David Lambrou ’20 is a pillar of our Merrimack community, and we’re so happy to recognize his latest successes! After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, David wove together a portfolio and resume of his work on and off-campus that drew the attention of several employers, including Hasbro. He accepted their offer, and now serves as an associate reliability engineer within the company. Today, David joins us to discuss a summer of uncertainty, his current job and tips that’ll make any student stand out from the crowd.
DAN ROUSSEL: Hi David! Thanks for joining us today, and a big congrats on your success with your recent full-time job offer from Hasbro. You graduated at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic—how did that impact your job search?
DAVID LAMBROU: Thanks so much, Dan! I could’ve never imagined graduating into a tough job market during a global pandemic. Although my plans changed, I remained hopeful and patient while doing my research on companies in my area that I would like to work for. Hasbro has always been in my Rhode Island community and I had heard it’s a great place to work. Two years ago, I was able to shadow an engineer for the day to get a sense of what it’s like to work at Hasbro. I loved that opportunity, and ever since then Hasbro was always in the back of my mind. After graduation, I kept my focus on their job board and patiently waited for something to pop up. While I waited, I worked on building my network and talking to those connections I made during my shadow visit to get a better understanding of the type of roles there and the company culture. Once my role was posted, I jumped at the opportunity right away and let my connections know that I had applied!
Now you’re in, and you’re working as an Associate Reliability Engineer—what are you doing in this role?
My primary role is to ensure that all Hasbro toys and products are safe and reliable for children and their families. This means I work closely with product development teams at early stages to enable them to design with safety in mind. On the other side, I also work closely at the end of the product development process to confirm that each product is being tested to safety regulations, and meeting or exceeding those standards. The really cool thing about this role is that I get to work across so many iconic Hasbro brands. Currently, I’m working with the Transformers line and I am so excited! Essentially, I get to see a lot of toys in my day to day; I couldn’t imagine a better job for me!
I’m so glad you love your work so much! It definitely sounds awesome. Were there any previous internships that prepared you with skills for this role?
Previously, I had worked as a Mechanical Engineering Intern for ARD Corp. in North Andover, MA. This experience brought me a lot of exposure to product development and reliability work. I worked closely with the company’s main product line to troubleshoot any common issues consumers had while creating documentation on proper usage and repair. Getting that sense of real life engineering work in a corporate environment gave me so many skills that I was able to market toward this role as a Reliability Engineer. Thinking back to that role, I was able to take many experiences and projects I worked on and connect them to the work I’m doing now. I think that is really important when looking for future positions, you need to be able to speak to any of your previous experiences and how you gained skills that will help you be successful in this new role.
While you gained all this experience, you showcased it too! You’ve spent a lot of time curating this really great website. How has that played into your job hunt, and do you have any tips for fellow students looking to create portfolios?
I think portfolios are a great way to showcase your hard work and give others a visual on what you accomplished. As a mechanical engineering student, I was able to work on a wide variety of projects that I was really proud of. I felt it would benefit me to have a place where employers could go and not only read about the work I’ve done, but see it through pictures and videos. In my case, I think a portfolio helped a lot since I was able to market my toy design project work a lot easier through that website. That project clearly had a strong connection to the work I am now doing at Hasbro, so being able to showcase that and give visuals during my interview was extremely beneficial.
If you are looking to do something similar, I would definitely recommend thoroughly documenting every project you work on and keeping track of any reports, presentations, pictures, videos or anything else you think would be great to showcase. Trying to go back and find material from an old project can be hard sometimes, so staying organized from the start will make that process a lot more smooth.
I admire your organizational skills; that’s a precious skill. Outside of your schoolwork at Merrimack, you also worked in a series of leadership roles for Residence Life and Admissions. How did these experiences help you grow, both personally and professionally?
I learned so much within my roles as an Admission Ambassador and as a Resident Advisor. Through giving weekly tours, working an Admitted Students Day, holding a Res Life program, and all the experiences in between, I constantly saw myself becoming more confident with my leadership skills. Through my roles I built up various skills like public speaking, problem solving, and strategic thinking. It definitely wasn’t something that just clicked and happened, this was something I gained over four years by always pushing myself to take on new challenges and responsibilities. I know, as college students, we have very busy schedules, but I would recommend diving into your involvements as much as you can. Whenever there was an opportunity to step deeper into my roles I would try to take advantage of that to learn something new. This could be applying for the executive board of your club or organization, volunteering to take on an extra task or even taking on a new involvement. There is so much you can gain from the leadership opportunities at Merrimack, and the skills you learn can be taken to any line of work.
Well said! In general, how did Merrimack contribute to your career development? What resources did you use?
Merrimack gave me numerous opportunities to expand my career development, and some of the most influential ones came directly from the O’Brien Center. Meeting one-on-one with my career advisor helped me whenever I felt like I wanted to talk about my professional goals and plans. Attending the Professional Development Retreat was also a great experience, and this is where I really feel like I learned how to effectively talk about my skills in a professional setting. The skills I gained during that weekend were directly utilized in my job interview with Hasbro; I feel like it gave me a solid foundation on how to speak about myself, and market myself. I also found talking to professors in my department very helpful, since they come directly from the engineering field. They know what it’s like to work in the type of roles I was looking for, so I was sure to take in any words of advice. Attending any sort of networking event is a great opportunity to build your network. Networking is such a big part of career development, so events like workshops and career fairs are perfect for career development. (For engineers looking to network, the O’Brien Center is running an event you might be interested in!)
We’re wrapping up, but David—do you want to make any shoutouts, or share any advice with current students?
I could write a book about the amount of people at Merrimack that helped me get to where I am today. One of the great things about the community is all of the different support networks you build. I do want to specifically give a shoutout to my career advisor, Laura Thibodeau, and my academic advisor, Roselita Fragoudakis. I worked with both throughout my 4 years, and their constant support and encouragement really helped keep me motivated to work towards my professional goals. I also want to shoutout everyone in the Admission Department, working as an Ambassador my entire time at Merrimack was so much fun and the love and support gained from that team helped shape me into the person I am today.
Lastly, I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of all that Merrimack has to offer and push yourself to grow professionally, personally, academically, or whatever it may be. There are TONS of opportunities within the Merrimack community, so find something that suits your interests and go for it. Even if it feels like it’s out of your comfort zone, that is where you are going to grow the most. I can guarantee you that you’ll be glad you did!
Well said, David! Thanks so much for joining us for our Working Warriors series, and best of luck with your work!
Are you ready to secure an internship or employment for the fall and beyond? The O’Brien Center for Career Development is here to help you! Visit Handshake today to search for open opportunities, meet with your career advisor, and more.