Student Spotlight: Fiachra Finegan, MSIM '23

Student Spotlight: How the MSIM Launched Fiachra Finegan from Coffee Startup to New Career

Fiachra Finegan, MSIM ‘23, shares how the MS in Innovation & Management program helped him grow his hard and soft skillsets and ultimately transformed him as a person.

By Ben Friedman, Sr. Marketing & Communications Specialist, Tufts Gordon Institute

I sat down with MS in Innovation & Management (MSIM) students to learn about their aspirations, experiences, and reflections about the program. Fiachra Finegan, MSIM ‘23, is no stranger to the world of entrepreneurship and business, having co-founded a coffee company with his brother back home in Ireland. The MSIM program offered Fiachra a chance to expand his knowledge of business and innovation, particularly through his Innovation Sprint project, EcoView, which he created with his fellow MSIM students.

Here’s what Fiachra had to say about his MSIM experience:

Can you share a little about your background prior to joining the MSIM program?

Before joining the MSIM program, I was working as a Manufacturing Engineer at Boston Scientific while helping my brother to run our co-founded coffee company, Finegan Brothers & Co. Although I had learned a lot by launching our coffee business, I wanted to continue to educate myself and learn everything I could about running a business.

Fiachra Finegan, MSIM '23, (right) with Kevin Oye, Executive Director of Tufts Gordon Institute (left)
Fiachra Finegan, MSIM '23, (right) with Kevin Oye, Executive Director of Tufts Gordon Institute (left) holding a bag of Finegan Brothers & Co. coffee
Why did you choose the MSIM program?

When speaking with alumni from other schools, their programs seemed to lead only to jobs in consulting. Tufts Gordon Institute, on the other hand, seemed to really put a priority on skills in entrepreneurship and innovation. The whole Innovation Sprint format, which is at the core of the MSIM curriculum, and the focus on putting lessons into real world practice sold me on the program.

What were your aspirations during the program and for your career after?

I came into the program determined to learn as much as I could about the financial side of business, and I’m proud of just how much I learned. In Frank Apeseche’s crash course in finance, we learned key skills like reading financial forecasts. These skills were so useful during the program and I’m sure will continue to be throughout my career.

EcoView team at the PGA Conference
EcoView at the 2023 PGA Show and Education Conference
What was the most memorable learning experience you had during the MSIM program?

The most memorable part was the sheer number of lessons that I didn’t realize I would end up studying when I first applied to the MSIM program. Being a part of such an international and diverse cohort of students exposes you to so many conversations and mindsets you wouldn’t experience otherwise. Every day I would learn something new from my cohort or find myself considering an idea from a new angle that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own. The MSIM is a true melting pot of diversity and ideas.

How do you feel the MSIM program transformed you?

I would say the MSIM program was completely transformative for me. I’ve grown so much as a person and learned so many new skills, especially ones you might not expect to learn in an academic setting, like a whole new level of empathy. The number of new opportunities and experiences that have opened up to me has been incredible.

EcoView team at Tufts $100k Finals
EcoView at the 2023 Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition, hosted by the Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts
What’s next for you after graduation?

I’m currently working as a Manufacturing Specialist at Moderna, which has been a fantastic place to apply that “innovator’s mindset” I developed in the MSIM program. Being at a company with cutting-edge technology that’s in the process of really scaling up is the perfect opportunity to start applying everything I’ve learned in the MSIM program to my career.