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Engineering & Business – Holistic Problem Solving

May 4, 2016

About Me

Alejandro Moreno is a third year student pursuing a dual BS/MS Industrial Engineering/Engineering Management degree. He is a Fellow of the Galante Engineering Business Program and former President of the Institute of Industrial Engineers at NEU. Alejandro is also a senator for the COE at the Student Government Association and is a member of the Student Advisory Committee for the MIE department. In his free time, he enjoys travelling and playing sports. 

Engineering & Business – Holistic Problem Solving

You have made it, you finally landed that job for which you have worked your entire life, endless nights of study and many liters of coffee have been poured into this task of getting your desired job. The great co-op experiences you have had, plus a solid technical background and amazing people skills landed you the job, and as a good gesture, your manager invites you and your colleagues to lunch in order to welcome you to the team. So far, so good, but this is when the road starts to get bumpy and insecurities start to arise ... should I be seated first? Or should I let my boss and colleagues take a seat? Ok, we are all seated, but what should I do now with this napkin? Should I put it on my lap or should I do the bib move I practiced when I was in high school? What about drinks, since we are celebrating, I guess it’s ok to start lunch with a couple of shots and a martini?

Some of these issues might seem a bit simple or cliché, and the answers to some of the questions previously posed are obvious, nonetheless, as we learned from Jean Papalia - Principal of A+ Etiquette and Director of the Tufts Career Center - at the last Spring event for the Galante Engineering Business Program titled Bringing your ‘A’ Game to a Business Dinner: Elements of Dining Protocol in Practice", if there is one thing you have to remember for these types of events, is that it is not about the food! Think about it, you are meeting with colleagues, management and others from the firm, and you want to network the best you can by having insightful conversations, hopefully leaving a positive, long lasting impression on others. However, we can all agree that this can’t be accomplished if all they remember is how you were wrestling with your fork and knife throughout the meal in order to get to that delicious spaghetti with carbonara sauce that was served on your plate. Or how you were sweating, wondering if you just had eaten the CEO’s bread instead of yours (and you know he loves bread).

Whether you were honing your dining etiquette or discovering a whole new world, refining your handshake or working on your first impressions, this was a great event where we enjoyed while learning (and eating some delicious food).

As part of the Galante Engineering Business Program, each fellow is commissioned to complete a Leadership/Project Management component in order to give back to the program and to contribute towards making it better for future fellows. As an Industrial Engineer, I see this as a great opportunity for continuous improvement. Having said that, it would be unfair to finish writing this section without acknowledging the great effort that two of the Galante fellow’s, Annmarie Uliano and Joseph Alim, invested to plan and make of this event a great one, thank you.

So … what exactly is The Galante Engineering Business Program? Well, we can start talking about how it started on the first place. As many other great innovations and initiatives that surround us, this program originated by need, a need for professionals who are able to understand the complexities of today’s technical problems (engineers) while being able to talk the fiscal and management language ($).

It is the combination of engineering and business skills what will enable the next generation of leaders and decision makers to achieve their full potential, and this is precisely what Mr. Edward Galante had in mind when he founded this program. Mr. Galante himself, a civil engineer from NEU, having to learn all of these business skills on his own while working for Exxon Mobil, understood the importance and impact they could have if taught from the beginning. As a matter of fact, these self-taught skills made him a great leader/manager, ultimately rising to the position of Senior Vice President and member of the company's four-person Management Committee. Reflecting on his successful career, he identified the gap that currently exists between engineering and business, and decided to take action. He wanted future Northeastern engineers to avoid the situation he was stuck in for some years, having to navigate the business world on his own. What if they could teach them at school, while earning your engineering degree? And that is how the Galante Engineering Business Program was created.

For me, this Program has been the perfect way to fulfill my passion of applying engineering concepts to business and merging both domains in order to become a holistic problem solver. I have always been attracted to the “business” side of things, such as monetizing problems and understanding the implications decisions you make can have down the line, so for me, it was an easy choice.

Through the Galante program, we have a series of Programmatic Elements such as workshops; speaker series, site visits and seminars that help us develop as integral professionals. Moreover, thanks to the Galante Engineering Business Program, I have met other engineers who share this passion for business and engineering, and who are equally motivated to succeed in an ever-changing competitive world. It has been a great honor to be part of this first cohort of Galante Engineering Business Fellows and I feel proud of what we have accomplished on this first year. However, I acknowledge that the best is yet to come, and I’m sure that under the guidance of our Program Director, Dr. Kris Jaeger-Helton, this program is just getting started and is set to accomplish some remarkable achievements.

If you are interested in the Galante Program and are looking for more information, you can visit the website: coe.neu.edu/galante