University of Michigan, Industrial and Operations Engineering, 2010
University of Michigan, MSE Industrial and Operations Engineering, 2011
After grad school, I received a Fulbright fellowship which allowed me to live and teach in Paris, France for about a year. This was a life-changing experience as I was exposed to a different mindset and way of enjoying life. It strengthened in me the concept of working to live, not living to work. It’s important that your self-worth is tied to something more substantive than the approval you receive at your job. I believe this actually helps you to do better at work when your self-image is rooted in something stronger. I began my working career at Google, starting in an Operations role focused on People systems, warehouse management, and onboarding executives, moving into a Benefits Program Manager role managing new vendor integrations, and then finally into a People Consultant role supporting sales and tech clients across a wide variety of HR and people-related issues. I’ve always desired to stay in a constant learning state, seeking fresh experiences to broaden my skill set and expose myself to new people as I started from scratch in each of my new roles. Honestly, an engineer, all of a sudden in HR?! I know it sounds far-fetched. But I have always desired to use my technical skills to help improve people’s lives in some capacity, so the roles I took on required a blend of analytical and people skills, which I’ve continued to hone. I also began to understand early on that who I was working with was just as important, if not more, than what I was doing. You want to work with people you can learn from, who will advocate for you. I recommend seeking to join the teams of strong, humble leaders who value developing their people.
How does your Master’s degree differentiate you from others?
My master’s degree helped open the door for me to begin working at a place like Google, where everyone is insanely talented and qualified. I remember Google cold-sourcing me right at the end of my grad school year and it was a total surprise. I wish I had asked how they found me, but alas, I will never know. My hunch is that it was from an EGL resume book. Even in an informal sense, every time you introduce yourself on a new project and share your engineering master’s background, it adds to your credibility in the room. It’s commonly accepted and understood what lengths you have to go to and the amount of discipline required to achieve a master’s level of education in an engineering field, so be encouraged as you do what it takes. It will pay off in the end!
Reflection on Time Spent at U-M
You spend a lot of time thinking about what it is you want to do because that’s what everyone asks you about your whole life. An amazing mentor in my life encouraged me to spend time thinking about how it was that I wanted to live. Then, to go out and find the people who are living like that and convince them to teach me what they did to get there. And then do it! I would encourage you to do the same.