Co-op Pays Off for NC State Junior
As NC State junior Terry Bache worked his way through his first two years of college, he came to an unenviable realization - most likely, the Wilmington, N.C. native was going to run out of money to pay for school well before he graduated.
"I kind of knew that would happen - so I started looking into ways to finance the rest of my college career," said Bache, an electrical engineering major. "A lot of my friends on campus talked about Co-op, so I checked it out and through a quick calculation, I saw that the money I would make during my three rotations would pay for almost all of the rest of college."
So Bache entered his resume into the Co-op system and within two weeks, was contacted by Philip Morris. A recruitment dinner, interview and job offer followed shortly after, and in May of 2007, Bache found himself doing computer-related work for the world's largest cigarette manufacturer.
"The whole plant uses computers to run automated machines which control everything from conveyors, control valves, tanks and tobacco-flavoring devices," he said. "We also set up databases for each of the Philip Morris brands which determine just how much of each brand is going to be processed through the factory that day."
Bache spent his first rotation working within Philip Morris' Charlotte division, getting hands-on experience in process control and analysis. He worked side-by-side with full-time engineers on staff, and gained invaluable experience on the job.
"This company is awesome to work for," Bache said. "Once they saw how motivated I was, they basically treated me as any another engineer. They train me as they would any one else and they give me actual, real projects to work on."
After returning to campus to continue his coursework, Bache returned to Philip Morris to begin his second rotation in mid-January.
"I am going to get more into areas of management during this rotation," he said. " I feel like I'm being offered the opportunity to expand my knowledge outside of what engineers might traditionally do.
"I feel like I am becoming a more valuable person at Philip Morris and sort of being prepped to be able to step into any part of the company," Bache said. "But even if they don't offer me a position after I graduate, it's great because I will have gained that much more experience and knowledge, which will make me an attractive candidate at another company."