Can-do attitude, co-op education drive career opportunities

October 06, 2016

Originally published by SFU News

Tesla Motors wants to change the world, and only dedicated workers need apply. Luckily, Hassan Murad is nothing if not ambitious.

The mechatronic systems engineering graduand completed two co-op work terms with the cutting-edge car manufacturer, and after graduation he’s ready for more.

“I’m really proud of what Tesla stands for,” says Murad. “I think it represents the future, where cars will drive themselves using renewable energy sources.”

At the electric automaker’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California, Murad joined the autopilot team, developing and testing the vehicle’s self-driving software.

Four months after his co-op work term wrapped up, he was hired again—this time with the body controls and systems firmware validation team.

“Basically, you’re working on almost anything on the car that moves, including those really cool falcon wing doors,” he says.  

It provided a perfect platform for Murad’s mechatronic skills, a multidisciplinary field that combines computer, mechanical, electrical and industrial engineering.

Perseverance is key to success at Tesla, and the company’s steep learning curve also taught Murad to “think on the go.”

“In order to succeed, you have to fail quickly and learn from your failures,” says Murad. “If it’s due urgently, that means in a few hours, not days or weeks.”  

It turns out that Murad is no stranger to challenges.

When he moved from Dubai to Canada at the age of 18 to pursue his education at SFU, he applied for “hundreds” of jobs in his first year, without success. Undefeated, he decided to get involved with Team Guardian, SFU’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle team.

Murad credits this seemingly small decision as a major turning point in his life. Initially recruited as a team member, he climbed the ranks to become team captain, leading the team to victory at the 2016 BCIT Drone Fair Competition.

He also landed a role with SFU’s Sticks and Stars program, teaching kids about robotics, and further expanded his network as vice-president of events with the Mechatronic Systems Engineering Student Society.

Soon afterwards, he started his first co-op work term with International Submarine Engineering, developing software for “super cool” autonomous underwater vehicles.

Murad is now seeking a job in the self-driving car industry, and has landed several job interviews. He also hopes to work on a side project with a member of his capstone project team at SFU: a robot chef that can whip up any meal from scratch.

“To call getting involved in life at SFU rewarding would be an understatement,” he says. “It completely changed my life.”