BU Racing: The Experience of a Formula Hybrid Competition

By Ian Ballou (ENG’19, Computer Engineering)

President, BU Racing Team

Any activity with BU Racing can relate back to credible job skills. Whether a member is designing wheel hubs in SolidWorks, making a PCB circuit design in Altium, or managing communications to our sponsors, skills valuable to companies are practiced. All of the work that members do are contributions toward our team’s Formula Hybrid competition that happens at the end of April. Teams from colleges around the world come to race the cars that they’ve been working tirelessly on for the past year. Every team gets a small garage space that is flanked by other universities’ teams, which makes the atmosphere both competitive and collaborative. Everyone agrees that words do not do justice for the excitement at the Formula Hybrid competition.


While it is not obvious, the Formula Hybrid competition is about so much more than just racing cars. The experience gained and the engineering and project management work accomplished are what are truly celebrated.


Students here showcase these accomplishments and potentially receive lifelong rewards for them. Among the competition judges and staff are employees from companies such as Ford, LG Chem, and Fiat Chrysler. Before the event, the organizers request resumes from every team member to be distributed among company representatives. The representatives, whether walking around or at their booths, are looking to talk with enthusiastic team members. By talking with these company representatives, members can get career advice, resume recommendations, and even on-site interviews at the racetrack.

The activities at the competition can also serve as an extended interview. During design reviews, judges split members by their responsibilities on the car and ask them detailed design questions. Every design decision on the car need justification, so if members succeed, the judges are quite impressed. There is also a project management presentation that is very important. The judges want to make sure the team is running like an efficient company with a proper budget, work breakdown structure, member hierarchy, and more. If the judges are impressed with members’ results and professional attitude, it is even more likely that they will be invited to an on-the-spot interview and potentially be offered a job.

Events like the BU Racing Formula Hybrid competition, where students get to showcase their work to professionals, are powerful resources for boosting career potential. It is important that universities continue to support student teams like BU Racing because then they can grow and have more students go through their programs, which in the end increases employability for the university population as a whole. While classwork forms the foundation of our professional skills, students will always need outlets to bolster their resumes and to connect with potential employers.

 

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