Deciding on a Job in Food Engineering

Hi Nesli!
My name is Sona. I'm a junior in high school in MI, and I've been having a really hard time deciding what career to pursue. After doing some research, I found that the engineering field is very male-dominated and I am a pretty big feminist so it interested me. Plus, I love math! I like science as well, but not a big fan of biology!
After reading your daily routine, I found that I would LOVE to have a job like yours! The fact that you are more on the business side of things is really awesome and you get to try new flavors of ice cream every month, i mean that's just awesome! And you live in New York. This seems like a dream job.
I was just wondering, what things should I consider before deciding to major in engineering? I also want to get an MBA later after getting some experience, like you plan to. I see that you are a big fan of chemistry. I'm a huge fan of math, so would that be applicable in this career? And a couple more questions: How did you find this job? and what was your starting position, like what exactly did you have to do? Please email me back, I would love to hear from you! It would help me greatly! Thanks :) and sorry this is so long! ~SP
posted by Sona, Livonia, MI on February 19, 2013

Answer by Nesli Kohen

Hi Sona, In order to work in the food business, you do not have to be an engineer. It really depends which side of the business you want to be at. If you want to be on the formulation and manufacturing side, you do need the technical education. However, if you want to be more on the business side such as finance, marketing and supply chain/supply management, you can easily go with and economics, mathematics or any other degree that interests you.Being an engineer gives you the flexibility to move between departments, businesses, increases your career options and develops your complex problem solving skills. There are certain types of engineering fields that are more male dominant such as mechanical and civil, however it is not the case for all. If you want to be in the food business, your choice should be chemical, food, industrial or packaging engineering. It is great that you love math because there is a lot of problem solving in engineering as well as lab work and analytical paper writing. I was not a big fan of social sciences as I did not like writing long papers. One of the reasons I picked engineering was that I loved solving the problems and loved doing math. I found this job through internet searching and through campus recruiting. There is a great program that Unilever offers to college students called "Manager Trainee Program".i It is a 3 year rotational program, which gets you to a managerial position in an accelerated time. also want to get an MBA later after getting some experience, like you plan to. My starting position was in Research and Development for Personal Care Products. Then I carved my way to Supply Chain as I saw myself as a better fit for Supply chain. Please let me know if you have additional questions. Sorry for the late reply. I hope this helps.