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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

Well, I'm going to be done with my BS by the end of this year, and I'm trying to figure out what to do with myself. My degree is in finance, I enjoy the field, but it's not my passion, motorcycles are! I probably should've been a mechanical engineer, but I don't want to take another 3 years to do that seeing as how I should've graduated last year.

I'd like to get into something creative, I want to have my own race/tuning shop and build custom sportbikes some day. For those who work in the industry, what would you recommend? I'm a fair wrench, but I don't have formal training.

Essentially, how can I get into the industry with a business degree but do something that's actually related to motorcycles, preferably hands on? Would I have a shot at a junior management position or some such at a dealership or shop?
 

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Patriot Guardian
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You've gotta want to do it because you love it because you sure as heck ain't gonna get rich!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Didn't they teach you anything in school? I pound nails for a living but look in the industry your interested and getting in is first thing. Look what I found without even trying.

Jobs, Employment, Careers - Kawasaki Motors Corp USA
Thank you for your help, but you obviously misunderstood my question. I'm perfectly capable of finding job openings in giant companies like KHI. ;) What I want to know is more in-depth information on the industry. Who typically staffs the product development departments? If I did take a financial or marketing job at a big company, how hard would it be to jump into product development or testing at the same company?
 

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Vintage bike addict
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I doubt anyone can answer those questions. Each organization is different. If that is where your interests lie then take an entry position at some level and work toward the position you want.
 

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Patriot Guardian
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Hook up with Scott Salvi at Baron's down in Fallbrook. He heads up their R&D and might be able to give you some ideas on which direction to go.
 

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Thank you for your help, but you obviously misunderstood my question. I'm perfectly capable of finding job openings in giant companies like KHI. ;) What I want to know is more in-depth information on the industry. Who typically staffs the product development departments? If I did take a financial or marketing job at a big company, how hard would it be to jump into product development or testing at the same company?
If your looking for a career map I don't think you'll find it on a public forum for motorcycle affectionatoes. Look you spent 4-5 years in school and have or will have a degree in a field your not keen on and unwilling to spend time acquiring "proper" credentials/skills but wish to use your desire as qualifying you for a position in that field.
Now it may be possible that there are industry insiders that check out these forums but the reality is this is one of dozens of similar forums and they are as much social as informative and are as much marketing tool as anything else.
If your heart is set on a career in the motorcycle business go find a job as an assistant finance manager at big HD or metric dealer and go back to school to get the training you need.
 

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nu2kawi
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Friends of mine opened a bike repair shop, mainly deal with HDs. She does the books, he takes in the bikes and they hired some HD mechanics. I suppose if you own a shop you can do what ever you want. Lots of dealers won't work on older bikes, and most owners of old bikes, don't want to pay labor costs to have them worked on. Can't see much of a market for it, but they hold their own some how. Maybe they're just getting the overflow from dealers that are too busy. Many places have closed also.
 

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I'd love to open a "shop" around these parts where I find old beater bikes cheap (or free for that matter), and get them running so I can sell them cheap to people looking to get their feet wet in motorcycling.

A "cheap" used SV650 at a dealer here will run you 6-7k and that's just unacceptable. Some people want 2500-3000 dollars for a first generation EX500 and thats MORE unacceptable. There are lots of early-mid 80s small displacement cruisers and early 90s sport bikes etc around that have sat in a back yard or barn... with a little elbow grease you could get them running for a song, sell them for a fair price, and still make a little profit for your time and parts.

It'd be more of a "weekend" thing but if you had a good head when you went looking for fixer-uppers you could possibly do a couple bikes a month.
 

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What you are asking can be done.......

Like you I (in similar ways) went to school to be a 'cnc machinist'. I enjoy creating things with my mind and hands, but it turned out it wasn't my complete passion either! ( I too should have gone for Mech Engineering...LOL) After Tech. College I found a job at a smaller - growing company in their machine shop as a manual & cnc machinist and worked my way to Principle Machinist (aka Shop Lead Man). And now I am working in the engineering department as their mounting kit designer. I've been with this particular company for just over 8 years. (FYI - I just celebrated my 29th B-day a couple months ago) I've now been in the mounting kit design/installation support position for the last 3 years.

Key skills/traits/ideas you must posses to obtain a position you don't have proper schooling/training for......

1) Strong Work Ethic (I'm from the Upper Midwest - it's pre programmed in most of us already, "Work Before Play") - I'm a work-a-holic too..... so this helped!
2) Willingness to Start @ the Bottom! ( You have to Earn Key Rolls & Respect!!)
3) After a few of these things have been obtained, express to your supervisor/boss that you show interest in the "Higher -or- Unqualified Position". Ask what you could do to prepare yourself for that position should it become available.
4) Set a Goal that this is the Job/Position you'd like to obtain.
5) NOW.....WORK for It, show them you posses the Knowledge, Skill, Aptitude, Desire, Willingness or Continued education.... blah, blah, blah!! (For me this was the fact I had chatted with my boss about my desire to do design work, I had machined tens of thousands of similar part, I showed that I possessed the mechanical aptitude, was and am a quick learner......)


As another member said & I too would suggest, Start by getting a job (As a Finance Manager or similar- Everyone starts at the bottom and works up!!! ) Continue schooling or get a second part time job in the area that you desire........ Work For It!! Because I highly doubt that a large corporation will hire an unknowledgeable individual and train/mold them.... they are looking for the walk in ability. I'd say I got lucky, the company I work for blossomed after I had gotten to where I am.

REMEMBER..... THERE IS NO EASY BUTTON!!!!

Good Luck & Best of Luck in your pursuit!!

Matthew
 

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Essentially, how can I get into the industry with a business degree but do something that's actually related to motorcycles, preferably hands on? Would I have a shot at a junior management position or some such at a dealership or shop?
After reading this again.... I think as you stated that I'd try for a position as a Sales Team Member or Sales Manager at a Dealership that sells the brand name cycle you like most. This would combine the two things you enjoy most...... Financial Degree & your Passion for Power Sports Poducts!! WIN-WIN.

After working in this position for a few years building your client/customer base and gaining contacts..... possibly then you'd have the oppertunity to open your dream of a Custom Sport Bike Tuning/Building Shop.

Good Luck,

Matthew
 

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BACK ON TWO WHEELS
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That's why I became a Mech Eng....now I work on Army Helo's all day
You need to have a great background in some field supportive of R&D.

Mech Eng, Elect Eng, Physics, etc
 
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