Students and Alumni Share Thoughts of EMDC

Graduates and current students share their thoughts about the Northwestern EMDC experience and the positive impact it has had on their lives, professional networks, and - most importantly - their careers.

Carlo Santucci (2015)

Participating in the EMDC program was truly one of the most rewarding decisions I have made in my career. The EMDC program gave me the necessary tools and confidence to take on an active leadership role within our organization. The faculty and curriculum are second-to-none. You are taught first-hand by industry leaders what it takes to succeed as an engineer in the business world.

Damon Ranieri (2015)

I entered the EMDC program with the intention of making a major career change, and this has been made possible. The network I was able to build through the people and classes would have taken me years to establish otherwise. In my current position I am fortunate to be on the leading edge of the construction industry's future and I owe it to the EMDC program for putting me there.

Mark Terrulli (2016)

I was amazed at how much real-world knowledge I had gained and how easily I was able to recall and apply those lessons to my projects. Understanding the industry, utilizing the latest technology, working with highly respected faculty, and knowing how to lead people and projects is what ultimately helped me stand out and get to where I am today. I owe a lot of my professional success to this program.

David Hagney (2018)

Since I already was a principal in an architectural firm for over 25 years, my goal was to gain practical knowledge to advance the firm, rather than my career. The covered material enabled me to apply it to the daily management of the firm and it helped the firm to navigate through the pandemic. 

Michael Koehler (2018)

The program is flexible enough that you can take the courses anywhere in the world. We had classmates all over the states, on business trips, in cars, and some overseas, as well as some professors when they were traveling for work. I personally participated in classes on the road while traveling during spring break in Florida with my son. One time we stopped at a Starbucks for a class and made a business acquaintance who was intrigued by what I was doing. After an explanation, we spent another hour and a half talking. 

Linda Kanoski (2019)

Many times throughout my career as an architect, I considered earning a master’s degree, but it wasn’t until I discovered the EMDC program that I made the commitment. Unlike a traditional MBA, the EMDC program is geared specifically toward what I do: I call it "an MBA for architects." The program’s esteemed faculty draws from a roster of design and construction industry professionals, as well as specialty fields such as communications and business development. In addition to the outstanding faculty, I learned nearly as much from my classmates who were all experienced industry professionals, and it was a pleasure to get to know them. The program also exposed me to a new side of the construction profession which gave me a deep appreciation for what construction professionals bring to the table. Thanks to the insights gleaned in this program, I have refined my approach to be highly collaborative with construction professionals.

Architecture and interior design are known to exist where art and science meet, requiring its professionals to think both creatively and realistically. The EMDC program elevates this approach by providing thought-provoking and compelling classes that uphold Northwestern University’s top tier educational reputation. Earning my master’s degree in the EMDC program has already had a tangible impact on my career trajectory, and I expect the business principles I learned in the program to continue to fuel my career well into the future.

Mehmet Kicikoglu (2019)

When I first started the program, I felt that this (online) method could not be an equal alternative to in-person interaction. However, my thoughts have changed as I progressed through the program. I was able to develop personal relationships with my classmates through group projects in each class. I also appreciate the professional diversity in my cohort; some of our webinars turned into a big experience-sharing platforms, where even the faculty learned from the class.

Cameron Peldo (2019)

The EMDC MS degree has helped me advance in my career a great deal in the past year since completing the program. My title has changed, and I have gained a great deal of additional responsibility. More importantly, I am in the midst of working cooperatively with another EMDC graduate on a large-scale project. Our two companies would not be working together today if it weren't for the EMDC professional network. 

Matthew Beck (2019)

This is a world-class program with world-class faculty at a world-class university. There is an expectation as a Northwestern student that you provide high-quality work. By no means is this an easy program. It requires your effort. You will get out what you put in. However, everything is laid out for you. There are no hidden secrets or tricks thrown at you. EVERYONE at Northwestern will help you succeed.

Daniel Maietta (2020)

Amazing program! The EMDC degree allowed me to transition from a construction field career into a construction management career with Kiewit.

Richard Pauner (2020)

Knowing what I know today, I would not hesitate to sign up for the EMDC program again for one second if I could go back in time. As I always say to people I interact with, I learned more than I could imagine from this program. You will be amazed when you start meeting with your classmates and see them in action. Professor Krizek has excellent skills about selecting and approving candidates from diverse backgrounds, which tremendously affects the quality of the live webinars. I learned so much from my cohorts, and even witnessed once that the instructor was taking notes while one of my classmates was sharing some facts.

Jeff Testa (2020)

What the EMDC program did for me is instill the confidence to handle the many complexities of running a construction business. Today, as a Senior Executive at a major glass and glazing company, I am able to provide leadership in all facets of our business. Strategic leadership is a valuable skill set coveted at any company and I attribute my skills, promotion, and success largely to what I learned in the EMDC program.

The bottom line – the true bottom line – is that I earn more as a result of completing the EMDC program, my family enjoys more of what I can provide, and I like my job. The bonus is the friendships made with the NU fellow students, faculty, and community. I am truly grateful for this opportunity and forever loyal to the program!

Kris Humbrecht (2020)

As far as EMDC impact on my career, there has not been a job title change, primarily because I was already the president of two companies I founded, and work for another company my family owns. However, the program has better equipped me to analyze and improve our business operations, especially in these difficult times, to meet the challenges our industry faces on a daily basis.

Nora Degnan (2020)

The EMDC program provided me with the executive-level tools and skills to be promoted from project manager to vice president at Thorne Associates, Inc. Learning from and working with faculty and classmates with real industry experience has been invaluable in helping me create long-lasting relationships in the business and given me the confidence to face any challenge ahead.

Heather Skaife (2020)

I always enjoyed online classes and, in some ways, found it more interactive than the traditional classroom method. This was true of every class I have taken in this program. The instructors approach it with a "round table" format, and not as a lecture, so the students spend as much time talking as the professor does, sometimes more. Aside from the value the degree brought me in my industry and the recognition I gained with my industry peers, I received a new title, been offered two Board of Director chairs, and had numerous leadership roles.

Orlando Martinez (2020)

After earning my EMDC degree l was promoted and received a 30% increase in pay. My current title is Business Development Manager for North America at DYWIDAG International Systems. 

Joanna Szymel (2020)

With a heavy heart I am saying goodbye; my educational hiatus is over. I have absolutely enjoyed every moment I have spent at Northwestern. These past two years as a student in EMDC program have changed my life forever. My outlook on what is possible and what are my goals for the future are not the same. Some goals once deemed totally out of reach and impossible are now at my fingertips, due to the world-class education that I received from professors who care and are willing to share their knowledge and experience. I have been provided with the tools for success and the guidance to achieve my goals.

When I started the program, my goal was to shift construction markets from residential to commercial and work for a commercial general contractor. I have not only met my goal - but I have surpassed it! I have opened my own commercial construction company that is certified as WBE by the state and federal government. The Guepard Group will become a household name in commercial construction as an interior general contractor, while following JUST provisions for corporate sustainability.

All these notions and goals have been engendered by new knowledge and wisdom provided by the EMDC program and its professors. I cannot say enough about the commitment, love and knowledge that our professors have for the AEC industry. This passion is what sets the EMDC program aside from the rest. The never-ending guidance of Professor Krizek, without whom none of this would be even possible, has made my dreams a reality. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to participate in the EMDC program. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for changing my life.

Mohammed Elkhamissy (2020)

My pursuit of an MS degree in the EMDC program was indeed a long road, but it was worth every sleepless night waking up at 2:30 AM [in Qatar] to attend class [in the U.S.]. The value of the program is definitely geared towards individuals like myself. I have already utilized a lot of the lessons learned about Joint Ventures, Enterprise Resource Planning implementations, facility management, and so forth. This program allows you to understand the company from a global perspective versus a project-based mentality. I'm ever so grateful for this opportunity and I am now looking forward to continuing my career in my favorite industry.

Joshua Neill (2020)

I feel privileged to have been admitted into the EMDC program. When I started this program, I was a project manager for an engineering consulting firm, and now a little over two years later, I am Vice President of our real estate platform at a private equity firm. I wouldn't have the position I have today, nor could I perform the responsibilities it entails, were it not for the opportunity and education that I received from the EMDC program.

Brent Vogt (2020)

The EMDC experience at Northwestern really gave me the confidence to know I can succeed as an executive in the construction and engineering industry. I really enjoyed my two years in the program and still communicate regularly with my classmates.

Kim Darke (2021)

The interactions and learning with my fellow students were incredibly helpful and insightful, and the instructors pushed us and challenged us to go beyond our comfort zones. That has helped me grow and have a better understanding of how I can help others succeed as well as help my company succeed. Everyone involved in EMDC has helped me become a better person and more confident that I can affect positive change in my career. When I applied to the program, I could visualize using the insight I hoped to gain to further my company's vision and, in turn, create success for myself. Thankfully, I was right. 

Paul Shaw (2022)

My aim was to continue my education in a way that would help me grow from a project leader to an organization leader. Northwestern’s EMDC program proved to be exactly what I was looking for. In addition to course content covering architecture, engineering, and construction business leadership, the program provided live, synchronous classes with sharp, motivated students and instructors who are true industry leaders.

I've been struck by the interdependence between leadership and strategy in achieving business objectives. It takes both the right strategy and the right leadership to succeed. To borrow a saying from one of my favorite professors in the program, “strategy without leadership results in plans that sit on the shelf collecting dust, while leadership without strategy inevitably results in great leaders and organizations racing down a path to failure."

Melissa Meade (2022)

I credit my recent advancement in my company to the executive leadership topics we have been studying in the EMDC program. I've already implemented leadership techniques, communication skills, financial understanding, and knowledge of the bigger picture strategies quite a bit over the last year - and my C-suite has noticed! Thank you so much for your continued support and for running a program with such amazing content and instructors! 

Nate McKeever (2022)

I thoroughly enjoyed this course. We analyzed a handful of real-life case studies, which really helped me. I’m the type of person that learns by doing, and the case studies are as close to that as it can get in a class environment. Additionally, the professor had a wealth of knowledge, and I feel that he took the time to get to know a little about each of us and he naturally looped each of us into the class conversations based on what he knew about our careers. Best of all, as I was preparing to write my final paper - a summary of the complexities associated with the London Underground - I asked him for permission to instead write a paper on a development project that I’ve conceptualized during my time as an EMDC student (my concept becomes clearer to me with every class I take). He agreed to allow me to write my paper and he agreed to mentor me! This, to me, is the true essence of higher education - this is the kind of professor that inspires me to do my best and to explore ways to apply my education in real-life scenarios that push me to go after my passions!

Keith Churchill (current student)

The year was fantastic. . . .I really believe that the program was perfect for my current life situation and aligned with my current development opportunities. I couldn’t have asked for a better fit. Thank you for making the effort to get me into the program at the late stage in the quarter. I actually was just discussing the program with our Corporate Manager of Construction, who wrote one of my recommendation letters, this morning and was telling him that we should start recommending attendance for this program to others.

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