From MEM to Vice President of Engineering

Val Marchevsky (MEM '08) talks about his responsibilities at Verifone and his favorite highlights from Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program.

In 2018, Val Marchevsky (MEM '08) was named Vice President of Engineering at Verifone, a financial services company that strives to consistently solve the most complex payment challenges. 

In his role, Marchevsky leads hardware, firmware and software development for an extensive portfolio of payment terminals. It's a job that requires a wide variety of skills — skills that he developed or strengthened during his time in Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program.

Marchevsky recently spoke about his time in MEM, how it prepared him for his role at Verifone and what advice he would give to a current MEM student.  

What was it about the MEM program at Northwestern that first appealed to you?

I had some friend referrals that piqued my interest initially. It seemed like a good mix of strategic perspective and development focus which is what I wanted to learn more about. [In the end,] I enjoyed the interactive classes and working with students from multiple disciplines and multiple creative projects. I enjoyed the interactive classes and working with students from multiple disciplines and [through] multiple creative projects.

What were two or three of your favorite highlights from your time in MEM?

I really enjoyed the NUvention Medical course where I got to work with students from business, law and medical schools. Observing the way things worked and innovated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital gave me an eye-opening perspective on what success truly is.

Another excellent experience was in my Engineering Management where I got to better understand external forces driving a business which also helped me make better-informed decisions in my career.

How do you describe the day-to-day responsibilities of your current role as vice president of engineering at Verifone to someone with no engineering or technological background?

I'm running and transforming an engineering organization in a multi-billion dollar fintech company. 

How did your MEM experience and connections help get you where you are today?

Being used to an engineering environment gets you used to problem-solving from a particular point of view. Getting a broader perspective gives you an opportunity to make more of a difference within the organization and contribute at a different level.   

In what ways, if at all, do you remain connected with the MEM community?

A few years ago when I worked at Motorola, we set up an engineering innovation competition in cooperation with MEM which was a fantastic experience. We had teams of students working on cool technical concepts competing for a pretty good prize. The competition generated great ideas and some folks got job offers based on their contributions. I also try to join the annual Industry Night event if I'm not traveling.

What advice would you give to a current MEM student?

MEM is a valuable tool that can help you shape your future career. I suggest you use it to learn to think strategically and understand the forces in play that separate successful companies and organizations from everyone else. You will be surprised that, as engineers, you already know a lot, and adding a bit of a business framework to what you are already doing can propel your career forward.

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