BMW Munich is a best things of an automotive engineer

The 4 Best Things I Got To Do As an Automotive Engineer

AEHQ Essential Non-Technical Advice for Engineers 1 Comment

These are the 4 most memorable and most enjoyable things did during my automotive career (so far). Although these are very exciting experiences, keep in mind my day-to-day is not at all like this. I still enjoy my daily career, but these experiences stand out as great memories. All of these were truly rewarding and made me confident that I chose the right career path.

 In no particular order:

 1. Visited BMW’s secret prototype lab in Munich

            I cannot tell too much about what I got to see here or else they can have me shot. Being an automotive nerd, it felt like I was in the automotive mecca. Being able to see the not-yet-released prototypes of Mini, Rolls Royce and BMW was an automotive lover’s dream. One of the coolest things that I can now talk about was seeing the 4 series BMW development. In order to get into the lab we had to scan our badges in front of a large “tube” which would open up, scan you to make sure you were the only one entering, and then open up on the other side. Once inside, everyone was wearing blue labcoats, and carrying all this advanced machinery around on special carts. I felt like I was in some evil villain’s secret lair. I had to hold myself together to avoid geeking out as they were transporting and installing the Rolls Royce engines right in front of me. I kept wanting to say to everyone “Can you believe they are building a Rolls right there!” However, the hard part was that they were as familiar with these builds as I was with my desk stapler so my excitement had to be contained.

2. Spend over 5 months of my life in Germany, specifically St. Leon, Friedrichshafen and Munich.

            My career has taken me to Germany four times, and each time I loved it more and more. The automotive world is so amazingly global and I made sure to join companies Friedrichshafen Germanywhere traveling was a good possibility. What makes it more exciting when you travel for business, is that you get a very different world view of the location than when you visit on vacation.While in Friedrichshafen, I was commuting on the autobahn every morning, which made my daily commute in the US way more boring when I got back home. While on other business trips, I commuted daily on the U-Bahn and worked out of these companies’ main headquarters. After work I visited all the numerous local hangouts and beergartens. My German was (and still is) pretty awful, but I managed to live and work in an amazing city that was both foreign and exciting. I would recommend that everyone find an opportunity to live and work in a foreign country, because it gives you a completely different perspective from your normal daily routine. Luckily, Automotive Engineering is the perfect field to do just that.

3. Test drive M3 on BMW’s performance center track

            Ok it wasn’t actually a test drive; however it was a mandatory training that we had to do when starting at BMW (some called it training, people like me viewed it as part of the benefits package). I can say that this was one of the most exciting days I ever had working. I would have paid hundreds of dollars to do this outside of work, and the fact that I could whip around in a 400+ HP car on a test track was unreal. We had to do brake tests from 100MPH, run slalom and loop courses, and train on a wet skid pad. The best part was on the skid pad when the instructor decided to yank the E-Brake. We had to correct the oversteer with a combination of aggressive steering and acceleration. You could have seen my geeky wide smile from a mile away as I was attempting to hold a 360 degree power slide in an M3. Afterword heading back to the office, I remember shaking with an adrenaline rush- this was by far one of the most exciting experiences I have had.

4. Seeing the first thing I designed myself, go from lines on a computer screen, to a physical product.

            High-tech car service station is a best things I got to do as an automotive engineerThe first thing I designed that went into actual production was a small 35mm bushing. Nothing special to look at but there was so many calculations, applications data, and material specifications that went into designing this part that it was just pure magic to see it materialize into physical form. I still have it on my desk and talk about it like it’s my child when people ask me. I remember bringing it home the first time and my girlfriend said, unimpressed, “it’s just a circle”. But no matter how small it looked, I knew  I had taken something that I worked on and applied what I had learned to produce a physical part that would go into hundreds of thousands of vehicles each year. As a designer it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks when you are looking at that computer screen. I have helped design many components since then in a team environment that have been much more complex and impressive, but nothing truly on my own. So every time I look down at that “circle” it makes me feel proud that I was able to contribute to the automotive world in a small but awesome way.

I am not trying to impress you with these, because I know there are so many other cool things people do every day in the automotive field. My goal is to show you that in addition to good pay and interesting daily work, there are some exciting experiences that come along that you are  unlikely to find in most other professions.

If you have had a great experience as an automotive engineer we would love to hear about it below in the comments!

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