Brendan Ritter ’15: From Olin to Cornell to Raytheon BBN

Argyris Kriezis ‘22
achellakere 

 

Who is Brendan and what has he been up to?

Brendan graduated from Olin with a degree in Engineering: Computing. After several internships, he pursued a Master’s degree in Computer Science at Cornell Tech in New York City. Brendan is now working at Raytheon BBN Technologies Corporation as a Software Engineer. 

 

Internships:

Brendan had three very different internships during his summers as an undergrad at Olin. After his first year, he worked at MITRE analyzing voluminous flight data. During his second summer, he worked as a Software Intern at Barrett Technologies and in his last summer, he worked as Software Intern at Microsoft. 

 

Pursuing a Masters Degree:

After Brendan finished at Olin in 2015, he decided to pursue a Master’s degree at Cornell Tech.  Brendan decided to go directly to grad school because he feared he might lose his motivation if he waited.   

While Brendan did internships instead of research as an undergrad, he did not feel this had a negative impact on his admission to the program. He had been seeking one-year graduate programs, as he felt that the value for the money was much higher than the two-year graduate programs he had seen.

The program Brendan chose to attend at Cornell Tech was a new product design-oriented Master’s in Computer Science.  It had a strong focus on entrepreneurship and many of his classmates were MBA students.  Within this program, he was able to start his own business, while connecting to many local industry entrepreneurs and taking interesting and relevant classes.

“I suggest this program for any student who really wants to start a business.  It's challenging, but they have top tier resources,” Brendan explained. 

Would he advise current students to pursue a master’s degree?  Everyone is different.   Someone should only get a master’s degree if they have a specific reason or technical interest. For him the reason was that as a software engineer, he wanted a deeper dive into the field of machine learning.  At the time, this was a new field where he felt he could learn a lot from the right graduate program.

 

 What is Brendan doing now?

Today, Brendan works at Raytheon BBN Technologies in Boston.  BBN is a part of Raytheon with an R&D focus.   He personally worked on a project that aims to solve logistical problems of cargo movement over air. The technology he develops can be used for a variety of sectors;  one of them is the aviation industry and another is for humanitarian missions.  For example, there are times when cargo has to be transported to countries whose transportation infrastructure has been damaged after a major physical disaster – this is when his technology is used.     

 

Favorite Class:

“It’s difficult to choose one class from all the years at Olin, but one of the best classes he had was a Riccardo Puccela class. In this class, the professor would show the student how a software problem that is considered impossible could be solved by college students.”

 That is one of Olin’s goals,” he explains. “ To help students develop skills so they can solve any problem. You may not always have the specific knowledge you need, but you can always figure out how to find the resources and figure out how to solve the problem at hand.”

 

Advice for Current Students:

“Take every single opportunity that is given to you at Olin, especially if it is a difficult one.”

 

And for the Class of ’19?  “Don’t be in a hurry to find a job.  Wait until you find the right one.”

Posted in: Alumni Speak; Olin Employers