With the final days of debates winding down, someone will be left jobless in the wake of the United States 58th presidential election. Between the waves of political debates, attack ads, scandals, and political poppycock two major candidates have risen to the forefront of their parties; the Democrat, Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Republican, Donald John Trump. Almost every person in the United States has formed an opinion on who should be the president and who would be most likely to bring about the apocalypse. Though one important question remains “Who would be the better engineering president?”
The path to the engineering president
As we all know a good engineer is someone who knows how to apply the physical and material sciences together to design, produce, and develop solutions to everyday problems. Successful engineers require a wide variety of analytical skills to understand manufacturing and implement improvements. Strong communication is also valuable to effectively translate technical knowledge into plain English. Taking these traits into consideration, we analyzed each presidential candidate on the following criteria:
- Attention to detail
- Problem solving / creativity
- Team player
- Logical thinking
Clinton has served as the Secretary of State, senator, and first lady. Even amidst several scandals Clinton has remained resolute that she is a strong candidate for president.
Originally studying law, Clinton has a great deal of experience in dealing with the complicated systems of government like policies and laws. Her graduation from Yale with a degree in law tells us that she has had experience diving through complicated pages of legal documents and standards. This is not necessarily fun, but is essential to the success in any field of work which has a great deal of governance. This can link directly to the difficult engineering textbooks and regulations around mechanical design.
During her time as Secretary of State, Clinton was tasked with organizing diplomatic solutions to state and world problems. This involves dealing with large teams of people to help build a resolution that helps all the parties involved. Knowing how she could handle herself in a difficult team situation shows that she can play nicely with others on a team to deliver a successful project.
However no star is without its spots! Failing to follow standard procedures and policies in favor of convenience shows a weakness, referring to the use of a private mail server (though great for communication!). An engineer who cannot follow the operational policy of a project will quickly find themselves without work, while the creation of more convenient and efficient tools is a positive, it can absolutely not be done at the cost of policy and procedure.
Clinton’s drive and intelligence could show her quickly rising to a team leader among other engineers. She would excel at understanding the industry standards and requirements, but the desire for convenience might give cause to some bad practices in departments under her.
Trump is a businessman first, foremost, and always. He has been known for dealing with tough financial decisions and spinning problems to make sure that he comes out on top in the end, no matter the situation. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Trump, utilizing a substantial loan from his father, quickly rose to success with a series of intelligent real estate ventures. His plan is to become a business oriented president, to lower debt and increase productivity.
A willingness to admit there is an issue and be open to fixing it is a great change of pace. While business is pure logic and in the end if profit doesn’t exceed operating costs you must shut down, Trump has tried and failed at a wide variety ventures. The ability to tackle new and difficult challenges but also to know when to call it quits are both fantastic qualities any engineer should have.
More important than your own skills, is your ability to communicate and collaborate with your team. In his time in business Trump has shown time and time again his desire to be the chief. While he respects the need for building a strong cabinet and leveraging those around him, he has also been known to strike off on his own leaving the team to pick up the pieces in his wake.
Communication is key in a successful venture, however over communication can be just as troublesome. Knowing when and what is appropriate to talk about at work is important. I wouldn’t want my coworkers talking about how they were grabbing girls in the sales department because of how famous of an engineer they were. The line between sharing and oversharing has clearly been crossed in the past, and knowing about those actions would make me hesitate to add that person to my team. Additionally while he has been detail oriented in business, the speeches he has given are rife with inaccuracies and false statements, engineers should always be able to back up their statements with the true and honest facts.
Trump has a strong business-oriented mind, after joining the organization he would likely tackle any and all issues that he sees as an obstacle, by throwing past procedures out the window. While this might cause some improvements there could undoubtedly be issues that arise throughout the organization as a result. He would break down inefficiencies and build up walls around our competition to keep the organization at the top of the food chain.
Briefing: Pick your presidential poison
We have before us two candidates trying to win the title of engineering president, both coming from diverse backgrounds and each with an interesting perspective on how the United States of Engineering should be led. Clinton has many years of experience working with diverse teams and generating solutions to keep “moving forward”. What Trump lacks in government experience is made up for by his carefree idealism and his motivation to “Make America great again”.
Who would you hire and who would you leave in the employment line?