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Engineering Intern, Product Management and Engineering, Fuso
Daniel studied Bachelor of Automotive Engineering (Honours) at RMIT University
What's your job about?
Daimler Truck and Bus (DTB) offers the most comprehensive range of commercial vehicles of any manufacturer in Australia and my role as engineering intern for Fuso (one of three brands under DTB) is helping ensure that the right products are making their way into Australia as well as providing engineering support for these once they get here. As I am in the product management and engineering team, my role is quite varied as I could be analysing sales data to determine what products are performing well one minute and then fielding requests for technical data on one of our truck or bus products the next. Being able to do so first required me to build up my knowledge of our many light, medium and heavy duty trucks, not to mention buses!
One of the first tasks I was charged with was reviewing and updating the specification sheets for our entire range. This project helped me immensely as I researched the technical specs for all products, often corresponding with Japan to ensure that data being presented to customers was up to date. The range overview I created initially as a checklist for this project has now evolved into a Master Range Overview that I give to new employees in our team as a complete overview of our products.
What's your background?
I’m a proud Melbournian and I love everything this city has to offer. From the coffee, to the nightlife and great driving roads, it’s not called the world’s most liveable city for nothing. Growing up I was always great at math and physics, so engineering seemed a natural progression for me. Once I completed my Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering I had a choice to continue into the next stream for this course or pursue another related field. As I have always loved anything with wheels, I decided to continue into the Automotive Engineering Honours Degree.
The subject matter truly fascinated me and I was lucky enough to study at RMIT under professionals who had real life industry experience. Their stories from years of experience in the field motivated me to stick with the automotive stream even though local automotive manufacturing was winding down. Basically I loved what I was studying and was optimistic there would be opportunities for someone with my skillset, so when the position came up on LinkedIn I knew I had to apply.
My passion for automotive engineering has even gone as far as to influence my last two holidays abroad. In 2014 I travelled to Europe and visited the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK, Germany’s Nürburgring as well as the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart. More recently I holidayed in Japan and thanks to my manager I was fortunate enough to tour the impressive Fuso manufacturing plant in Kawasaki.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
While they may not have to love Melbourne and its coffee as much as I do, they would definitely need to have a degree in automotive or mechanical engineering to even consider doing my job. But the most important characteristic would be having passion for the product, the work and the Australian automotive industry. Without these characteristics the answer would be a definite no.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The coolest thing about my job would have to be getting hands on with the product itself. It could be getting out in the field and reviewing a local modification (such as a new type of tipper or fridge body) or working on a prototype truck that was just delivered from Japan. These moments away from the desk give me the chance to put my problem solving skills to work on a more tangible level.
What are the limitations of your job?
As my role is a combination of both product management and engineering, there are a number of routine non-technical tasks I perform which do, such as analysing sales data. I do not necessarily see these as limitations as they further strengthen my understanding of the Australian truck and bus market. Without this exposure to how our models are performing against our competitors I would not be able to accurately suggest strategies to maintain and strengthen the position of the Fuso brand in Australia.
3 pieces of advice for other students looking at the internship program?
- Never stop learning. That’s what an internship is all about. Don’t just learn from people in your immediate team/group, see if you can get experience in other parts of the business also.
- Take every opportunity to network. Getting to know as many people as you can will further strengthen your chances of staying on.
- “Dress poorly and they’ll remember the clothes, dress well and they’ll remember the person”. It’s not my line, but it’s served me well so far. This doesn’t mean you need to have designer clothes, just pieces that fit well and go together.