Matt Stauffer, MSEM '19 | Tufts Gordon Institute
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Matt Stauffer, MSEM '19

Process Engineer II

Undergraduate University: Virginia Tech
Degree and Major: B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering
Work Experience before Tufts: Process Development Engineer, GreenLight Biosciences; Bioprocess Engineer, Joule Unlimited

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

I was about five years into my career and had worked within the biotechnology industry for several different companies, which ranged from start-ups focused on biofuels to a major pharmaceutical player.  As I gained exposure to different organizations within the biotech sphere, it became clear that pursuing a graduate degree could boost my career growth, both in the short and long term. It seemed that for the requirements listed for many positions I was interested in, years of experience could serve in lieu of a graduate degree. I knew that I was more interested in gaining knowledge not only through on-the-job experience but through continued learning in a classroom setting as well.

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

I chose to pursue the MSEM program for several reasons, with the major drivers being the curriculum and the way the program is tailored for working professionals.  I was interested in continuing working full-time while earning a degree and the MSEM seemed to be a perfect fit. The curriculum was appealing to me in that it covered broad topics, most of which I had minimal exposure to during my undergraduate experience, plus material that would be useful in my career. I was able to meet several faculty and alumni at an info session on campus, where I was able to see their enthusiasm for the program which solidified my choice.

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

I’ve already been able to apply concepts from several of the modules from the first year in the program. The leadership modules have been especially valuable to better understand and analyze team dynamics and see how my position and actions fit within the larger organization. Other concepts I’ve found directly applicable to my work come from the Operations module, which has provided insight and tools for characterizing and optimizing processes in ways I had not previously seen. In each case, I’ve been able to apply new and different perspectives to scenarios at work to help frame the issues more clearly, allowing for improved problem solving. 

Favorite MSEM course so far:
Business Strategy

What scientific or engineering innovation would you like to see in the next 100 years?
Not that it will necessarily be a single innovation, but I would love to see a global-scale solution for mitigating climate change to ensure a habitable planet for future generations.

Advice for future MSEM students:
Make the extra effort towards whatever you’re intimidated by most, whether it’s tackling those financial homework concepts or speaking honestly in front of your peers.