Fortune 500 Financial Futurist

Michael Mokodanski (MSIT '17) combines lessons learned in MSIT and his own professional experiences to help create focus for some of the world’s largest companies.

Michael Mokodanski enrolled in Northwestern Engineering's Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) to build on his engineering background and enhance his professional skillsets.

The experience was transformational. 

“I went from being an average 25-year-old with limited work responsibilities to being a true business professional capable of solving even the hardest problems,” he said.

Michael Mokodanski Those are the kinds of problems Mokodanski (MSIT '17) is tasked with solving in his role as project lead with Black Diamond Advisory. The Colorado-based company is named after the label given to the most challenging ski slopes in the nearby Rocky Mountains – apropos of the type of situations Mokodanski said Black Diamond addresses. 

He works with some of the world’s largest companies, helping them figure out what their future revenues and expenses will look like. To do that, he leans on the lessons he learned in MSIT.

“Coming from an engineering background, I wanted a program that was less focused on science and mathematical theory and more on tools that I could use to excel professionally,” Mokodanski said. “MSIT taught us real-world concepts that are used by businesses every day. Technology is what enables businesses to be competitive. The MSIT program gives you the tools to be a competitive working professional."

And so Mokodanski feels a greater sense of confidence – and happiness – when he arrives at a Fortune 500 company to help its leaders see the future.

“I enjoy walking into a room of senior executives and helping them figure out some of their toughest operational finance problems,” he said. “Some of my clients have extremely large and intricate businesses. Learning about their problems and coming up with a solution in three to four months can be extremely challenging.” 

That’s a challenge he meets with humility, a trait he said he learned in MSIT and one that is vital for success in his industry – and his life. 

“It's important to be able to recognize and gauge what you do not know about something," he said. "This applies to different business issues, industries, and your personal life. Once you’ve identified the gap, you can decide how long it’ll take you to learn and if you have the bandwidth to do so.” 

Equally as important to his recent success is the knowledge gained in the workforce since MSIT. Before starting at Black Diamond in July 2021, Mokodanski was a consultant with Deloitte.

“In consulting, the biggest value you can provide to any business is your knowledge of other businesses,” he said. “Being able to speak to leading practices in a variety of industries means you have a more well-rounded knowledge of how to approach different problems.”

You still have to be OK admitting you don't know everything, Mokodanski quipped.

“At the end of every client project, I feel as if I am now a true expert in my field,” he said. “Two or three days into my next engagement, I quickly realize that I still have a lot to learn.”

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