Introduction

Greetings, I am Pranav Meshram, and I am from India. I came to the US to pursue my master’s in mechanical engineering. I finished my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in India right before I arrived. When I was in high school, I got into repairing motorbikes and scooters. I enrolled in a vocational school for motorcycle servicing and got hands on knowledge while working on 4-stroke engines, ignition chambers and calipers. My parents took me to one of the most premier universities in India and I got a tour of their engineering labs and projects. This solidified my belief that mechanical engineering is the correct career choice for me. During my bachelor's degree, I did a couple of internships where I was a part of a nuclear reactor equipment team. I helped in the design of sampling and cleaning tools that were installed in cooling channels of the reactor. This grew my interest in product design and prototype testing. In 2018, I enrolled in University of Maryland, College Park and decided to pursue a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on engineering design. I worked on 5 projects while partnering with industry leaders like DeWalt and Dassault systems. I was a Research assistant in the Material Measurements Lab and Engineering Design Suite. I worked on redesigning a Cordless circular saw for Dewalt, the purpose was to reduce sawdust expulsion and reduce battery usage. My project on Material crack and Fatigue gave me the opportunity to work with the DOD and conduct destructive testing on Aluminum clevis grips. I also worked with I realized I loved finding solutions to design flaws and optimizing processes. I worked on the redesign of electric saws and conducted fatigue analysis on marine clevis grips. I graduated in 2020 and joined the automotive industry as a Program Engineer to work on thermoforming tool design. I also started working on waterjet programming, and assembly line design. I became part of the technical program management team and continually develop engineering standards and reports for new tooling. Over 3 years, I have designed multiple assembly fixtures which enhance the thermal and acoustic performance of wheel-liners and underbody parts I different vehicles. Currently I work with industry leaders like Honda, Toyota, and GM. My biggest project was streamlining the manufacturing process of the Honda Accord Underbody and door insulation. I also worked on tooling development of the Toyota Sequoia Battery plate covers and trunk. My average day comprises of Industrial compression molding and Waterjet robot design which integrates precise engineering and robust materials to create durable and intricately shaped products through high-pressure molding processes, while maintaining exceptional accuracy and minimizing heat-affected zones. I enjoy working on different projects. Every problem is different and requires unique solutions. Brainstorming sessions with my team are the best part of my day as we exchange ideas and work on finding production efficiencies.

Mechanical Engineering

career options

Below are a few career options in the field of Mechanical engineering. This field is very vast and encampases a lot different áreas. A lot of them overlap with other fields and allows us to be an integral member of a cross-functional team.

1
Mechanical Engineer
2
Automotive Engineer
3
Manufacturing Engineer
4
Robotics Engineer
5
Design Engineer
6
Biomedical Engineer

Mechanical Engineering

 skills

What are the main hard skills you use on a daily basis in your current job?

1
Computer Aided Design (CAD)

Fundamental skill for any design engineer. CAD allows us to visually represent various products, run simulations, and make design adjustments. I use CAD software like SolidWorks, AutoCAD, Inventor, and Fusion 360 to develop compression molding tool design, work on assembly jigs and use CAD models for gathering data about the part. This helps us determine the optimal manufacturing process and workflow needed for mass production. I have been using SolidWorks for more than 6 years now and it is one of the best platforms to learn CAD. Having proficiency in CAD unlocks career options in the fields that need engineering design, most notably in the automotive, aerospace, and biomedical industries. I learned these software through tutorials on YouTube, Community forums, working on projects and learning on the go. When I felt confident, I enrolled into a certification course and received my license for SolidWorks certification.

2
Technical Program Management

All product launches are supplemented by six sigma improvement process. As engineers we must quantify the requirements, perform prototyping and testing to gauge current performance metrics, understand the problem statement, conduct Root Cause analysis, adjust processes as needed to reduce inefficiencies, and fine tune the manufacturing work-cells to have the mass production as ready as possible. The program management team is responsible for program tooling and equipment, including concept, design, build, and launch activities. They track, manage, and report all tool build timing and progress throughout the program. This is an important skill if one is working as a Process Engineer, Project Manager, Consulting Engineer, or a R&D Engineer. Learning this skill is a little tricky since it is a continuous learning process. I searched for opportunities to work on cross-functional teams or projects that involve coordination between technical teams and other departments. Networking and Mentorship play a huge role as well. Connect with experienced technical program managers. I received mentorship and guidance from individuals who have excelled in this field. Attended industry events, conferences, and workshops to network with professionals in the field to stay updated with the latest trends and practices.

3

4

5

What are the main soft skills you use on a daily basis in your current job?

1
Communication Skills

Mechanical engineers often need to communicate complex technical concepts to diverse audiences, including colleagues, clients, or those without technical backgrounds. Clear and effective communication is key in sharing ideas, discussing solutions, and presenting findings. A regular day comprises of talking to customers and suppliers, asking questions, feedback sharing, negotiations, and adapting to situation. I developed this over time while working on internships in my undergraduate degree, projects and research during graduate school and 3 years in the industry.

2
Problem-Solving

Engineers, including mechanical engineers, frequently encounter problems that require innovative and analytical thinking. Being able to identify issues, analyze data, and devise effective solutions is a critical soft skill. Gathering information is a key part of my daily job as it gives me the necessary tools to evaluate my options in a tough situation. Data-driven implementations are often the key to finding the right solutions. I developed these skills mostly while I was working with industries in my graduate school and during my current job.


3
Teamwork and Collaboration

Mechanical engineers often work in multidisciplinary teams, collaborating with professionals from diverse backgrounds. The ability to work well in a team, share ideas, and contribute to collective goals is essential. This skill develops on its own when you work in multiple teams often. This can be viewed as an experience-based skill.

4
Creativity and Innovation

Being able to think creatively to design and develop new products, processes, or improvements in existing systems is a valuable soft skill for mechanical engineers. Innovation often drives advancements in engineering. You need strong fundamentals of the subjects to be able to be creative in your field. This is also an experience-based skill but can vary depending on problem solving acumen.

5

Pranav

’s personal path

Tell us about your personal journey in

Mechanical Engineering

:

The pursuit of one's dream job can often be a challenging and arduous journey. For me, it involved sending out many job applications (about 500 over 3 months), in the hope of finding that perfect match. I majorly used LinkedIn, Indeed and personal connections that I made during my graduate school. However, the job market's dynamics and the sheer competition often mean that landing the dream role can feel like navigating through a maze of uncertainties. As rejections or non-responses accumulated, I realized that the emotional toll can be profound, triggering feelings of self-doubt, frustration, and anxiety. Graduating smack dab in the middle of COVID-19 did not help either. Each rejection felt like a setback, I often ended up questioning my qualifications and suitability for the desired position. The interview experience itself was a mix of nerves and anticipation, as I was striving to highlight my skills, experiences, and passion for the role. For my current job, the recruitment process involved three rounds of interviews, each requiring meticulous preparation, problem-solving, and adapting to different interviewers' styles. Despite the challenges, maintaining perseverance, honing skills, seeking feedback, and networking eventually led to the realization of that coveted dream job, often making the journey's struggles feel worthwhile in retrospect.

What would you tell your younger you regarding building your current career?

If I were to offer advice to my younger self regarding building a career as a mechanical engineer, I would emphasize the following key points: Gain Diverse Experiences: Do not limit yourself to just classroom learning. Seek internships, co-op programs, or part-time jobs to gain practical experience in the field. These opportunities provide invaluable insights into real-world applications, industry practices, and help in developing a network. Master Technical Skills: Focus on mastering the technical skills required in mechanical engineering. Become proficient in CAD software, learn about different manufacturing processes, delve deep into thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and other core subjects. A strong technical foundation is crucial for success in this field. Continual Learning and Adaptation: The field of engineering is constantly evolving. Stay updated with the latest advancements, emerging technologies, and industry trends. Pursue additional certifications or courses to expand your skill set and adapt to the changing demands of the industry. Develop Soft Skills: While technical prowess is essential, do not overlook the importance of soft skills. Cultivate effective communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership skills. These abilities complement your technical expertise and are vital for career growth and success. Networking and Building Relationships: Invest time in networking with professionals in the industry, mentors, and peers. Building relationships can open doors to opportunities, provide guidance, and offer different perspectives that can aid in your career development. Seek Mentorship: Find mentors who can offer guidance, advice, and support. Learning from experienced professionals can provide invaluable insights and help navigate the complexities of the industry more effectively. Stay Resilient and Embrace Challenges: Embrace challenges and setbacks as learning opportunities. The path to success might have hurdles, but staying resilient, learning from failures, and persistently working towards your goals will lead to growth and achievement. Consider Specializations or Advanced Studies: Depending on your interests and career aspirations, consider specializing in specific areas within mechanical engineering or pursuing advanced studies like a master's degree or PhD to deepen your expertise and open new career opportunities.

Final thoughts & tips

Your journey as an aspiring mechanical engineer is akin to crafting intricate machinery from raw components. Embrace this voyage with unyielding determination, for within every challenge lies an opportunity to innovate, create, and redefine possibilities. Remember, the complexities you face are the very canvas upon which your technical expertise will paint solutions. As you delve into the realms of thermodynamics, mechanics, and design, cultivate not only precision but also a sense of humor—a tool as vital as any in your kit. In this journey, your gears of perseverance will drive you forward. Every concept mastered, every problem solved, and every joke shared amidst long hours in the workshop shapes you into a resilient and resourceful engineer. With every wrench turned and every blueprint sketched, you are not merely learning; you are crafting the blueprint of your future success. Stay curious, stay resilient, and keep your spirits high. Your journey does not just shape mechanical systems; it shapes a legacy of innovation, progress, and limitless potential.

Pranav Meshram

Pranav Meshram

Mechanical Engineering
Build Fellow
Open Avenues Foundation
Open Avenues Foundation

Pranav Meshram is a Mechanical Engineering Build Fellow at Open Avenues Foundation, where he works with students leading projects in mechanical engineering.

Pranav is a Program Engineer at Vistech Manufacturing Solutions where he works on automotive tooling and equipment, including concept, design, fabrication, and mass production product launch. He also supports commercial activities regarding process concept, tooling/equipment costing, and customer technical reviews.

Pranav has 4 of years of experience in mechanical engineering. He has also worked on nuclear reactors and assisted in development of tools for cleaning cooling channels.

He holds a master's degree in mechanical engineering.

More like this