Author Archives: mlandr03

Return on Investment for the JB Speed School

An engineering degree from Speed School is worth the price of tuition and then some.From the employment point of view, an engineering degree from the JB Speed School of Engineering is a great value.

With the rising costs of tuition it is ever important to find the right value for your education. Our students graduate with an excellent education and knowledge in their field. The mandatory co-op program also adds to the value of our degree.

If you look at the rough numbers the value is clear:

The average cost of a semester of classes is $4,733. Our students attend for 9 semesters (for a Bachelor’s degree) of full time classes  and pay for two hours of credit while on co-op ($812 x 3 co-ops = $2436) at the approximate cost of $45,033. The average semester earnings for a student on co-op is $11,481 – multiply that by 3 semesters of co-op and the payoff is $34,443.


Now consider that 80% of our students come into the JB Speed School with scholarship money – KY students will typically have KEES money – often around $2,000.

That’s a great value. An excellent education at the low cost of around $8,000 (tuition only).

AND most of our students will graduate with an average starting salary of $58,000. How is that for a Return on Investment?


Show me the money $$

I often get questions about salary data from our students and parents as well. Salary is a very important consideration when reviewing job offers. But I would also caution that there are other portions of the job offer that are very important as well.

When looking at a job offer you should consider (at the least):

  • Salary
  • Benefits
  • Bonuses
  • Perks
  • Start Date

Salary: You might have an offer in Seattle, Chicago, and Richmond, KY. If the amount is the same, you have very different offers. The cost of living in big cities is much higher than smaller cities and much higher on the coasts than in the Midwest. You can easier Google Cost of Living Calculators to compare the cost of living in different cities.

Benefits: Health Benefits are a HUGE consideration these days. Look not only at the cost of the coverage but also the coverage itself: co-pays, deductibles, dental and vision plans. I once had a friend that accepted a new job with a 30% increase in pay, but he actually took a monthly loss because the health benefits were so costly. Retirement is another VERY important factor. Look for a company match on a 401K, then put it whatever extra you can – believe in the power of interest! Vacation time is another benefit that new grads like to consider. Most companies will have a standard level of vacation but when comparing two offers, an extra week the first year will seem important when you suddenly realize that you lose your spring and fall breaks!!

Bonuses: Bonuses can have an substantial impact on your take home pay – stock options are more of a long term bonus. But company bonuses can triple your salary or offer a nice bump at the end of the year – depending on the terms. These are not very common but they do exist. I see a few students each year with bonuses. Most common are sign-on bonuses.

Perks: These are helpful as well: a company car, parking, health club memberships, or childcare are wonderful money savers.

Start Date: Some employers have group training established every June for new hires, other companies offer individual training, with this is mind, you might have some negotiation room with your start date.

If you are considering an offer – Engineering Career Center staff can assist you with terminology and considerations.

Starting salaries in 2013 for UofL Engineering graduates:

Major Average Offer Louisville Area Average Offer High Offer Low Offer
Chemical $60,143 (7) $55,750 (4) $70,000 $42,000
Civil & Environmental $46,862 (12) $47,355 (8) $55,000 $40,000
Electrical $63,761 (23) $59,318 (11) $78,000 $47,000
Computer Engineering & Computer Science $71,625 (8) $63,250 (4) $95,000 $50,000
Industrial $66,667 (3) (0) $71,000 $60,000
Mechanical $56,982 (24) $53,500 (10) $93,000 $45,000
BioEngineering $56,750 (4) (0) $68,000 $45,000
OVERALL $59,474 (81) $55,198 (37) $95,000 $40,000

Co-op Program Accreditation

Certificate from the Accreditation Council for Cooperative Education

Accreditation Council for Cooperative Education certificate

Although our mandatory co-op program is more than 85 years old, this is the first year that we applied for accreditation of the co-op program through the American Council for Cooperative Education (ACCE).

Our program was benchmarked against the best co-operative engineering education programs in the country, and was assessed to have no issues! We are accredited through August 2019.

The ACCE looks at 5 standards to assess the strength of a co-op program – I have listed them below. Of all the accomplishments our office has had this year, this is the one that we are most proud of and happy to share.

Have a great holiday break and we’ll be back in the new year, with another eager group of students looking for their first co-op and 240 students starting their first co-op!

STANDARD ONE: Mission and Goals
STANDARD TWO: Institutional Relationships
STANDARD FOUR: Student Learning Environment
STANDARD FIVE: Student Learning Outcomes and Program Effectiveness

Interviewing – Know your Product

The JB Speed School of Engineering has a robust recruiting schedule in the fall semester. In September and October alone, we hosted more than 141 interview schedules in the Engineering Career Development Center.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe, but the most qualified candidate for the job isn’t always the one who gets it. It’s the person who can communicate their skills and abilities and their fit for the position.

The two biggest mistakes that I see candidates make is that #1 they haven’t prepared enough for the interview and #2 then don’t ask the right kinds of questions.

When I’m talking about preparing, I’m not necessarily talking about researching the company (that’s important too but that comes later). I’m talking about getting to know the product – the candidate (YOU) – enough to say what you have to offer.

You MUST be able to talk about your skills, your personality characteristics and your content knowledge. You should be able to talk at length about what you have to offer a company.

Start by writing out answers and examples for the following:

  • The top five things I want an employer to know about me
  • This is why I ROCK! (examples that show I am a rock star)
  • Areas for development (what I am working on)
  • Brilliant ideas (suggestions for improvement in something I’m involved in)
  •   Team philosophy (and how I approach challenges)
  • Short term/long term goals
  • Specific Challenges (that I have faced and overcome)
  • Questions I have
  •   Areas of expertise (based on co-ops, experiences, projects, etc)

Then practice OUT LOUD your answers to common interviewing questions.  ESPECIALLY these:

1)      Tell me about yourself.
2)      Why are you interested in this position?
3)      Why do you want to work for this company?
4)      Why should I hire you?
5)      What are your five greatest strengths as they relate to this position?
6)      Describe the 3 most technical projects that you’ve worked on and explain your contribution to each.
7)      Tell me about a time that you have failed – what would you do differently?

Don’t memorize your answers. Just practice answering out loud. It’s about gaining comfort with talking about yourself in a positive, confident manner.

We are always happy to conduct practice interviews with you in the Engineer Career Development Center.  Please come in and see us!

Engineering Career Fair NEXT WEEK!

October 2nd is our annual Engineering Career Fair for all Engineering Disciplines.
Engineering Career Fair
Wednesday, Oct. 2nd, 12-4 pm
Brown & Williamson Club, Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium

Career Fair

The Fall Career Fair provides an opportunity for students to speak to employers about co-op, part-time and full-time employment.

We have employers come to campus from all across the United States as well as a heavy representation from our region. We currently have 72 employers registered to attend. It’s a great opportunity for students from all levels and alumni to check out the opportunities available in engineering and to seek out full-time and co-op positions.

To see a list of attendees, click on this link and then click participants.

A lot of people are nervous about attending a career fair, but if you’re prepared to talk about who you are and what your interested in, that’s a lot of what you need to know. It’s also important to know a little bit about the companies that are attending. The list of companies referred to above also has a brief overview of each company to get you started and a link to their website.

Tips for those who plan to attend:

  • Dress professional – 1st impressions are important
  • Bring plenty of resumes
  • Come prepared – check out the company overviews
  • Arrive early and walk around alone – don’t walk around like a group
  • Introduce yourself and extend your hand – have a 30 second commercial prepared
  • Ask good relevant questions
  • 5 minutes to make an impact
  • Say thank you
  • Make notes when you step away that you can reference when you follow up
  • Have fun – this is an exciting time!!

A career fair is so much more than just another event on campus – this is where flight happens, this is where the connections can be made that start careers for young engineers. Many of our recruiters are JB Speed School alum and they enjoy their jobs, they love UofL and they are excited about bringing new talent into their companies. Feel the energy and make the most of it!

See you at the fair!

Co-op Excitement

We are so excited in the Engineering Career Development and Co-op office.  If you stop in to see us, you’ll see groups of students milling around, turning in co-op reports and signing up for practice interviews. The first few weeks of the fall semester we are processing about 416 students coming in and out of our doors.

226 of those students are just starting the co-op seminar. They are super excited and nervous about where their co-op position is going to be.  For many of them, they will have their first professional interviews, write their first professional resumes, attend their first career fair and for some, this will be their first real job!

190 of those students are coming back in to turn in their final co-op reports. You can tell which students they are; it’s amazing to see how co-op has transformed them. There is a lot of growth that happens in those three co-op rotations. They come back more self-confident, more mature. They have stronger technical and interpersonal skills. There is a marked improvement in communication and professional interaction.  Not every co-op is a perfect placement, but every co-op presents a great opportunity for growth.

This semester we are preparing the largest group of first time co-ops that we have ever had. It IS an exciting time in the co-op office and I haven’t even mentioned the numbers for career fair yet. So far we have 55 employers registered for the Oct 2nd career fair! But more about THAT later…