Online MSEM Students Share Insight into the Program Experience
At a recent panel, four current Online MS in Engineering Management students shared insights into the program’s student experience, discussing how they’re balancing the curriculum in tandem with their careers, professional obligations, and more.
For the panelists, they each highlighted the Online MSEM’s flexibility as something that is giving them skills when they need it no matter what their work schedule is like or where they are in the world.
The panel included:
- Sheila Bailey, MSEM ’22, Manager, Clinical Services at Zimmer Biomet
- Anthony Owusu, MSEM ’21, Quality Manager at Imagen Technologies
- Michael Peachock, MSEM ’21, Engineer II, Design Assurance at Boston Scientific
- Meghan Shaw, MSEM ‘23, Mechanical Engineering & Design Section Manager
As Tufts Gordon Institute continues to welcome applications for the Fall 2021 Online and On-Campus MSEM cohorts, learn more about the student experience.
Tell us about yourself. What is your background? And, why did you originally choose the MSEM program?
Sheila: “I did my undergraduate in biology at Boston University. I worked in biology, transitioned into labs, but then wound up in medical devices five years ago. Professionally, I am a clinical manager. My team works with a neurosurgical robot and we support all of the surgeries to make sure everything goes smoothly. I was looking for a program that would really get me to the next steps. I’ve been able to take everything I’m learning now, and I really feel like it’s helping me accelerate to the next level.”
Anthony: “I received my undergraduate degree from the University of California Irvine in biomedical engineering. I work as a quality manager at an AI startup company in New York City. One of the reasons why I chose to pursue a master’s degree, particularly at Tufts and the MSEM, was that I really fell in love with the curriculum. The knowledge areas that it touched on were very relevant to the things I want to focus on developing. The other aspect, too, is the leadership training that was available within the program, and that’s something I’ve taken advantage of during my time in the Online MSEM program.”
Michael: “I’m an Engineer II at Boston Scientific. I started off with my bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Toledo Ohio. I was working in the R&D organization for a few years at my company then got promoted to a role in design assurance. The Online MSEM program is allowing me to earn my degree online.”
Meghan: “I received my undergraduate degree at Keene State College, and I majored in sustainable product design and innovation, so it was a very different major. Professionally, I work as a mechanical engineer at Raytheon Technologies. One of the main reasons I wanted to do the Online MSEM program was because I wanted to be a manager. In the engineering field, there are kind of two paths. You can go technical, or you can go more managerial and become a leader. That’s where I knew I wanted to go.”
How does the Online MSEM fit in with your life? What are some characteristics that you found surprising or that you enjoy?
Sheila: “For me, the flexibility of the Online MSEM program is huge because my work schedule is so inconsistent. Some days, I’m in the operating room for 12 to 14 hours, and then other days, I’m working from home 24/7 for a whole week. It’s really flexible, and I do really like that. When I took my current role, my work schedule became too demanding for an in-person program. I really like that this program was planned to be online because the curriculum is designed for online interaction, so you don’t feel like you’re missing anything. I just finished the [first milestone project] so I’m nearly halfway through. I was worried that I would feel like I wasn’t making connections, but I do think that connection is really there.”
Anthony: “I think the online aspect of the MSEM program was what I was looking for because I work nine to five and I have other family responsibilities outside of that too. I was really looking for that flexibility to study when I could as opposed to going to class at a certain time. For example, when I first started the program, I would set some time aside like Wednesdays and Thursday nights to focus on schoolwork. Being able to have that flexibility has been really critical for me and it has allowed me to be successful in getting my master’s degree overall.”
Michael: “I have the unique perspective of having started my graduate education in person and then transitioning to the fully online MSEM. I talk with my fellow students more in the online program than I did in person; the technology has changed so much now. There are so many tools to keep people connected. I just completed the milestone course, and in our team, we set up a Discord server, so we were talking basically every day about the project or how our research was coming along.”
Meghan: “I learned a ton from just being in my first two classes. I like how the professors tend to organize things for you and they help to pace you. I’m one where, if all the content is posted at once, I will go for it. There are many collaborative projects that I feel like I’ve gotten to know so many people just through those Zoom calls, and the small project groups are usually around four people.”
What advice or insight would you share with your past self now having experienced what being a student in the Online MSEM program is like?
Sheila: “You don’t feel like you’re doing work for the sake of doing work. It does feel like all of the information is valuable and timely. Even with my work schedule, it’s easy to balance, and it’s easy to do at your own pace. Let’s say, for example, I was way too tired on a Tuesday night to finish something. I always have more time throughout the week to do it, including weekends. It’s valuable because I can set my own pace.”
Anthony: “From my perspective, I initially came into this program thinking that I would have difficulty balancing work and school, but I was a little surprised that I didn’t have a hard time balancing; I think the weight of the program is actually structured that it provides you with the critical things you need to know to digest information.”
Michael: “Remember, too, the program is set up to be flexible, like in the number of classes that you take in any given semester. You can be in a situation where you can have a healthy, manageable workload.”
Meghan: “I think it’s really manageable for me. Since I don’t have a commute now, I complete work around five, try to take that break, make some dinner, and then the rest of the night I’ll be doing homework and I can still get to bed by 10 PM.”