Bridging Engineering and Management at Microsoft

MEM student Jason Lee recaps the program's recent visit to Microsoft's Chicago office.

Students in Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program witnessed the intersection of engineering and management firsthand last month as part of a visit to Microsoft's Chicago office, located in the Aon Building in downtown Chicago.

The students heard from Microsoft Cloud Solution Architect Kevin Gates and were able to present on some of the key lessons they learned throughout the day. Also on the trip were students from Northwestern's Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program, which made for a more unique learning experience.

MEM student Jason Lee took a few minutes to talk about the trip to Microsoft and what he learned from the experience.

What were you looking forward to with the trip to Microsoft?

I was very excited to know that I’d have the chance to visit the Microsoft Technology Center in Chicago. I was looking forward to experiencing their demo technologies/products first hand.

How would you describe what all you did and who all you spoke with?

It was a great experience that we were challenged to do a quick high-level product development that covered most of the technologies and initiatives our speaker covered on behalf of Microsoft. We also were asked to do a short pitch to the audience. It was quite an impressive learning experience for me.

We also got to hear and learn about Microsoft’s culture and commitment to employee development, as well as advancement and communication from top to bottom.

What are three things you learned from the trip?

  1. The importance of communication within an organization
  2. The influence and possibilities of a strong vision, along with the importance of a commitment to follow through on each milestone
  3. The idea that each individual has different learning strengths/methods (eg. visual learner, kinesthetic learners, or both)

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Our speaker was a technologist who currently works as a cloud solution architect at Microsoft. I think he did a great job providing us with many insights from working on the customer-facing side of Microsoft. I believe it’d be a great experience for students to also hear from someone at Microsoft with more detailed engineering development experience to show us the other side of the company as a comparison.