MEM Graduate Reflections

Two soon-to-be alumni from Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program took time to reflect on their experience in the program.

The newest class of Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) graduates will receive their diplomas in a matter of days. Before they walk across the stage and officially become program alumni, we checked in with two students to hear about their experience in the program and their advice for future MEM students.  

About the students 

Brandon Fortman (MEM '23) works as a mechanical engineer at Northrop Grumman in Rolling Meadows, Ill. Fortman has spent the past six years working at the company, and a little less than two years in his current role.  

Namita Tanksali (MEM '23) spent the past five years as an electrical engineer at WSP in Ontario, Canada. She is expecting to begin a new role as senior project engineer at Hecate Energy in Chicago soon after graduation. 

What was it about MEM that initially appealed to you? 

Fortman: I liked that MEM would provide a technical version of an MBA. 

Tanksali: The program flexibility — including the ability to choose courses from other departments like the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern — the experienced peers, faculty with practical experience, and highly relevant course content. 

How do you think you grew during your time in the program? 

Fortman: My leadership abilities, my confidence, and how I want to be a leader all grew thanks to MEM. 

Tanksali: MEM has been an invaluable experience for me, helping me to develop key leadership skills and strategic thinking abilities. By focusing on the big picture, the program has given me a newfound confidence to engage in meaningful conversations with high-level executives. Whether discussing the company's strategy or long-term goals, I now feel well-informed and prepared to participate in these critical discussions. 

What are the most important lessons you learned in the program? 

Fortman: Keep an open mind. 

Tanksali: One of the most significant benefits of the program has been gaining a new perspective on management and leadership. I have learned to approach challenges from multiple angles and consider the broader implications of my decisions. Through case studies, group projects, and guest speakers, I have gained exposure to a variety of leadership styles and management practices, which has broadened my understanding of effective leadership. 

How do you think the program prepared you for life after MEM? 

Fortman: MEM taught me how to be an effective leader. 

Tanksali: The program has equipped me with the tools and skills needed to tackle complex business problems, manage teams effectively, and make strategic decisions. I am confident that the knowledge and experience I have gained through the program will serve me well throughout my career, and has prepared me well to take on executive roles in the future. 

What advice would you give to future MEM students? 

Fortman: Pursue this degree because it is unique and is catered to technical minded people. 

Tanksali: Focus on breadth in course content rather than depth in a particular field and get out of your comfort zone. 


McCormick News Article