Mitchell Kos, BTech ’17 (Automotive And Vehicle Technology) – Faculty of Engineering

Mitchell Kos, BTech ’17 (Automotive And Vehicle Technology)

Automotive Technology | Ready to launch; Ready for take-off!

W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology

Like many high school students, Mitchell Kos wasn’t sure which post-secondary path to pursue after graduation. But he did know this: whatever he chose, he wanted to be extraordinarily successful at it.

Fast forward five years and Kos is wrapping up his final semester at McMaster in the Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) program, specializing in Automotive and Vehicle Technology, with top grades; he’s completed his third co-op with General Motors Canada where he’s been working as a Process Engineering Supervisor. Kos is still undecided about whether to, in future, pursue a Master’s degree in manufacturing, which will open up even more doors for the 22-year-old from Oakville, Ontario. You could say he’s succeeded and then some.

Despite the benefits Kos is reaping now, BTech wasn’t his first choice. His father is an aerospace engineer, so, naturally, Kos developed a deep interest in mechanical systems, robots, and, especially, airplanes. He thought if he didn’t end up a fighter pilot, then surely he’d be an aerospace engineer. “I applied to about 13 different programs,” he says. “Like other kids, I figured I’d just follow what my dad does and everything would fall together.”

But, there’s wisdom in experience, and his father made a suggestion that would ultimately steer Kos in a different direction. “He saw a very large gap and need for university students with not just engineering theory, but with hands-on, technical and business management experience,” says Kos.

Enter McMaster’s B.Tech degree program. The program was designed in partnership with Mohawk College to offer both engineering technology fundamentals and the strategies necessary to enter into a management position from the get-go. Co-op placements are mandatory, which produces graduates that are ready to either hit the ground running in their industry or continue up the educational ladder in Masters or Ph.D. programs.

“These days, even having an engineering degree isn’t enough,” says Kos. “I work with people who went into engineering for four years and then went to college to get a management diploma before they felt fully qualified for the job duties they have.”

Kos will be leaving the program this winter with a degree in hand, an advanced technology diploma, a business management certificate and, most importantly, invaluable industry experience. “I can honestly say BTech has been the greatest choice of my life,” he says. 

So, what of his passion for airplanes? Kos says the skills he picked up while working and earning his degree, such as troubleshooting, problem-solving, navigation, math and critical thinking, are all transferrable to flying an airplane. And that’s exactly what he does on the side. He’s just shy of logging his 100th hour on his Piper Aircraft, a single-engine, 180 horsepower Boeing airplane that he flies as often as he can.

Given his family background, Kos admits it’s funny he ended up in the automotive industry. For Kos, beginning his career with Tesla Motors in California in January 2017, it’s looking like the sky is the limit.