BMW brings cars, excitement to URI engineering and business students

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Freshman engineering students in the IEP, from left Will O’Connor, Nicholas Ranges, and Scott Breault, posing alongside the BMW I8. URI photo by Michael Salerno.

KINGSTON, R.I.- December 1, 2016- Two versions of the Ultimate Driving Machine came to the University of Rhode Island last week, which prompted several engineering students to think about landing the ultimate internship or job with the German automaker.

Students enrolled in URI’s International Engineering Program and International Business Program gathered recently on the quadrangle to examine the BMW I8 and x5 eDrive models during the company’s annual on-campus recruiting drive.

Whether freshmen or seniors, the students were impressed with the workmanship and style of the high-end cars. But even more importantly, the event gave them the chance to talk about opportunities with the company.

“I look forward to being able to hopefully work with a company like BMW, and I know that being fluent in another language, specifically German, will help immensely,” said freshman Nicholas Ranges, a resident of Lugoff, S.C.

He was insistent about coming to URI because of its IEP. “After speaking with a BMW employee who recommended URI’s program, I looked into the school, visited, liked what I saw, and applied” Ranges said. “The IEP’s 99.7 percent job rate was a major influencing factor that helped me choose URI.”

“What was so exciting about BMW Day last year and this November is that our own German IEP alumni, Eric Sargent and Dennis Heaphy, and another URI alumna, Marissa Boretz, who now work at BMW North America, came up from New Jersey driving the I8 and x5 eDrive models,” said Sigrid Berka, executive director of the IEP.  “They shared the technology, experience and enthusiasm with the next generation of IEP and International Business Program students preparing to hit the job market in May or to go abroad for their sojourn in 2017 and 2018.”

BMW has a long history with the URI IEP program, including bringing students in as interns and eventually full-time employees. The IEP provides students with the opportunity to earn a dual-degree in engineering and a language. The languages offered through the program are Chinese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish, and a Japanese minor is in preparation. The five-year program allows students to study abroad for their fourth year in the country of the language they are learning to speak. Once abroad, students study for six months and intern for pay or are subsidized by a scholarship the other six months.

Freshman mechanical engineering and German major Scott Breault says that URI’s IEP is “second to none and allows students to establish connections and take advantage of the many opportunities the program provides.”

BMW representatives met with students following the presentation and welcomed any questions about the impressive cars they brought with them as a part of their presentation. The representatives emphasized that successful candidates for internships and jobs at BMW must possess strong drive.

“Germany is seriously debating changing their fleet of cars completely to electric vehicles. Members of the German government have just passed a resolution to ban the sale of internal combustion engines in the European Union by 2030. Only zero-emissions vehicles would be allowed on the market after that time according to the resolution. That is why forward-looking, innovative automotive companies like BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen or first-tier suppliers like ZF, Conti, IAV and others are racing forward to develop cars like the I3 and I8 along with optimizing driver assistance and automated driving systems,” said Berka. “Our students will be able to take all of this in, whether as interns or when they join the 10 alumni we have working for BMW in Munich, South Carolina or New Jersey.”

Olivia Ross, an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at URI and public relations major, wrote this press release.