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Et Students How'd The Transition Go?

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Student Issues - Present & Post Graduate

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.537.1 - 8.537.6



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Paper Authors

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Michael Holcombe

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session _____

ET grads – How’d the transition go?

Michael L. Holcombe Purdue University, South Bend


We in the academic world often wonder about the trials and tribulations experienced by our graduates as they transition from academia student status to full-time industrial employment to begin their careers. Many students leave the university with no experience in industry, some have had co-op experience and others have had internship experience. In addition, many of our ET students are in the category that we call non-traditional students who may have had a variety of experiences during the years between high school and college. Each of these ‘student types’ may have different views on the transition experience.

This paper reports on the results of a survey of ET graduates which was designed to ferret out the areas in which they felt they were well prepared and also those in which they felt their undergraduate education could have done a better or more complete job. Graduates may have transition difficulty in areas such as ability to perform in a multi-discipline teamwork environment, ability to understand the business case of assigned projects, problem solving skills, troubleshooting, critical thinking skills, project management, working within a budget, reporting to a supervisor, written and oral communication skills, working in a union environment, and learning to use hardware and software different than what was available in school.

In addition to reporting on the results of a survey of ET graduates, the paper reports on the results of a survey of employers of ET graduates. Employer evaluation of the graduates’ competencies in areas such as those mentioned above is valuable to ET educators as they shape their curriculums to address the needs of graduates and employers.


The first interface with the workplace can be very scary for the new graduate. How harrowing this experience is for the graduate depends upon how well we have prepared them for the transition from academia to industry. The good manager realizes that the fresh graduate is like modeling clay. That is, they have the technical training in a broad- brush sort of way and now need to be molded, shaped and tempered into a valuable asset.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright? 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Holcombe, M. (2003, June), Et Students How'd The Transition Go? Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12078

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