What You Do
Engineers are already problem solvers, but in consulting, you specialize on client’s problems on a daily basis. Consulting firms manage a variety of projects at once. You may be placed with a specific client or may work on similar projects across clientele.
You might start your own firms with colleagues, join an established firm, or freelance your engineering services. Typically, firms advise clients on a wide span of projects, from designing sustainable parks to solving structural problems with bridges. Clients can be private and public entities.
A paint company, like Valspar, has a line of chalkboard paint. The chalkboard paint can create surfaces that can easily be drawn on. But in testing they’ve noticed that the paint isn’t drying correctly. The edges keep peeling off and it breaks apart easily once dry. Valspar would consult their preferred engineering firm for a solution. The firm would assign the problem to a materials science or chemical engineer on the team.
- Design a nuclear plant in a designated area for Company X
- Work with an architecture firm on the safety implements for a bridge that opens for incoming ships
- Advise a municipality on the installation of their new traffic lights
- Compile a case study for city hall on the implications of expanding the local reservoir
- Implement an e-Commerce system for a fashion brand that wants to sell online
Majors & Classes
Consulting is an industry that draws highly from business. Teamwork and adaptability is important for engineers in this industry. Illinois engineers come from every department but majors that focus on managerial aspects of engineering include Industrial Systems and General Engineering. You might consider also pursuing the Hoeft Technology and Management Program.