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Name Keith Willett MSEM ’04
Position Software Engineering Director at Cisco
Education before Tufts B.S. Computer Science, Fitchburg State University

Why did you choose to pursue a M.S. in Engineering Management at Tufts?
When I applied to the program, I had recently been given leadership responsibility for an engineering team and served as the software architect. I wasn’t prepared to be a business leader. At the time I recognized that I needed further education to be successful at leading and managing. Originally, my goal was to earn a traditional MBA, but after learning about Tufts M.S in Engineering Management and reviewing the curriculum, I immediately saw the value in the program. It focused on building my skills in finance, organizational dynamics, marketing and project management to enable me to grow as an engineer and business leader. In addition to the curriculum, I also valued the cohort aspect of the program. My peer group was comprised of amazing people working all disciplines of engineering and at all levels in their careers. Many of them are friends to this day and trusted advisors for my career navigation.

How has the degree impacted your career growth?
Since earning my MSEM degree in 2004, my career has grown from engineering to engineering leader. After graduating from the MSEM program, I took on the responsibilities of multiple development teams and then migrated to a program management role, where I eventually became the team leader. From there I advanced to project management office (PMO) director, and after a series of successes had the role extended to include responsibility of software product management for twelve product lines. A few years later, I was recruited to be vice president of engineering for a subsidiary of a Fortune 100 company. Then I leveraged my cumulative experience to land a position leading the innovation engine of nine subsidiaries at Honeywell. In 2014 I accepted a new promotion within my company that really demonstrates the power of the MSEM degree. I will be located in Switzerland and working directly with innovation, process development, and strategic planning. I am fortunate to have had many great opportunities in my career, and I attribute my experience at Tufts University in the M.S. in Engineering Management program as key component in my career growth.