Right, this might be a bit of a long one, but hopefully a few of you can be bothered to read it all!
So, just a quick intro, I am in my final (5th) year of Mechanical Engineering (with Management) (Masters), at Edinburgh University. Currently sitting with a fairly high 2:1, if I push hard this year I might get a 1st. Without meaning to be big headed, I've got a pretty strong CV. I spent the second half of 4th year on a 6 month placement at Rolls-Royce (aero not cars), and have done various engineering work/projects in the past.
I need to start thinking about jobs for once I've finished Uni (next April). Rolls-Royce will offer me a place onto their graduate scheme, which I know is an excellent opportunity. The only problem is that I'm not sure if I want to work for them. As their products are so large and complex, you are either looking over a larger section of the engine from a high level (ie management), or are zoomed right in and spend your life designing a blade or bolt.
In high-school, my favourite subject was always D&T. I loved coming across a problem, coming up with potential solutions, improving them, singling out one or two, making prototypes, and through testing and tweaking, construct a final product to solve the initial problem. I loved having an input into the whole product throughout its creation. This is something obviously not possible at Rolls-Royce (maybe in specific R&D departments, but not in general).
I have therefore been thinking about some kind of product-design career/role, as that is clearly what I enjoy, working on simpler products where I will have more of an input. Unfortunately, I have done little creative/conceptual work at university, so, for example, my concept drawing is pretty poor (I know I can work on this, and plan to this year), so not sure how well I would fit into an "artsy" design job - but maybe a more mechanical product design role would suit? I've also considered doing an additional masters in Product Design, but as much as I love uni, I feel it would be better to leave sooner rather than later.
My (pipe?) dream is to run a company designing and manufacturing innovative/creative/desirable products, but am happy to accept that that might take a while to get to. I've been thinking about applying to companies such as Dyson, or design consultancies such as DCA. However, I am not sure if my skills/experience will meet the needs to get the kind of job I would want. Additionally, the appeal of Rolls-Royce on my CV (even if just for their graduate scheme, and then move on) keeps dragging me back. The logic would be that Rolls-Royce will look impressive on my CV - but even though it is a top engineering company, will it be much of an attraction to a design company? Or will it just show that I am good at working in a large bureaucratic company which isn't particularly innovative? Also, I would really like the chance to work abroad, which will be tough on the RR grad scheme (it's possible, but is a lot harder from this year on).
Not quite sure where I'm going with this, but basically, does anyone on here have a mechanical engineering or product design background? What work do you do now, how did you get there, and would you recommend it? Any thoughts on how useful a couple years at RR will be for working at a smaller "artsier" design company? Any recommendations for companies which people feel may suit me well?
Many thanks (if you're still reading!),
(I am aware that I can apply to as many companies as I can be bothered to (and maybe should), but would like to get a better idea of where I want to head before I do this!)