Doug Carder ’12 graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in mechanical engineering. He has spent the last three years in the strategic consulting group at Ricardo Strategic Consulting.

Meet Doug on IrishCompass

Can you provide a brief overview of your background at Notre Dame and how that led you to your current role?
I graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering and then went to work in the automotive industry. I started at the Detroit office of (Ricardo Strategic Consulting) for five years, using my engineering degree to help design car transmissions and off-highway driveline systems. I then spent two years at American Axle, which supplies axles for SUVs and trucks. I then went back to Ricardo to work in the strategic consulting group and have been here for three years. 

We specialize in automotive strategy consulting. A lot of us are former engineers who wanted to take the next step to help businesses in a bigger way — achieving profitability and giving them advice on technology and strategy. My Notre Dame education was my foundation. I earned a master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan and am getting an M.B.A. from there now, but my Notre Dame degree sets me apart in Detroit.

What are some distinguishing factors of ND alums?
They are virtuous leaders. Notre Dame not only gives students the education but also forms them as complete individuals, and I try to make this apparent in both my professional and personal lives.

What are the top three skills Ricardo Strategic Consulting looks for in applicants?
First, a background in automotive technology. We typically hire people that have two to three years of experience, preferably in the automotive field but definitely in an engineering-related field. Second, the ability to solve complex problems. Third, entrepreneurial leadership. Even though we are a corporation, we think of ourselves as an entrepreneurial company; it is up to you to determine your course of action. We look for this entrepreneurial leadership in everyone we hire.

What is the value of hiring fellow ND alumni?
They have a broad worldview. Notre Dame gives students the opportunity to go out and experience the world. You are not just getting engineers or consults — you are getting individuals with virtues. Many people have the skills, but it takes someone special to also build rapport. Business is all about relationships, so it is important to do this.

What does it take to be successful in this industry?
It takes drive and commitment. This is a difficult industry, but it is an exciting time for electrification. People want electric cars, but regulations are also pulling the technology change. You need to drive to stay at the top of the curve and move with the technological changes. Innovation is another key component. If you are young, be at the forefront of technology because you need to innovate.

Do you have advice, especially for young alumni who are entering a post-pandemic economy?
Get involved with conferences. This is a great way to keep up to speed and also network. After you meet someone, connect with them on IrishCompass or LinkedIn. Build these relationships strategically — never burn bridges, and keep lines open. Ricardo is a leading boutique automotive strategy consulting company, and we look to Notre Dame to provide us with talented leaders, and we need them. We are happy to be partnering with Notre Dame and to be recruiting through (IrishCompass). We need the engineers and consultants to help build a fit tomorrow — a world that is fit for the future.

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