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Engineering and Business – A Combination for Success

April 6, 2016

About Me

Madison Goldstein is a 3rd year Industrial Engineering student pursuing a dual BS/MS Engineering Management (EMGT) degree. She is also a member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), NU Tau Beta Pi, and a Fellow of the Galante Engineering Business Program. In her free time, you can find her hanging out with friends, going on adventures, or practicing yoga. 

Engineering and Business – A Combination for Success

Yep, you read it right! Engineering and Business, two fields that are so often wrongly assumed to be mutually exclusive, can actually be the perfect complement to one another. I’m sure we’ve all heard someone say something like “today’s engineers will be tomorrow’s future leaders”, or something about how engineers are going to change the world. But then, many others will still stereotype engineers as quiet, nerdy, or socially awkward people incapable of holding eye contact. Well, Northeastern’s very own Galante Engineering Business Program is here to change all of the misconceptions! Finally, a program has successfully been developed to provide an opportunity for engineering students to complement their technical education with real business skills.

The best part about being involved in Galante? Hands down, all of the fantastic Programmatic Elements that Professor Jaeger, the program’s amazing Director, coordinates for us. For those of us lucky enough to get to know Professor Jaeger through our first-year engineering classes, higher level courses, or perhaps through Capstone, you can surely imagine the dedication and level of commitment she has given to this program to see to our success. Some of the valuable events that we’ve benefited from thus far have included workshops and special speakers that make learning these new business skills a true pleasure rather than a necessary task. From learning what employers are looking for in business hires, to attending a strategic problem solving class taught by Colonel McGonagle, to workshops about succeeding through your specific personality type, the events have varied greatly and have each had their own flair.

One of my personal favorite events so far has been the presentation by Jean Michel Arès on “Transforming Business in a Digital Economy”. Mr. Arès is currently the Chief Technology & Operations Officer of the Bank of Montreal Financial Group. Previously, he was the Senior VP and Chief Information Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, VP and CIO of GE Power Systems, all preceded by serving clients in telecommunication and banking with McKinsey & Company. Aside from his impressive resume, Mr. Arès was a genuinely kind and insightful presenter who explained to us how the ever-increasing rate of technology adoption, innovation, socio-demographic changes, and expectations is going to impact the future of business. In his words, we must “embrace IT disruptions, or be disrupted ourselves” which he explained in the context of four main areas of operating focus to keep pace within: brand, channel, data analytics, and process. Not only is this information extremely intriguing, but it is of ever increasing importance to us as future leaders, as we must understand how to react to rapid changes to leverage success.  

Our latest event, “Bringing Your ‘A’ Game to a Business Dinner: Elements of Dining Protocol in Practice” was another event that will surely stick with me. Jean Papalia, the Protocol Consultant who ran our multi-course dinner, has changed the way I look at something we all do on a daily basis: eating. An entire event dedicated to… eating? Trust me when I tell you, I walked away having learned more little tidbits than I care to admit. You might ask, how much can possibly be left to learn about the simple task of eating, something we have been doing since birth? Well, take a minute to imagine that you’ve made it through a few rounds of interviews and you’re just one formal business dinner away from landing your dream job. You’re sitting at a crowded dinner table with your prospective employer and his team for your final evaluation, and you are thirstier than you’ve ever been before in your life, but no one has reached for their water yet. Which one is yours? Do you panic and grab the one to your left only to realize – gasp – you just stole the water of the President of Company XYZ who may never forgive you. Well after the four-course dinner experience at this Galante event, you would not have to worry because you would remember BMW. BMW? Bread, Meal, Water. Your bread plate is to the left of your meal setting, while your water glass is to the right.

There were many other quirky and entertaining “must do’s” that we learned, but this event, like all of our Galante events, really came back to the purpose of this program: to ensure that we are fully prepared for these important business interactions in the future. We all left with the mantra “It’s not about the food!” burned into our minds. All of the techniques we were practicing were to ensure that we would make a good impression on “what we bring to the table rather than what we do at the table”. I think that all of us left this event, if not enlightened, at least more aware of the importance of how we are perceived during such a normal activity like eating, and how important is it to be prepared so as to feel confident in all aspects of the business world we might one day face.

Perhaps reading has peaked your interest in honing in on your business skills to become the absolute best version of your engineering self that you can be? Well, the Galante Engineering Business Program is available for qualified students on the BS/MS track in any engineering major with an Engineering Management Masters. All participants who successfully complete the program will graduate with a certificate that allows for the potential to return for an additional MBA degree from Northeastern University. Aside from these more straightforward educational benefits, there is also the - dare I say even more important - benefit of connection. As Galante Fellows, everyone in this program has the opportunity to get together before our monthly events where we have the time to connect and share, usually over a delicious catered dinner (which I’m sure we will all be so eager to practice our new skills at after this past event!) Having access to such a driven, like-minded group of peers makes the extra work and effort all the more worthwhile. From simply making new and hopefully life-long friends, to exchanging tips on the best classes to take and when, to sharing feedback and ideas on each other’s venture and start up ideas, the advantages are endless. We even usually have the honor of hosting our special guest speakers at these dinners, so we get the chance to have a more informal, up close and personal experience with them to pick their brains before the events.

If you weren’t convinced before, hopefully by now you are truly interested in learning even more about the remarkable Galante Engineering Business Program. Check it out and find more details and program specifics at: Galante Engineering Business Program