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Q+A: Emily Airoldi, MSEM ’18, reflects on MSEM experience

Each year, Tufts Gordon Institute recognizes a graduating M.S. in Engineering Management student with the Outstanding Student Award in Engineering Management. Emily Airoldi, MSEM ’18, was recognized this year at Tufts’ Annual Graduate Student Awards and the Gordon Institute graduation celebration.

Emily is currently a Senior Process Engineer at WAVE Life Sciences Ltd, a biotechnology company based in Cambridge that develops therapies for patients with serious genetic diseases. She previously worked as an engineer at Genzyme and Shire.

Tufts Gordon Institute recently spoke with Emily about the program and how its impacted his career.

Q: What originally drove you to go back to school? Why did you choose Tufts MSEM?

A: I was at a point in my career where I was transitioning from individual contributing roles into project management roles. As a project engineer and project manager in capital projects, I got a glimpse of the management and business world outside my engineering sphere and I wanted to get a better understanding of the business world. I knew that I wanted to better hone my skills in management so that as I progressed in my career I could more confidently and skillfully tackle the challenges I knew that I would face. Several of my colleagues had attended the Tufts MSEM program and they had great things to say about it.

Q: Talk about your career change during the program. What aspects of the MSEM program were you able to apply in your new job?

A: I worked at large biotechnology companies, Genzyme and Shire, for the first 11 years of my career and had great experiences – I learned a lot and made some great friends. I learned about Wave Life Sciences through one of my classmates and decided to apply for a process engineering position. The work is very similar to what I had been doing at Genzyme and Shire, but Wave is developing different types of therapies than what I had supported in my previous roles, so I was excited to support a different technology. Wave is also a much smaller company, and I was interested in working for a smaller growing company after supporting mature well-established organizations. I’m looking forward to putting my MSEM degree to good use.

Q: Which class has been the most rewarding for you?

A: For me there were two types of classes that were most rewarding.  The Leadership classes were great. I really appreciated the workshop structure, where we could practice and discuss ideas and skills we were learning about. The other classes I really enjoyed were the design and innovation classes; specifically, User Experience Design. That class really pulled together concepts from the design and innovation classes with concepts from our leadership classes.

Q: What has surprised you most about the program?

A: I was most surprised by how much I enjoyed the finance and economics classes. I didn’t think I was going to enjoy them but I really appreciate the better understanding of the fundamentals of the business world.

Q: What are a few of your favorite TGI memories?

A: My favorite memories at TGI are of the late nights working with my teams, getting slapstick-silly trying to wrap up a final presentation. I was so lucky to work with such smart and fun people.

Q: What advice would you give to future students? 

A: Know that the 2 years go by fast, so make sure you take advantage of your time. Talk with your classmates and professors; get to know them.  Be curious and be willing to try new things and to take risks!