Alumni Profiles

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Name Kai Gray, MSEM ’07
Position Vice President, Operations, Upthere
Education before Tufts B.S., Management, Boston University, 2004
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.”