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Distance MEMP…the Quattro Crew

By Ross Wade, Assistant Director of Career Services

Quattro

Duke Engineering’s Pratt Professional Masters Programs offers a Master of Engineering Management distance option for working professionals. This program takes two years, and has three on-campus, week long residencies where students participate in a variety of programs and have a chance to bond. One particular cohort, “Quattro”, has developed a very tight bond. I asked them to answer a few questions to learn more about their experience.

For more information on the distance Master of Engineering Management Program (D-MEMP) click here.

Robert Frederick, US Air Force – Project Manager

Q: Why did you decide to do the D-MEMP program?

A: Best blend of flexibility, challenging classes, group project, and job/career enhancement.

Q: How has the program assisted you in reaching your professional goals?

A: I’ve learned a great deal about the technical aspects of leadership and managing a company while also giving me an outlet to practice the intangible qualities.

Q: How would you describe the D-MEMP community (classmates/”Quattro” cohort, staff, faculty)?

A: The closest, craziest and most reliable group of people despite only seeing each other once a year.

Q: Describe your experience in the D-MEMP program in THREE words.

A: Truly great experience.

 

Ryland Clark, Technimark – Quality Engineer

Q: Why did you decide to do the D-MEMP program?

A: I had been in my job for about 2 years at the time and I felt that I had a lot of knowledge from school and some experience in the workplace from the technical side but I felt like something was missing. What I felt was missing was the business side of our company. When I looked at different schools and saw the tag line “Making business savvy engineers” I knew this is what I wanted to do.

Q: How has the program assisted you in reaching your professional goals?

A:  The program has really opened my eyes to parts of my current business that I have not seen. The big picture discussions, business classes, and along with management principles have helped me with my personal goals.

Q: How would you describe the D-MEMP community (classmates/”Quattro” cohort, staff, faculty)?

A: I would say my cohort is one of the biggest positives of the programs. The staff did a great job pulling us together and helping us bond through the residencies. Throughout the semester we discuss everything from class to current situations we find ourselves in a work to help each other out. We have also flown/driven to see each other during the summer and breaks. The staff is also helpful and knowledgeable in every subject and if there is a need they can help find someone with experience who can help us.

Q: Describe your experience in the D-MEMP program in THREE words.

A:  Learning, Memories, Quattro

 

Christene Mitchell, Capital Improvement Program – Engineering Manager

Q: Why did you decide to do the D-MEMP program?

A: I wanted to get a masters degree and when I learned Duke, an accomplished university, offered a Master of Engineering Management degree that would allow me to continue to live at home and work full time, I was sold.

Q: How has the program assisted you in reaching your professional goals?

A: I expected to learn more about corporate finance to assist with financial decisions I have to make in my position, and I have.  What I did not expect that is valuable tool in my position is the D-MEMP “Quattro” mentorship.  It is great to have a close friends who you can trust and who have similar experiences to run ideas by and ask for assistance related to work.

Q: How would you describe the D-MEMP community (classmates/”Quattro” cohort, staff, faculty)?

A: I said to one faculty member this past residency, “We have a strange love for each other.”  It feels like an extended family – You can’t keep up with everything family who live away from you do, but you care about them, you want them to succeed, you trust they care for you, you try to keep in touch, and when you do see them, it takes no time to be back in sync, enjoying your time together.

Q: Describe your experience in the D-MEMP program in THREE words.

A: Knowledge, Friends, Mentors

 

Adam Turner Lacock, NASA – Structural Dynamics Test Engineer and Robotic Lunar Lander Project Engineer

Q: Why did you decide to do the D-MEMP program?

A: D-MEMP was the perfect opportunity to grow my capabilities as an engineering manager, while maintaining my full-time career and giving me the flexibility I required to spend time with my family.

Q: How has the program assisted you in reaching your professional goals?

A:  The program has not yet directly assisted in reaching my professional goals, but I fully expect that it will provide ample opportunity to do so upon completion.

Q: How would you describe the D-MEMP community (classmates/”Quattro” cohort, staff, faculty)?

A:  The D-MEMP community is one of the best aspects of the program. The ability to work closely and network with other working (distance) professional and the on-campus faculty and staff creates an atmosphere that is comfortable, friendly, and highly conducive to personal and professional growth.

Q: Describe your experience in the D-MEMP program in THREE words.

A:  Best Decision Ever!

 

Jaimen Sanders, Southern California Edison – Engineer

Q: Why did you decide to do the D-MEMP program?

A: I was accepted to the on-campus program, but soon thereafter received a job offer. I decided I wanted to continue working and going to school as I had done for the previous couple of years.

Q: How has the program assisted you in reaching your professional goals?

A:  After receiving acceptance into such a prestigious university many of my colleagues started to more readily accept my ideas and input. I have also established the “long-term” career path I would like to take within my company of eventually becoming a manager. The program has also connected me with some highly intelligent and capable individuals with whom I can discuss my struggles and triumphs.

Q: How would you describe the D-MEMP community (classmates/”Quattro” cohort, staff, faculty)?

A:  The D-MEMP community is surprisingly close knit. Despite not constantly interacting on a daily or even weekly basis, I feel we have developed a great rapport. Everyone seems to be extremely understanding and flexible due to much differing schedules, especially in regards to me being on the west coast with a three hour time difference. The QUATTRO cohort has been particularly close, which has made this school experience much more pleasurable. The bond we have developed as a total group and throughout the group is quite surprising at times.

Q: Describe your experience in the D-MEMP program in THREE words.

A:  Difficult, Fun, Developmental

 

Adam Kohn, TE Connectivity – Materials Development Engineer

Q: Why did you decide to do the D-MEMP program?

A: As a Materials Engineer working in R&D, I wanted a distance grad program that was technically rooted but designed for the professional engineer. I came across many programs that matched by needs, but Duke’s stood out due to the residential aspect, live interaction with the professors and students, and the flexible curriculum. The program boasts a diverse and advanced array of core and technical classes suited for any engineer seeking to one day become a CTO. The residential program, consisting of 3 week long residencies, offered me the opportunity to connect with Duke’s campus and develop my skills with a cohort of students. The program is designed for students that want to feel part of a class, connected with a campus, and driven to take advanced and challenging classes.

Q: How has the program assisted you in reaching your professional goals?

A: As a young engineer, and with only one year of work experience under my belt, the program exposed me to a “toolbox’ of learning and professional resources that I would have never encountered at my job. The classes are driven by elite members of industry that are normally only available to top executives. Learning from these top professionals at such a “moldable” stage in my engineering career has created a framework that will drive me closer to my goals.

The four core classes, all focused on the business/ law side of engineering, have empowered me to make educated choices at work that reflect the talents of those embodied by CTOs of a company. More importantly, the 4 technical electives offer the extra unique “Duke” touch in the sense that all distance students can mold the program to suite the needs of their career. As a Materials Engineer working in R&D, the ability to take classes focused on product development and innovation has enabled me to stay “true” to my roots as a Materials Engineer while growing my business acumen to that next level!

Q: How would you describe the D-MEMP community (classmates/”Quattro” cohort, staff, faculty)?

A: The faculty, staff, and cohort have helped make the experience truly unique and distinctive from what one might experience at any other distance program. Duke’s MEM faculty go the extra mile to ensure that every distance student feels connected to campus. For example, the director of the program, Dr. Murray, hosts semester “group” check-ins to make sure that the program is exceeding our expectations, and helps address any concerns shared by the cohort. The teachers even offer virtual office hours for the distance students. One professor generously raffled off his seats to the Duke vs UNC basketball game for any distance student that could make it to campus.

Most importantly, the cohort and 3 residencies shape the program into a student driven academic experience. The students in the distance program are located all over the country (and globe), but each and every classmate has become a peer, professional comrade, and lifelong friend! Uniquely, d-MEMP students are also paired with on campus students for projects, enabling all distance students to feel truly connected to campus.

Needless to say, Duke goes the extra mile to create a second home for the distance students and create a platform for professional development that one cannot experience in their job.
Q: Describe your experience in the D-MEMP program in THREE words.

A: Student Focused Program.

MEM or MEng? What is your path?