Sébastien contacted AFAM back in 2018 when he was selected as one of Arts et Metiers students at dual degree program with Georgia Tech College of Engineering.
At the time, he was also looking for a future internship in the US with a possible start date on January 2019 or January 2020.
Since then, Sébastien has joined our Shasta program, has passed through the mentorship with Jean Pommier (An 183), and has found a desirable internship at Tesla while being a Georgia Tech student.
While he is getting ready to start his internship in February, we'll ask him a few questions about his journey on the way toward this excellent professional opportunity he was able to seize.
AFAM: Hello Sébastien and congratulations on your internship! Tell me a few words about your future internship at TESLA. What is your mission?
Sébastien: For my internship, I will be working with the Thermal Design team for Tesla Energy products (Megapack, Powerpack etc.). In these products, the cooling system developed by Tesla engineers is essential as the battery is very sensitive to temperature variation. For my internship, I will work on the development of thermal models for these powerpacks. I will also have to build experimental set-ups to validate these models and try to improve the cooling system. This is mostly about thermodynamics and heat transfer. Theory about these materials can be quite boring, but once you apply it to a real system, it becomes much more interesting!
AFAM: You were a Shasta student in 2018 and 2019. How did AFAM and our Shasta program help you in your internship search?
Sébastien: The Shasta program helped me understand the way I had to look for a job in the U.S. The culture in this country is significantly different from the French culture. The way you introduce yourself, the way you present your achievements, your skills and the way you are selected as an engineer are different. Thanks to the Shasta program, I have been able to shape my resume and pitch to match the American standard without compromising originality. Even though I did not find an internship in 2019, I used what I had learned when I tried a second time to apply for my current internship at Tesla.
AFAM: Your journey toward your dream internship was long. Besides your participation in the Shasta program what else helped make your dream come true. What experiences did you go through to gain new skills on your way towards your internship?
Sébastien: First, I think the most important is not how fast you reach your objective but how much you have learned during the process. The main additional experience that eventually helped me through this process was my research experience. Indeed, I had the opportunity to be a graduate research assistant at Georgia Tech for my master's thesis. I worked on developing a new cooling solution for electric motors in the automotive industry. I gained a lot of experience on a specific topic, and this is exactly what I was missing. As students from Arts et Metiers, we are known as "general engineers" in France. A lot of American companies are not used to this type of engineers as their university system is based on majors. Thus, for first engineering jobs like mechanical engineer or software engineer, it is really difficult to compete with students who worked 4 years with a focus on their major. As a result, thanks to this research experience, I think I acquired enough knowledge about cooling systems to have some chance to be accepted for this internship. Finally, networking, especially on LinkedIn has been an important factor.
AFAM: What will be the first thing (outside of work) you will do when you’ll start your internship?
Sébastien: Without covid, I would have probably tried to attend local conferences and seminars in the bay area to hear about new coming startups. But with the current situation, I will start working on some personal technical projects and try to create a small workshop at home.
AFAM: Thank you, Sébastien! Good luck with your new role and hope to see you soon!
Photo courtesy of Sébastien Sequeira