’s a really good ice-breaker to tell prospective employers about the program. IGEN is unique in that we gain a very broad skill set, approaching a problem with an understanding of the various disciplines—civil, mechanical, materials, chemical, electrical—but we also have the opportunity to specialize in topics that truly interests us.
Q. Do you think students in other programs might have an advantage in getting a job because they are more specialized?
A. No, we really have a unique opportunity to absorb as much as we can about our niche interest. We take 18 technical electives and those can be from any discipline; we get to choose from over 200 courses from all the engineering departments. So if there’s a specific topic you want to pursue such as green energy—you can take electives in chemical, mechanical or materials. And we’re not limited to 18 electives—in this respect, we can be even more specialized than a specific discipline. It’s a degree that can be customized to suit your professional goals.
I’m finding that the interdisciplinary nature of the Integrated Engineering program helped a lot to prepare me for my masters studies at ISU [International Space University in Strasbourg, France], a school that stresses the “Interdisciplinary, International, and Intercultural” nature of their masters program.
The Integrated Engineering (IGEN) program prepares you for the real world of diverse job scopes, problem solving, information management, and project group collaboration. After only two years out of university I have already been in three different engineering roles as a design engineer, project engineer and sales engineer. The multi-disciplinary engineering approach has given me the ability to successfully solve complex systems and problems by breaking them down into manageable pieces. Information overload is common in today’s working world, but IGEN students quickly gain the ability to deal with vast amounts of varying information. The real work world also requires working with groups of people on projects. The project-based learning courses in the program prepare students for this environment. The Integrated Engineering program has prepared me to be successful in today’s diverse engineering environment.
The Integrated Engineering program was great for me. I almost left engineering after the general first year, as I was not compelled by any of the other department’s options – however I was pointed in the IGEN direction. The program was enticing because it was varied and flexible. The faculty were fun, yet challenging, and the variety in the students brought so many different project ideas to the table.
I am currently working in the real estate development industry, and am involved with many aspects of projects that pass through. Having a broader base education makes it easy and practical to be as involved in so many ways. Many people in the workforce I have spoken to are very interested to hear about the program and view a general degree as common-sense.
I will likely be applying to the EIT program soon, and look forward to moving up in my career. In the meantime, I have also traveled around the world, worked hard on getting my mum elected to Vancouver city council and still play soccer. Like the four food groups, variation and integration are key – isn’t that what we all learned in kindergarten?
Life as an IGEN Alumni has been good. In retrospect the decision to join Igen has prepared me very well for the demands of the workplace. I landed my dream job as a Electrical and Control Systems Engineer at International Silvatech Industries (www.silvatechgroup.com). For the last year and a half I have been designing, integrating, testing, and tuning prototype control systems for military power-packs and drive-trains. The skill set that I received as an Igeneer has truly enabled me to think outside the box and approach “problems” with a variety of solution paths. This intellectual flexibility has been recognized by colleagues and customers alike. I attribute this to a well-rounded educational experience. I also firmly believe that it is essential for an engineer to babble the theoretical and implement the practical. This can only be done with a hands-on engineering education. Thanks for the great vision and recognizing the potential of the IGEN program.