Building Ambassadors for Technological Change

/uploadedImages/programs/brochura_joint_program_UP_CMU.jpg   In a time when finding a job is a challenging task, having a multidisciplinary résumé is key to get the attention of employers. Understanding engineering and business, for instance, especially in the increasing global environment that we live in, is viewed as a career asset. Bearing that in mind, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Porto Business School (PBS) have created a master’s program that allows students to receive training both in engineering and in business, while experiencing two different education and business cultures, in Portugal and in the U.S.. Developing graduates who ambassadors and leaders in technological change is the main goal of the program, which is now on its third edition. 
The MS/MBA in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) is a double degree program that allows students to simultaneously obtain a Professional MS in Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE), awarded by CMU, and The Magellan MBA diploma, awarded by PBS. According to Jelena Kovačević, head of the ECE department at CMU, “we are hoping that our graduates will become our ambassadors and leaders in the fast changing technological landscape.”   

The double degree is now starting its third edition and it keeps bringing on board a large number of students. One of the reasons that makes the program so appealing is the fact that it equips students with skills to start their own tech companies. In addition to that, companies may see the program as an opportunity to obtain more qualified employees. This is confirmed by Jelena Kovačević, who says that “from the point of view of companies, the program provides a pipeline to potential employees who will be able to understand and develop both technical and business aspects of their jobs.” 

Vishal Shahane  "During my professional experience I worked on various challenging technical projects with setups spanned across the globe. These experiences allowed me to understand the importance of having both technical knowledge and management skills. The MS/MBA dual degree was the best alternative for me when I decided to pursue higher studies. The program allowed me to experience both the Europe and the American cultures as I strengthened my education in these top tier programs. Both programs are unique in their own way and I feel more prepared for real world challenges." - Vishal Shahane (alumnus of the ECE MS/MBA), recently hired by Amazon to become Systems Engineer in their AWS team 

According to James Garret, dean of CMU’s College of Engineering, the program gives students a chance “to experience two different education and business cultures during their studies,” a perspective that is highly valuable “in an increasingly global context,” he adds. According to Jorge Farinha, vice-dean of PBS and one of the mentors of the MS/MBA, “the great performance that these students experience in the program, either at Porto Business School or at Carnegie Mellon, is a promising sign that they can aspire to great challenges in the future.” 

For graduates looking for a place in the business world, the program gives them an advantage because students are not only trained in ECE, but also in Business. And this is where the partnership with PBS becomes crucial. “Many of our graduates look for career opportunities within the business world and this program gives them an advantage,” explains Jelena Kovačević. For Jorge Farinha, the partnership with CMU “is also exceptional. And we believe this will certainly bring huge benefits for students and companies, and will foster the development of new entrepreneurs in hi-tech areas, hopefully bringing many direct and indirect benefits to the Portuguese economy,” he explains.   

“We already have a great partnership with the technical universities in Portugal, so this extension of our relationship allows us to build on and strengthen our valued relationship with our Portuguese colleagues.” - James Garrett, dean of CMU’s College of Engineering   

  

 

“We truly believe that combining expertise in technology and business knowledge is definitely a very powerful tool that these students will be able to use not only for their benefit, but also for the benefit of the organizations they will be involved with,” said Jorge Farinha.  

The MS/MBA is the result of a triple partnership since while doing their MBA program in Porto, students also attend a number of courses (typically two) at the Faculdade de Engenharia of the Universidade do Porto (FEUP), which will grant them credits for the MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering. “This allows students to reduce the duration of their MS in ECE in Pittsburgh from the usual 1.5 years to just one year,” Jorge Farinha reveals. 

Jorge Farinha 

“Having this double degree taking place so quickly was definitively an achievement on its own but the most relevant success was the extraordinary quality of the 11 students recruited so far in the first two editions. They were extremely hardworking, motivated and with excellent academic background, alongside a relevant professional experience. The great performance that these students experienced in the program either at Porto Business School or at Carnegie Mellon are very promising signs that they can aspire to great things in the future.”
Jorge Farinha, vice-dean PBS
 

The program is very attractive for a number of reasons. First of all, there are not many programs worldwide combining technology with a strong business perspective. Secondly, both Carnegie Mellon and FEUP are world-class institutions in different areas of engineering, while Porto Business School is listed on the top-100 Best European Business Schools according to the Financial Times. “This ensures that the teaching quality is at the highest standards and also that students interact with many organizations and managers that can give them a unique perspective on business and technology,” Jorge Farinha concluded.

 April 2014