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Kai Gray, MSEM '07

Vice President of Operations
Upthere

Undergraduate University: Boston University
Degree and Major: B.S. in Management
Awards: 2012 CIO of the Year recipient, awarded by the Boston Business Journal & Mass High Tech

MS or MBA?

“I originally started my graduate school search focused on MBA programs. I attended various open houses and spoke with lots of alumni from all of the major programs in Boston. While some of the programs were interesting, I never found one that clicked. What appealed most to me about TGI was the emphasis on engineering leadership. I had been working in and around engineering disciplines, particularly software engineering, my entire career, so the focus on engineering resonated with me.”

On having a non-technical undergraduate degree

“There were certainly some classes in the program that assumed a level of engineering education that I simply didn’t have, but having worked around engineers for so many years I was comfortable with the concepts and the mindset. There were benefits to not having an engineering undergraduate degree. I felt like I approached topics in a way that was different from my classmates who had already been taught to think as engineers. When we took our Myers-Briggs evaluations, I was one of only a handful of extraverts. I took immense pride in that fact.”

How did you benefit from the program?

“Completing the program gave me a tremendous sense of confidence and accomplishment. Boston is a competitive work environment that values higher education, so making it through TGI’s MSEM program was a significant life achievement for me. My degree allowed me to feel comfortable and grounded in a room full of MS and MBA graduates from similarly recognized schools.”

Valuable lessons

“My career has been built on a reputation for assembling and managing great teams, so what I learned about organizational dynamics has proven beneficial. I also learned a great deal about rapid prototyping and the user experience. I have become a big proponent of both now and I believe what I learned has helped me in my career.”

Was there anything about your MSEM experience that surprised you?

“Since I finished the program, I’ve been surprised by the amount of people I’ve met in professional and personal circles who went to Tufts.”