Alumni Profiles

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Favorite blog:
Zagat’s Food Blog for New York City

Favorite place you’ve visited:
Positano, Italy

Best technical project you’ve worked on:
Google’s Bigtable

Name Matthew Toia MSEM ’11
Position Tech Lead/Manager, Site Reliability Engineering, Google
Education B.S., Electrical Engineering, Tufts University, 2006

Why TGI’s MSEM program?
“I had been working as an engineer with a defense contractor for a few years already and thought I was making good progress toward my career goals. I knew that I wanted to have more leadership responsibility, but I wasn’t connecting with the curriculum of MBA programs. When I found out about TGI’s approach to leadership I decided to attend the information session. What convinced me was the commitment not only to leadership and business acumen, but also to innovation, product development, and data analysis. The latter are skills critical to being a successful leader in a technical or engineering field.”

On applying what you learn
“While I was in the program, I was quickly able to apply what I was learning at work and was promoted. I was able to have a much broader impact at my company because I understood how to engage not only with other engineers, but also with colleagues in management, finance, and our supply chain operations.”

Moving out of the comfort zone, and up!
“The MSEM program gave me an entirely new attitude about how I performed my work and where I wanted my career to go. Just before I graduated, I was offered a job at Google in New York City and accepted it because I wanted to be able to focus more on innovation, product development, and technology than I was able to do in my role with my defense contractor employer. The interview process for the position at Google was a technically challenging experience that focused on my software engineering background, but when it came to the system design questions, I relied on what I learned in my MSEM program. Accepting the job was not an easy decision. I knew that I had a lot of opportunity where I was and a strong network of relationships with the key people. Changing jobs would mean giving that up, starting again and moving. I’m not sure I would have had the confidence to leave my comfort zone without the skills I learned getting my MSEM degree.

What did you learn in the MSEM program that has proved most valuable?
“There is so much, but if I had to choose two it would be how to influence without authority and data analysis. Google is a fantastic company to work for because there is not as much hierarchy as one would expect for a company its size. The reality is that to be successful in such an environment you need to be effective at self-advocating and getting support from others on various teams of which you have no traditional form of authority. The leadership modules at TGI taught me how to be effective at persuading others to my point of view without relying on a hierarchical authority. The data analysis skills I gained in the program have also been important to my success here. My work now is extremely data driven and often times the best argument is to just show people the data. Being able to understand and digest the data that others present or that I collect myself means that I am able to make an effective argument for what I believe is the right decision, or, just as important, determine that my own original hypothesis was wrong and quickly move on to a better solution.”