Alumni Spotlight: Swapnil Nibe, MS ’19
After earning a master's degree in mechanical engineering, he turned an internship with Ansys into a full-time job
Swapnil Nibe received his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Binghamton University’s Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science in 2019. He then turned an internship with Ansys — one of the largest software companies in the world — into a full-time job.
Coming from Pune, India — located about 100 miles from the city of Mumbai — Nibe had to adjust fast to the world of a graduate student at Binghamton. He now lives in Pittsburgh.
What made you decide to study mechanical engineering?
My father used to work in a sugar factory. I grew up watching that factory and the huge machinery inside. It felt like home to me, and it inspired me to become a mechanical engineer.
I did my undergraduate studies in ME and worked in an industrial valve manufacturing company for five years. Then I decided to pursue my master’s degree in the same field and chose Binghamton University for that.
Why did you choose Binghamton University, and how did you originally find out about it?
I Googled the top universities in the U.S., and Binghamton was there. Mechanical engineering at Binghamton has great faculty, and they conduct impressive research. What made me choose Binghamton was the cost. It seemed like the perfect balance for me between the quality and the cost of education.
How difficult was it to move so far away from home to attend school in Binghamton?
It was difficult, especially in the beginning. In the U.S., I had to do most of the household work. In the U.S., you have to do it yourself, like cooking and everything. That wasn’t the case for me in India. That was one of the difficult things.
Another was coping with the weather. Binghamton is very cold compared to India. When I landed here, it was 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is quite cold compared to what I was used to.
And, of course, the curriculum at Binghamton was very strict, and the workload was very heavy with seven courses for my first two semesters. The challenges were a combination of all of this — cooking, weather and the workload. After about six months, though, I got used to it, and it was pretty smooth after that.
What were your experiences like at Watson?
The curriculum was very practical, with a lot of hands-on experience. That’s what I liked the most. I had a class called Computer Aided Engineering taught by Associate Professor Roy McGrann, which included learning CAD modeling software like Creo and simulation software like Ansys.
Another class, Finite Element Analysis taught by Professor Seungbae Park was about the practical application of physics in solving complex problems. There was an assignment to develop a software tool based on the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) method, which is pretty similar to what Ansys does. All these classes helped me to secure my job, since they developed my understanding of the fundamentals of design software.
My graduate advisor, Associate Professor Paul Chiarot, was very helpful while selecting courses and during the process of getting an internship.
Can you tell me about your internship with Ansys and what the company does?
Ansys is a simulation software that helps engineers in the process of design, solving problems based on different elements of physics such as structural, thermal, modal, fluid and so on. Ansys products help companies create virtual prototypes, making the design process faster and less costly.
My master’s studies were related to this kind of work, and that really helped me get into this type of internship. I learned a lot about computer automation and various programming languages like Python and C++. I had the opportunity to work alongside brilliant people.
I interned at Ansys in San Jose, Calif., so the location was another exciting thing that I was looking forward to. It was a dream to work in Silicon Valley, which houses all of the great, giant technological companies. I was right in the heart of San Jose, and it was a great experience.
Is there any advice you would give to future or current Binghamton students?
For new students, I would advise they find out what kind of jobs are available related to their field of study and what are the exact job profiles. You can talk to people on LinkedIn or look at job postings to see what kind of skillsets the recruiters are looking for. If you already have that information, then during your studies you can direct your efforts toward developing those skills. That will definitely help you secure a job after graduation. And most importantly, enjoy your time at Binghamton!