Summary Report

Ethical Issues in My Profession

            There are many ethical issues that engineers face on a daily basis, such as whether or not they should do something to make more money that may be morally wrong. Often times, these ethical issues relate to either making a large profit at the expense of other innocent people or ignoring environmental implications of a product to make more money. Either way, ethical issues in engineering are always fueled by a desire to increase a company’s profits. For example, in China, a company may know that they are adding to the high pollution rate, but if it means decreasing output they are faced with a serious ethical dilemma. As an engineer, I have learned that it is my responsibility to take upon these issues. This year in engineering, we learned that for most fields of engineering there is a specific ethical code that all engineers should abide by. For my discipline, Chemical Engineering, the AlChE’s code of ethics is the code that I will have to abide by. In China, I familiarized myself firsthand with an ethical dilemma related specifically to my app. Our company could make a higher profit if we simply ignore health violations within a store, but we could also hurt the people who are buying goods from the store. It is my job as an engineer to speak up and demand that this issue be addressed. There could be times when speaking up could risk an engineer’s job and career, and it is up to him or her whether or not they have it in them to speak up anyways.

Educational Breadth as Professional Development

            To be successful in any given field, it’s important to have a wide variety of knowledge in any number of given fields. For me, I plan on getting a minor in economics so I can consider some of the financial implications of the engineering decisions I might have to make later in life. On the trip to China, I learned that there are some other things I can do with my education that will make me more marketable in a professional setting. For example, the speaker at Microsoft said that learning another language would make a candidate much more likely to receive a job, as he or she is able to communicate with people from other areas of the world. Since markets are now global, it is absolutely essential to not only understand people’s cultural backgrounds, but also to be able to communicate with these people in an efficient manner. My trip to China has also taught me that education doesn’t necessarily mean getting a degree. I should be open to learning all the time, and as I continue to grow as a person and student I should be willing to expand my knowledge about more topics than just engineering. Some advice given on the China trip by Mr. Sullivan was to continue reading. As an already successful businessman, I trust Mr. Sullivan’s advice.

Lifelong Learning, Continuing Education as Professional Development

            This trip overall has taught me that learning about new cultures can be extremely fun, but that it also can open my eyes to finding insight on my own culture. It was great going to Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai because I was able to see how people lived and what kinds of rich historical elements makes China so great. It taught me to respect other people even if I don’t agree entirely with what they’re saying or doing. For example, when we learned about the Terra Cotta warriors I was shocked to learn that the emperor buried over 700,000 people alive, but it also helped me to understand that the times were much different back then. People were willing to die for their emperor without question…I doubt very many people would die willingly for president Trump. I’m mentioning all of this in this section because I think that experiencing Chinese culture and allowing me to take in the differences between my own culture and this culture will lead me to new journeys. I now want to explore other countries such as Spain, Italy, and Greece and see how their culture is different from my own and from Chinese culture. Professionally, experiencing a wide variety of cultures Is important because I can more easily understand why people make the decisions that they make. For example, if I am working on a project with someone based in China, and he recommends a movement towards a more online market, I can understand that this might have been suggested because Chinese culture is dependent on ecommerce. Lastly, a knowledge of many cultures will make me much less likely to do something I deem as perfectly normal that might offend someone else.

The Social Environment of Professional Life

            From visiting the difference companies in China, I have already seen a wide variety of social atmospheres depending on which company we were visiting. Cheetah Mobile was very laid back and focused on making the workers feel at home and young, while TE Connectivity seemed more like a factory than a work office. While these two company visits were extremely different, one isn’t necessarily “better” than the other, or else every company would be doing it. Rather, it is more based on the companies selling point. That being said, the social environment can change from company to company, so before I start my first job, I should get a feel for exactly how the company operates on a social level.

Functioning on Multi-Disciplinary Teams

            Functioning on a multi-disciplinary team is perhaps one of the more important professional takeaways I got from this entire experience. When I graduate college and enter the workforce, it is essential for me as an engineer to be able to verbalize my findings with people who have a business degree. For example, if I come up with an app that could sell in a market, let’s take China for example, I would need people in other disciplines to market, advertise, and figure out the supply chain for the product. There are zero fortune 500 companies that have poor interdisciplinary skills, so practicing my communication on this trip already gives me an advantage in a job search over my competitors. My group specifically worked on the entire app together, enabling me to learn about the supply chain and other business approaches that I hadn’t learned in any of my engineering classes. That reason alone is another benefit that I took from coming on this trip.

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