MEM Society

Buffalo, New York Student Finds His Place at MEM

The University of Connecticut might be a favored institution of higher education in the state of Connecticut, but with the uniqueness of a program like Management and Engineering for Manufacturing (MEM), it draws students well beyond state borders. One example of this is Jonathan Rucinski, UConn Senior and MEM major.

Jonathan RucinkskiThe Buffalo, New York resident said he came to UConn because of the MEM program and because there really isn’t anything quite like it anywhere else. While there are a few similar programs at one or two other universities, no other program balances both business and engineering quite like MEM.

Rucinski reflects that when he was in high school, his STEM background had him leaning toward an Engineering degree, but felt that Business had a strong appeal for him in spite of that. He found himself wondering whether he should focus on business or engineering in his college search process.

“I wanted to lean on engineering because I had mainly done science and STEM, but business interested me, so I did a search for programs that were engineering and incorporated some business,” Rucinski said. “They were mainly 4+1 programs, but I really wanted something I could do in 4 years.”

He doesn’t recall if he found the MEM program or whether it was his mom, but either way, he was immediately interested. “We came for a visit and it was exactly what I was looking for.”

“I thought it would be good to stand out from the pack and diversify myself for my resume and as an individual with a degree that was both business and engineering,” he continued. “With MEM you get the engineering skills, but can talk business and so you get to be a liaison to go between both sides in industry.”

He explained, “The other program was a little more involved on the engineering side and a little weaker on the business side. I wasn’t sure I wanted to lean that far into engineering. Then I visited and spoke to Professor Tang, and he told me about the jobs MEM students look for and how they go both ways, more into business or more into engineering.”

When he saw the benefits and the versatility of an MEM degree, he was sold.

Did anything surprise you?

Now that he is a senior in MEM, he says the one surprise is how his interests have evolved so much. “I didn’t realize I had such a passion for data analysis, but getting to do so much of that really sparked that interest and led me to apply for the MS-BAPM 4+1 program, in which I am now enrolled,” he said. “It has let me dive deeper into data analytics, especially business analytics, and I am really enjoying that.”

Being so far away from home was difficult for Rucinski, he explained. “I am really family oriented, so I still call home a lot, but the nice thing about this being a smaller program, is that you make friends fast because MEM students have a lot of interests in common and study and work together so much, so you really get the small feel with the benefits of a big university.”

What’s Next?

Rucinksi intends to finish his 4+1 program after completing his BS in MEM from both the School of Business and the School of Engineering. After that he said he is considering staying in the area for work since there is such a great network of manufacturing and industry with which MEM has a great relationship.

 

 

Landing an Internship on the Production Floor – Archana Velathaupillai Shares Her Experience

Getting an internship is something every MEM student thinks about at some point during their undergraduate career. It can help you gain professional experience, apply concepts you’ve learned and develop professional connections that can help you navigate your future career options. Archana Velathaupillai, MEM junior, had the opportunity to work for 12 weeks as a Manufacturing Engineering Intern with Otis Elevator at their manufacturing plant in Florence, South Carolina.

Archana Velathaupillai on the Production Floor at Otis
Archana Velathaupillai performing an internal ISO 9001 audit at Otis Elevator’s plant in South Carolina.

“This was a really unique internship because most of the time interns don’t get to really work on the production floor, but this internship gave me that chance,” Archana said.

Archana had the chance to work in operations on the production floor at Otis where she did time studies on production lines, 5S implementation on the production floor, improved standard work procedures, conducted internal ISO 9001 audits on specific production lines and participated on continuous improvement initiatives. She also spent time observing and seeing how the concepts she has learned in classes at UConn are applied in a real world setting. She enjoyed getting to talk to people in various areas within the manufacturing operation, including supply chain, engineering, and operations which helped her expand her network and career exposure, as she refined her ideas of jobs she would and would not enjoy in her future.

“At first I wasn’t really comfortable, but as time went on, I got better at networking and scheduled appointments in other areas,” Archana said. “As a result, I was able to expand my network, get more familiar with other areas and really refine what kinds of jobs I might want. I learned there were some roles that didn’t suit me and others I may want to try to gain experience in during a future internship.”

Archana says she landed this internship in the traditional way. She attended career fairs, had her resume reviewed by the Center for Career Development, and took advantage of mock interviews. At a career fair, she met and talked with the recruiter from Otis and made sure she maintained contact afterward.