Brian Hickey, MSEM '19 | Tufts Gordon Institute
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Brian Hickey, MSEM '19

Lead Engineer
Raytheon Company

Undergraduate University: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Degree and Major: B.S in Computer Systems Engineering
Work Experience before Tufts: Internships at Verizon and General Dynamics

Where were you in your career and what drove your decision to go back to school?

When I made the decision to apply to Tufts, I was a junior engineer and had been at Raytheon for about two years.  My undergraduate degree was very technical and it was critical to have that foundation, but I was cognizant of the fact that the management and leadership track within the company was of interest to me more than solely being an individual contributor.  I’m definitely a people-person and working and leading teams is a skill that I enjoy but also wanted to improve upon. Additionally, Raytheon is an academic-minded company and a lot of value is placed on graduate study, so there was clear synergy between the evolution of my career goals as well as the company’s goals and expectations for me.  

Why did you choose to pursue a M.S. in Engineering Management at Tufts?

Since I’m currently in a professional field and working full-time, I wanted a program that catered to the schedule and balance between work and school. I was also looking for a program that was practical and relevant to my work. Other MSEM programs that I researched had a tendency to also include more technical engineering classes, but I knew that I wanted to build upon that foundation by focusing on the intersection of engineering and business rather than strictly augment my technical skills. The cohort experience at Tufts was attractive to me. I also felt that beyond the courses and classwork, the projects that were at the core of the program would keep me grounded via hands-on assignments where I could apply what I learned in the classroom relatively quickly at work.  

How have you been able to apply aspects of the MSEM curriculum at work?

The program has given me more confidence to be a leader at work and has also given me a better perspective of how the world works outside Raytheon. As a junior engineer, it’s easy to allow more senior team members to take initiatives on projects and in meetings. My experience at the Gordon Institute has in many ways empowered me to be a better leader and step in to get the job done.  As an engineer, sometimes the technical nuances of a particular project can be the easy part. Getting diverse groups of stakeholders aligned, often across functions, can be a formidable challenge for anyone. The MSEM program has helped shift how I approach leadership and embrace these new challenges.

Favorite MSEM course so far:
Business Strategy

What is a company or organization you admire? 
I admire the Virgin Group, most notably because of its co-founder. I consider Richard Branson a visionary leader and role model who has remained grounded and humble despite his tremendous success.

What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is the act of guiding individuals or groups through times of uncertainty, regardless of the eventual outcome.