M.Eng.ME student profile: Hans Sunaryanto

10/17/2018 Grainger College of Engineering

Written by Grainger College of Engineering

When Hans Sunaryanto considered the path he would take after undergrad, he took stock of the opportunities available to him and concluded that a master’s degree and the technical depth he would gain would help him to advance more quickly in the professional world. Then, he considered whether a future in research and/or academia was the right fit for him. While he has always enjoyed research and has even published a few papers, he admits, “I’ve just always viewed myself as someone who works better if given autonomous control over a project.” Recognizing this fact about himself helped him to decide that a Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering (M.Eng.ME) would be a better fit for him than a Master of Science (MS).

Hans considered some of the nation’s top graduate engineering programs before choosing to pursue an M.Eng.ME degree at Illinois. While Stanford and UC Berkeley have excellent programs, he really felt that Illinois program best matched his professional and research interests. Having earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Illinois, he recognized opportunities “to contribute something to the community, academic or otherwise.” He also sees Illinois’ program as having “the potential to become the nation’s best mechanical engineering school in the near future.”

One thing that you learn about Hans early on is that he really seizes every opportunity he can to develop both personally and professionally. To that end, Hans completed three co-ops in the past three semesters. At Kimberly-Clark and Cooper Tires, Sunaryanto served in project management and research engineering roles. In the third co-op, he assumed a more central role as Head Project Manager to set up a $200M parcel delivery service joint venture in Southeast Asia, to capitalize on the e-commerce growth in the area. That role has since grown has he assumed roles as acting Head of Operations and Lead Business Strategist. He has also completed research projects in control systems, in electrosurgery (biomedical technology), and in MEMS devices for surgical purposes. Some of his research even resulted in publication along the way.

Hans recently participated in the Professional Master’s Internship Panel, organized by the Center for Professional and Executive Training and Education. Who better, after all, to advise students on landing internships, succeeding at them, and turning them into job offers than someone who has done that multiple times? He gave tons of great advice during the panel also. Since he secured two of his internships through the Engineering Career Services Career Fair,  he actually advised students not to start with the elevator pitch at the career fair, recommending instead that they try to connect a little more personally. He explained that recruiters are trying to assess fit and by starting with what they can read on paper about you later is not the best use of your time or theirs. He also shared a really solid piece of advice for those working on projects during their internships: follow up with the team to see how the project is coming along, if you can answer any questions or address anything you handled during your time on the team. It shows ownership and demonstrates to the team you care.

Even though we had a good idea of the answer, we had to ask what he thought of his experience in the program. He shared, “It has been an amazing experience. Being able to choose your own classes and research projects geared for the industrial field of your interest, while at the same time having an incredible support from the faculty, staff and peers have all made my experience in the MechSE MEng program truly amazing.” He also loves the opportunities to pursue hands-on experiences, “to contribute what you’ve learnt throughout your degrees – technical skills or otherwise – into the real world!”

Of course, the staff feels the same about Hans, which is why they recommended him to provide advice on our recent Internship panel. MechSE Graduate Records supervisor Kathy Smith observes that Hans has certainly contributed to the graduate community in MechSE both academically and personally. In addition to publishing papers and completing internships, “Hans has always been very kind and considerate and eager and willing to help. It has been wonderful to work with him and to have him in the department.”

So what drives Hans? He admitted during the internship panel that he really likes to stay busy, often working on multiple side projects at any given time. But he is also working toward his goal, “to become a leader in a high-impact team of professionals aimed at bettering people’s lives, whether through technology or otherwise. I think that MechSE MEng has not only given me the knowledge to do so, but also the opportunity to connect me with people who can help me achieve this goal. That, and I’m also hoping to have mastered how to cook seared sous-vide beef short ribs by then. Thermodynamics and heat transfer, guys!”

It’s clear that Hans Sunaryanto is a force to be reckoned with. In three short semesters, he will have completed a professional Master of Engineering, 3 research projects, 3 co-ops, and countless other activities. It probably comes as no surprise that Hans has received multiple job offers for when he graduates this December. Of course, we want to know where he’s going, but he explained that he’s obligated to keep that information confidential until closer to his start date.

That left us with one last question. What advice do you have for professional master’s students? His answer reflects his positive energy, “Be proactive in everything that you do, whether it may be in studying, working on a project, making new connections, or even in having fun! People recognize and appreciate this drive, from which trust is built upon, landing you project after project. Academics might get you a foot in the door, but being proactive is what’s going to get you far in life.”

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This story was published October 17, 2018.