perodua internship

FOR students studying in the United States, the sane ones, summer break is the light at the end of a very dark tunnel that seems to be light years away at the start of the academic year.

After eight months of gruelling, academic torture, students get to rejoice with a four-month vacation to relax and recuperate. However, engineering students in the US typically do not spend their entire time off letting loose.

A big chunk of their summer is spent doing internships to gain work experience in their field of choice.

Being a 21 year old, who would enjoy nothing better than to spend the entire period slacking off and hanging out with friends or blinding myself for hours on my PS3, I found this rather odd. Therefore, as any carefree young adult would do, I decided to blow off the internships.

As the year went on and with a bit of philosophical pondering, I started to realise why students at my university, the University of Michigan, were so intent on interning during the summer.

Unfortunately, we live in an age where grades, and to a certain extent degrees alone do not distinguish us from the massive herd of job applicants.

Nowadays, it is not uncommon during interviews to find employers expecting job applicants to have at least one degree and stellar grades. Thus, unless you are a genius in some way, shape or form, or you are unbelievably skilled in the art of the job interview, work experience will be the defining factor of who gets the job, either you or some MIT graduate.

With that in mind, I decided to take the mature route for once in my life and send out my applications. Fortunately, I received an offer to carry out an internship at Perodua’s factory and headquarters in Rawang.

As a mechanical engineering major, getting the chance to intern for three months at an automotive company was too good to pass up.

I was attached to the Quality Control (QC) Department, specifically the QC engineering team.

Looking back, this was the best possible department for me, a second year university student looking for valuable work experience. I say this because I got so much exposure to the different aspects of the automotive industry. This exposure was not just limited to the engineering side of things. I played an active role in meetings with Perodua’s many suppliers as well the higher management from Daihatsu.

The level of trust from the managers and engineers as well as the amount of hands-on engineering tasks that I was entrusted with was a pleasant surprise, particularly since I had only just completed the second year of my degree. If photocopying and making coffee is your idea of an internship, this is not the place to be.

The highlight of my time at Perodua was getting to enter the factory daily and discovering the many assembly processes involved in the production of cars. From the press shop, body shop, paint shop and final assembly, the factory was like a well-oiled machine. Getting the opportunity to test the cars at the onsite test track was a delightful cherry on top.

I’m not one to give out advice without being asked, but I will say this, as far as work experience goes, grab whatever chance that comes your way.

BY MUKZAMIR MAHATHIR

Mukzamlir is a second-year Engineering student at the University of Michigan

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