Sample Job Profiles
These profiles are examples of the types of careers M.E.M. graduates can pursue and have been authored by a diverse group of M.E.M./Thayer alumni/ae and members of the M.E.M. Corporate Collaboration Council. It is understood that they represent only a small fraction of the opportunities open to M.E.M. graduates.
Project Manager - Software Development
authored by Amy E. Peterson - Cornell'98, MEM'00
Project managers at Autodesk have responsibility for managing multiple high-impact projects from initiation through delivery, including planning, project control and status reporting, and related troubleshooting and problem resolution to ensure completion of assigned projects on schedule. Project managers often help translate the use case for a project for the marketing team into clear goals for the technical team. They make sure every team member is on board and moving in the right direction. Project managers also help technical groups identify areas of broken or missing process, and take positive and measurable action to correct these areas. As a project manager, it is imperative to understand your audience and adapt your style to communicate with every member of a cross-functional team.
Project managers in information technology and software come from a variety of positions: developers, QA testers, or program coordinators. They are the glue that holds the project together and are usually responsible for documenting technical decisions and reporting to management the rationale for schedule or project scope changes.
Plant Manager - Consumer Products
authored by Brett Buatti - D'92, BE/MEM'94
General Mills - Bakeries & Foodservice
Plant managers at General Mills have total responsibility for the safe and efficient operation of one or more manufacturing facilities. They manage all functions within these facilities (operations, logistics, engineering, maintenance, finance, quality and human resources), and are ultimately accountable for managing performance and continuous improvement on all critical success factors, including cost, productivity, quality, human safety, customer service, product safety, and regulatory compliance. Plant managers at General Mills also manage plant business and technical strategy, make decisions on capital spending, and have ultimate accountability for the successful production startup of all new product introductions. They are the key interface with senior corporate managers when it comes to plant strategy or other crucial decisions. Finally, plant managers are responsible for the management, development and safety of all employees—both wage and salaried—at their facilities.
Plant managers typically follow a career track in operations management, but can also come from other functions, such as engineering or quality. In fact, cross-functional experiences are very valuable in preparing to take on a plant manager role. Plant managers must be strong leaders and managers of people, with good technical aptitude and the ability to learn new concepts quickly. They must also have strong analytical and decision-making skills, an ability to think strategically, and the ability to manage multiple priorities among many stakeholders.
Technical Program Manager - Aerospace
authored by Augustus S. Moore - D'99, MEM'01
Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center
Program managers at Lockheed Martin are responsible for the day-to-day operations, resource management, and scheduling of all technical and most budgetary aspects of the company's programs. Program managers come from technical positions, typically moving up from the lead of an engineering discipline, after 10 or more years of experience in the industry. They are versatile engineers and managers who must be capable of operating in all phases of a program—from proposal, through design and integration, to operation. Program management requires experience in all aspects of a project and understanding the resources available to you and your team.
Product Line Manager - Automotive
authored by Duncan MacLean - D'94, ME'96
MacLean Vehicle Systems
Product Line Managers (PLM) at MacLean-Fogg are responsible for managing all commercial, technical and financial aspects of a particular product line. They are responsible for executing the business strategy that is developed by the PLM and General Manager of the business unit. Their performance will be measured on achieving profit expectations for their particular product line; however, they will have no responsibility for the manufacturing costs. They can influence the profitability through price control and design/cost improvements. PLMs are typically engineers with six to nine years of experience including program management, design, manufacturing, and sales. PLMs manage project and application engineers; therefore, project management and overall management skills are critical aspects of the job. The typical path to become a PLM and then move on (with years spent at each position) is:
- Design, Application, or Project Engineer (two to four years)
- Program Manager (three to five years)
- Product Line Manager (two to four years)
- General Manager or Business Group Manager
Entrepreneur - Technology
authored by Jason Gracilieri - D'99, MEM'00
There is no easy definition to sum up an entrepreneur. They get their hands very dirty. They must be confident in tackling problems they have never seen, sometimes in topic areas they know nothing about. They must be quick, resourceful learners, and sharp, critical thinkers. They must be passionate, innovative, resilient, and focused. They must be excited about creating an organization, not just a product or service. They must have faith in themselves and what they're building.
In the early stages of a new venture, entrepreneurs spend their time on every aspect of the business: product development, marketing, sales, finance, legal, technology, and human resources. The most important part of their job is to prioritize efforts and focus the organization toward a product or service that will achieve traction in the market.
Once a product/service has found some validation in the marketplace, the focus turns to growth. On a typical day, an entrepreneur's attention is focused on the aspect of the business that is most critical at that point in time—there is usually four different items of importance, and they normally have time to handle two of them. There is always more work that can be done. They are constantly prioritizing. As the organization continues to grow, they look for talented people to add to the team and take over functions on an as-needed basis, and their time is increasingly spent hiring and managing those people. The ideal entrepreneur knows enough about each discipline to ask tough questions of the managers.
If they are lucky enough to get to this stage (and there is definitely a bit of luck involved), their time is now focused on providing direction to the organization, and focusing on the major operational and strategic issues that it faces.