International Co-op from Home

Mechanical engineering student Justin Lee entered his third co-op with zeal as he began his work as an engineer at BMW’s Open Innovation Department. Lee was meant to be in Munich, Germany— but instead his remote office is at home in San Francisco. Here, Lee fulfills responsibilities like facilitating research between BMW and Accenture, contributing to hardware design and construction of neuromorphic technology for automotive interior applications, and managing project support amongst stakeholders. Lee began this role on March 23rd, at the start of the pandemic, and will work there through the full six month co-op cycle.

“Due to the existing Coronavirus pandemic, I’ve had to be flexible and adjust quickly to unpredictable times. I expected to take on an international co-op with BMW in Munich, but feel fortunate BMW was able to work with me in finding a solution for keeping this co-op despite circumstances. BMW was able to enlist me in a new position taking on a Neuromorphic Computing Vehicle Access Project for BMW in conjunction with Accenture based right in San Francisco,” said Lee, enthused by the smooth adjustment he was able to make.

This would not have been Lee’s first time working in Munich. His previous co-op was at a company called Bragi – the first company to create wireless and Bluetooth headphones. While there, he was able to improve his German fluency, and learned from exceptional and innovative engineers every day. He felt inclined to return to Munich as it was always his dream to work in the automotive industry – and was thrilled to pursue his final co-op at a company as prestigious as BMW. While on his second co-op, he networked to make connections in BMW that led to the opportunity and a willingness to invest in his career ambitions with a job offer for his final co-op.

“Due to the existing Coronavirus pandemic, I’ve had to be flexible and adjust quickly to unpredictable times.”
Justin Lee

Lee considers this opportunity to be his life’s goal, and part of the reason he pursued a degree in mechanical engineering. He has a passion for automotive racing, and hopes to continue learning German despite his co-op being relocated. In his current position, his favorite part of the job is researching and learning new technological trends in the automotive industry. He enjoys discussing with his colleagues the future of the industry through pros and cons of automotive automation with artificial intelligence.

Lee offers thoughts on his current position. “I have always had an affinity for working on sports cars. It’s important to me that I get to continue to learn from ambitious engineers at BMW who combine futuristic goals with a humanist mindset.”