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Favorite place you’ve visited:
Havana, Cuba; Chernobyl (Pripyat), Ukraine
|Name||Trevor Criswell, MSEM ’16|
|Position||Energy Services and Planning Manager, Wellesley Municipal Light Plant|
|Education before Tufts||B.A. History, Kenyon College|
|Work experience before Tufts||Smart Grid Project Management Intern, NSTAR Electric and Gas|
Where were you in your career and what drove your decision to go back to school?
When I started the MSEM program, I had just finished my second year of full-time employment at the WMLP. As a humanities major working in an engineering environment, I had a lot of on-the-job learning. In addition, I had been taking classes in other disciplines, such as finance and economics. While this was sufficient in building my knowledge of utilities, infrastructure and general business practice, I knew I lacked certain qualities and knowledge that would help me advance my career. An advanced degree was always in my plans and the Tufts MSEM program provided the opportunity to build on my business education while also giving me the chance to enhance my knowledge in engineering. For me, the program represented exactly what I was looking for at this point in my career.
Why did you choose to pursue a M.S. in Engineering Management at Tufts?
When I began looking at advanced degree programs, I knew there would be trade-offs, either go back to school fulltime or enroll in a part-time program. However, when I looked into the MSEM program, I found the program was the best of both worlds: it allowed me to stay in my current position, while also providing a full-time structure allowing me to complete my degree in two years.
One of the main reasons I chose the MSEM program as opposed to an MBA program was its applicability to my current job. I had been taking graduate level business courses and found that they were useful but did not necessarily impact my day-to-day work in the way I had expected. The structure of the MSEM program gives students the chance to not only learn or advance in a certain discipline, but also how to implement what you have learned into your current job; the program is incredibly practical.
Finally, the Individual Leadership Project was another factor in my decision. Designing and implementing a project of significance at the WMLP is a challenge and opportunity I look forward to.
What is your favorite part of the Tufts MSEM experience so far?
One of my favorite parts of the program is the different industries that are represented in the cohort. Having only worked in utilities, I lack knowledge of the issues and challenges faced by other business sectors. The number of companies and industries represented has been enlightening. Learning and listening to others speak about their businesses and industries has given insight not just into new sectors, but how to bring their experiences to my own office.
Has there been a professor or module that has impacted you and why?
Two of my favorite courses have been New Product Development and Business Strategy. In New Product Development, we were immediately asked to designing a new product. While this semester project was challenging, the outcome was significant. The project required us to apply all of the semester course work, while also teaching us to function within teams that had diverse backgrounds. We now all know the challenges of not just designing a new product, but also how to start a business, an invaluable experience moving forward.
Business Strategy has been a module that has lead to lively discussion and interaction within the cohort. Each student has different opinions and experiences to offer from their existing companies and different interpretations of the course material. Supplementing the course material with real-world experiences has given the ideas new depth, challenging students to think and apply the teachings creatively. Finally, the experiences in this module have given me greater clarity into my current business. I know view decisions in a different way, asking how what I do impacts the company’s strategy and vision as a whole.