Director of Post-Graduate Planning Sally Phelps recently interviewed one of our early alumni and they talked about what it's like to hold a management position in a biotech company, and getting an MBA along the way.
Hello Alison! What are you doing now?
I am currently an Engineering Manager for US Endoscopy, a medical device company outside of Cleveland Ohio. My department takes ideas from R&D and figures out how to design and manufacture new devices that we want to bring to market. I am actively involved in the new product development process, helping the five engineers I oversee to get high quality products to market quickly.
What led you there?
I worked at US Endoscopy as a summer intern for two years while I was in college. I love solving problems, and I found that learning how doctors and nurses use our devices helped as I developed new and innovative products for medical procedures.
How do you like being a manager?
I really enjoy being a manager. I see my role as an advocate and coach to help the engineers I supervise be successful. I help to remove roadblocks so that the engineers can work effectively and focus on what they do best. I find it very rewarding to work with different engineers, help them grow in their careers, and gain new skills.
I understand you did your MBA while you were working. What made you decide to get an MBA, and what was that like?
I completed my MBA while working. For 4 years I attended classes on nights and weekends in order to complete my graduate degree. I wanted to gain an MBA because I wanted broader opportunities within my company. I find that I enjoy the strategy of new product and business development. I enjoyed getting my MBA while working, as I was able to apply what I learned from class the night before in a meeting I would have the next day. I also enjoyed the discussions with my classmates who were in different industries, since we each brought a unique perspective to the case studies. It was a very busy period of my life, but I am glad I did it!
As you look back, how did Olin help you get to where you are today?
Olin helped me figure out my strengths of teamwork, communication and determination. Olin taught me that nothing is impossible. It stretched me academically, prepared me for the intensity of teamwork in the workplace and gave me the confidence to take on any challenge. Being the project manager on a year-long Senior Capstone project gave me the skill set to hit the ground running in my first job. Because of Olin, I haven't been timid about taking on new challenges, advocating for what I think is right and working on things that I enjoy.