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Kevin Kroeger (August 1998 - December 1998)

Name: Kevin Kroeger

School: University of Missouri-Rolla

Major: Electrical Engineering

Co-op period: August - December 1998, May - September 1999

Current school/company and what you do:
Currently doing financial planning in Sydney, Australia. It was definitely a big jump, but financial planning is not far removed from engineering in that it revolves around solving complicated problems and is very detail-oriented.
Most of my time is spent analyzing clients' financial situations, making recommendations on improvements, and doing face to face visits to establish, maintain, and improve their relationship with our firm, money, and financial planning at large. I work for a company called Integrated Professional Services, which is a member firm of Genesys Wealth Advisers, a large dealer group across Australia.

Current Location:
In a little country area about 1 hour north of the Sydney Opera House.

What was the interview process like?

I remember that the gentleman that interviewed me on campus (I think his name was Doug) was very professional and positioned the company well.

What did you do?
HEAPS!! I remember my work experience at Hunter was the most varied of anything I've done since. Personally, I did a bit of embedded programming, durability testing, electronics modifications to out-of-spec boards, beta tested Windows CE, created animated movies using video editing software, stood in for advertising photos, performed wheel alignment calibrations, tested RF functionality, helped a bit with the servers and networking... and that's just the stuff I can remember!!

Would you do it again?

What did you like?
Personally, I enjoyed the aspects of challenge and change at Hunter Engineering. Things are never the same from one day to the next and the jobs that were given to me as a co-op at Hunter were of substance (which is much more rewarding than the 'superficial' odds-n-ends jobs that are often given on other work experience periods).

What did you not like?
Not much. Things were sometimes a bit stressful or frantic, but that is to be expected. Personally, I've no fond love of Windows CE (since I was losing all the battles with it in my term).

Did you learn anything?
HEAPS!!! (See above)

Did the experience help you in your career?
I think it was good to experience this type of work, regardless of where life is taking you. I know that my adaptability and 'functional' creativity were enhanced from my time at Hunter.

Did it help you in any job interviews?
Probably not... given my career choice

What was the dress code?
I liked it... I remember that wearing the white button-down shirt and tie were popular there, but not enforced during my time. I like the idea of looking nice (i.e., professional), but not being restricted.
...and yes, I still wear a tie :-)

Was the work more individual or group work and how does it compare with what
you are doing today?

It was mostly individual work, with regular reports back to my manager on progress. What I do today is very similar, with each person on the larger team having a set responsibility. Teamwork is required for efficiency, but each person has their set task to specialize in.

What are the pros/cons of working in Saint Louis? (Maybe compare it to where you
are now)

Well, I currently live in Australia and, to be honest, I love Australia much more than Saint Louis. However, Saint Louis was very good for me (and to me) as it is only 2 hours away from my family home and the city offered all the other entertainment options that I desired.

What were your living arrangements during co-op?
First time around, I lived with another friend from college who was also on co-op in Saint Louis. That was fun. The second time around (for the summer position only), I lived with Jeff Piersol and family. Jeff had worked at Hunter for a long time. This was, by far, more fun and I feel truly blessed to have been welcomed into their home and their family as I was. Plus, I didn't have to drive every day :-)

How was the supervision?
I started working with Steve and then with Dave when Steve left part-way through the period. Dave is a driven character and always has plenty on his plate to pass some work on to the co-op. I found that Dave is very good at prioritizing tasks and giving projects with an expected date of completion (which can determine if it is a job suitable to be given to someone of limited time service). Yeah, he's pretty cool and I personally never had trouble approaching him with what was on my mind.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
Initially, I worked for Texas Instruments when I graduated from college, serving as a Technical Sales Representative. Basically, this is a blend between an engineer and a sales person. Engineers communicate best with sales people who can speak their language and understand their concerns. That is where my role fit in. When the crash came in the economy, I was working in Silicon Valley ( California ) and was laid off due to a shortage in company revenue. That is what prompted me to change directions and pursue financial planning (which is a less volatile industry than technology, especially in Silicon Valley )