Ashiqur R Khan
Ashiqur R Khan is a professional engineer (P.Eng.) in the province of Ontario. He graduated with his bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering from McMaster University in Hamilton, ON. Recently he completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON. Ashiqur works for the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB Group) as an Approval Engineer. Prior to joining the CWB Group, he worked for companies like Babcok & Wilcox Canada (BWXT) and Imperial Oil Limited (Exxon Mobil).
Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. Could you please share your experience as an international student in Canada?
After my HSC examination (2002), I went to Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) to study engineering. I was a student of the Mechanical Department. Although BUET is considered as one of the most prestigious institutions in the country, I always wanted to study abroad. In my very first year at BUET, I started applying to the top ranked Canadian engineering schools. McMaster University accepted my application with some courses transferred from BUET. I came to Canada in August 2004 as an international student.
It is never easy to be successful as an international undergraduate student. I was a bit matured for my class since I came here as a transfer student. I completed Level 1 at BUET and was already familiar with engineering studies. This helped me to succeed in my first year at McMaster. I was regular in my class. I participated in various on-campus extra curricular activities. I completed a 12-month co-op at a petroleum refinery (Imperial Oil), and I completed a summer exchange program in Europe! I graduated summa cum laude with an equivalent CGPA of 3.85/4. I am always a huge proposer of doing well in school. It helped me to go places that I probably couldn’t go without having good grades.
Upon graduation I started working as a Design Engineer at Babcock & Wilcox Canada.
How did you get connected with PBSCU/CAAB?
I am one of those earlier members of PBSCU/ CAAB. Maruf bhai approached some recent alumni to get connected in his mission of helping students who want to come to Canada. I have been a part of these pro bono help groups since inception.
You have done your master’s in software engineering degree in Canada. Do you have any advice to prospective students interested in this subject?
Never miss classes and be regular in your studies. If you fall behind for any reason, do catch up in the weekend. Make a lot of local friends from who you can learn local customs and culture. Participate in on-campus extra curricular activities. You will find many on-campus career events, do join them. Eat and sleep well, stay healthy.
Did you do any co-op during your studies? Are there any benefits of doing co-op?
As a part of my degree program, I completed a 12-month co-op at a petroleum refinery operated by Imperial Oil Limited (Exxon Mobil). It was an amazing experience, and truly, it laid the foundation of my professional career afterwards.
Companies come to schools to hire co-op students and co-op roles are generally easier to secure. These roles pay a decent salary, and it is a solid work experience that can enrich your resume. If you do not do a co-op, you will find yourself in an awkward position in the final year when you are looking for a full-time job. You will notice that pretty much your entire class of students have some sort of a co-op experience and thereby have a competitive advantage over you. It will be even more difficult for you then to find a suitable full-time employment.
What’s the current job prospects in your field? Do you have any career tips for current students in your field?
Job prospects for engineers in Canada is fine as long as you have a Canadian degree. For some engineering disciplines you will need your professional engineering (P.Eng.) licence; work towards it from the very beginning of your career.
Networking is critical to find a job at any level of your career. Learn how to network by participating in various career-related events offered by your university. Utilize your university’s career service office to fine tune your resume and cover letter. Stay active in LinkedIn. Make job search, instead of Facebooking, your favorite pastime!
You recently completed an MBA. Do you recommend others to pursue a professional MBA for career progression?
A leadership degree is important if you want to move up the corporate ladder. Do a simple LinkedIn search on C-level executives; almost everyone completed an MBA at one point of their career. The benefit of a professional degree increases as you attain it with some work experience. In fact, the more work experience you have the better. I completed my MBA after some 12 years in the industry.
You also possess the designation of Professional Engineer (P.Eng.). Could you please elaborate a bit on that? How can one become a P.Eng. in Canada?
For some engineering disciplines, e.g. civil, mechanical, chemical, materials or electrical, you will need your professional engineering (P.Eng.) licence to have a better job. Basically, when you hold a P.Eng., you are licensed to practice engineering in the province or territory where it was granted. The licence also gives you the right to use the letters P.Eng. after your name. You should start working towards it from the very beginning of your career. There are four basic steps I can think of to obtain your P.Eng. licence.
What do you do during your spare time? Any hobbies?
When I was a student, I used to look for jobs in my spare time! Other than that, I used to go out with friends. Hamilton, a city of waterfalls, has some wonderful trails; during summer months I used to bike. I also played a lot of computer games!
Currently I volunteer with the Professional Engineers Ontario and the Canadian Welding Association. I also work as a young alumni mentor for McMaster University. I am married and we have a hyperactive toddler at home. If I find any spare time now, I sleep!