Andrew pictured here with Boeing’s Chief Engineer Nasser Vaziri. With a daughter who graduated from Olin in 2013, Nasser has been instrumental in bringing several SCOPE projects to the program and has also supported the hiring of several interns and recent grads in to Boeing.
Andrew Fabian is a Mechanical Engineer from Olin’s class of 2012. After graduating, he entered the workforce as a design engineer for Boeing’s propulsion and fuels organization, working on design integration and safety-related systems for the 787 Dreamliner. Following this, Andrew entered a rotation program at Boeing and ended up in a propulsion safety role.
Recently, Andrew was an acting Manufacturing Operations Manager, which he describes as a fast-paced, “firefighting environment.” Andrew found this very helpful in developing the skills that earned him a spot in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) Master’s program. Impressively, Andrew also earned a fellowship from Boeing that will pay for the program. Andrew plans to start at MIT this fall.
Why get a Masters, and why the MIT LGO program?
For a long time, Andrew had a strong inclination that he wanted to continue his education after Olin, which stems from his enjoyment of learning-focused environments. At the same time, he found it difficult to justify going back to school, in large part because his role at Boeing didn’t require a master’s degree in engineering for delivering high-quality work. He was looking for something that aligned with his strengths and interests, which he identifies as, “...less of the technical depth, and more of the project management [skills]”. Getting an MBA, then, seemed a logical choice for Andrew, and this is where the MIT LGO masters program steps in. Not only is Boeing partnered with this program and sponsors employees to attend, but the program is a joint Masters in Engineering and MBA.
Andrew applied to both the MIT LGO program and the internal program at Boeing that sponsors employees to attend, and he was accepted into both - certainly a commendable feat! It also provides him the perfect opportunity to pursue his interests in engineering, project management, and continuing his education. In the LGO program, one does not just take half business and half engineering courses; rather, the courses are interdisciplinary. Furthermore, a six month internship is mandatory, and the internship serves as the basis of the students’ joint engineering and business theses. The LGO program, then, is a unique opportunity, and perfect for Andrew.
When asked what he is most excited about in this program, Andrew put a strong emphasis on the connections he will make with his fellow LGO students, and the diversity of experiences that he will have. Andrew is anticipating bringing a fresh outside perspective back to Boeing after the program.
“I now have a great opportunity to see and learn about all these other styles of leadership, styles of operational management, styles of learning… from all these other people in a good, structured learning environment.” It is also the two year break in and of itself (after working seven years at Boeing) that Andrew thinks will help him better add value when he returns.
What skills has Olin equipped you with?
Andrew highlights two key ways in which Olin prepares students for the workforce. First,Olin prepares you to be thrown into uncomfortable situations and quickly get up to speed, regardless of your field or role. Second, Olin teaches you to work well with people, as here he developed a strong ability to communicate his ideas well and communicate between people. These skills were particularly relevant to Andrew when he left the familiarity of his engineering position for the role of a manufacturing manager, and had to quickly adapt to the contrasting work culture and practices. The role also involved heavy communication between engineering and manufacturing teams, which tasked Andrew with minimizing information loss when translating between the different disciplines and work cultures.
“I think that’s something that an Olin student is primed to do well,” describes Andrew.
What is it like being a SCOPE liaison for Boeing?
Olin’s Senior Capstone Program in Engineering (SCOPE) requires employees of the partner companies to serve as liaisons between the company and the Olin students. For a couple years, Andrew had the unique opportunity to serve as the Boeing liaison to Olin. Selecting the right project for a SCOPE team is a difficult task, and Andrew enjoyed the challenge of helping shape the projects from Boeing. The learning throughout the SCOPE process, he describes, goes both ways: not only does Andrew advise the Oliners and assist in finding other resources from Boeing, but Boeing learns from the unique ways that the students solve problems.
“At the end of the day,” says Andrew, “we get these really cool deliverables… not only is it a great process, but the Olin seniors have done a great job for us so far.” Andrew has also enjoyed the role as it has allowed him to stay connected with Olin, especially through visiting Olin’s SCOPE summit at the end of each academic year.
Andrew’s advice for current and recently-graduated students?
“Don’t get lost in your day to day work,” says Andrew. He describes the process of self-development as an intentional one, and suggests that you, “…take 10% of your time and think about, ‘What’s my development plan? What can I do to get from where I am today to where I want to be? Who can I talk to and learn from?’”
But don’t stop there: Andrew also emphasizes that you should take the time to tell the people around you what you are interested in working on and what your goals are; otherwise, they won’t know how to best help you.