I often get asked “Why could that student not just go to our app or LinkedIn to find and contact the right alum?” Yes, they absolutely can. Especially LinkedIn since nearly every professional is on that platform. 

But think about the last time someone reached out to you for help, and the social pressure you felt to assist (especially in-person). Self-determination theory suggests that autonomy is a critical human psychological need — to not compel / control an individual to act. Supporting (protecting?) the autonomy of your constituents, enabling that all-important intrinsic motivation, not only drives  “self-determination happiness” and but also makes them more likely to help. 

Which brings us to this story of a racing team owner responding to a student who really wants to break into Formula 1 engineering (by the way, really cool career, right?) — a story we’ll be telling around our proverbial camp fire for years. 

I’d like to think he responded because we (a) protected his autonomy by not disclosing to the student who we ask and making it simple for the alum to “pass” and (b) assuring him that if he’s not able to help, we’d simply ask the next alum (“the chain doesn’t break with you”). Not to mention that he engaged right from his email without another app.

Happy Friday!


P.S.: Because team ownership is a pretty niche area, I am also not disclosing any institutional information. 

The "ask"

Hello fellow graduates, my name is Franklin, and I’m currently pursuing a Master in Engineering Management from the School of Engineering. I completed my 1st semester  and the experience was nothing but mesmerizing!

I’m a big Formula 1 fan and I want to work in the field I’m passionate about. I was wondering how do people secure a job in the Formula 1 industry ?

I understand there are a lot of parts associated with the Formula 1 sport such as different racing teams, equipment suppliers, the F1 administrative body, etc, and there are multiple roles in all these areas. I wanted to know about different roles available in all these departments and how can one apply for them ?

I understand my question may strike you as odd, but it would be great if you could provide me the direction I’m looking for or connect me with someone who probably knows about this.

Looking forward to it 🙂

The "give"

Hello Frankly, my name is Adam Alum (’92). I am president of a racing team. In general, the demand for engineers in racing is very high. Racing is a very specific niche with a demanding lifestyle. We prefer to hire engineers who have some experience in racing, and a keen interest in the sport.

It helps to have as much hands on experience in the sport as you can. If you get the chance to participate in a Formula SAE project, that’s a good start. Also, many NASCAR teams or Indy Car teams located in Indianapolis also offer internships. Sim programs like iRacing can also help you to gain familiarity with the engineering challenges involved in racing.

Also, certain engineering degrees are in higher demand than others. Aerodynamics, electrical, mechanical, design and software engineers are all in high demand.

Most F1 engineers are recruited from Europe. However, I am sure if you do some networking you may be able to find a job or internship opportunity.

Happy to answer other questions, if you have them (



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