Attending the Northwestern MEM Program: A Student’s Story

Abhik Bera, Author

With dwindling resources and its ever increasing demand, it’s difficult to imagine an industry with greater complexity than the oil and gas sector. This has forced all the major international and national oil companies to operate in remote and even possibly hostile environments. My six years of experience in executing oil and gas engineering procurement & construction (EPC) projects has not only made me understand the organizational portfolio evolution in handling such complex projects, but also the fact that it takes more than just core technical competency to succeed in this industry. At this crucial juncture of my professional life, I strongly believe that every major decision in my life, be it opting for a BS in Electrical Engineering or working in the oil and gas sector, have been the stepping stones for reaching a platform wherein my career seems more definitive.

After completing my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering, I secured myself a position as an Electrical Design Engineer at Petrofac. My job description gave me an opportunity to get involved in some truly exciting projects, which included detailed engineering, value engineering, construction support, vendor management and procurement engineering and supported in construction of oil and gas infrastructures at Oman and Iraq. Nevertheless, seeing the concept of an electrical plant evolve from a 22-inch screen located in a design office to a 22-acre mega-plant always gave me a different high altogether.

Though all these experiences will help me in the long run, I felt my canvas was still half painted without the much required managerial perspective. The amalgamation of my acquired core engineering competencies with innovative business practices bolsters my motivation to pursue my Masters in Engineering Management at Northwestern University.

Northwestern University always appealed to me the most amongst the many choices for pursuing my Master’s. The core management subjects offered by a faculty of international recognition not only build core knowledge in the areas of finance, engineering-management and decision making capabilities, but courses in leadership & organizational behavior and negotiations are a perfect blend to ameliorate my interpersonal skills. Moreover, the flexibility of choosing and making a tailor-made selection of courses like project-management and business law, drew my focus on my personal interests in EPC project development roles. Additionally, the requirement for the minimum 3 years work experience was the key to choosing Northwestern University. Having 7 years of experience in industry, it was my priority to have likeminded and mature discussions in class.

Until now, the journey here at Northwestern University has not disappointed and I really look forward to the quarters to come with great excitement. The Master of Engineering Management Program will flood you with opportunities, it is up to us to focus and capitalize on them.


  1. I have read your story…it is really magnificent.
    You have achieved lot through your professional career and count is still on.

    Please do share such thing !!

  2. Well done! Knowing where your journey has taken you since this was written, I would love to have you write a followup to this story. It has been 9 months and much has changed for you. I want to also say it was a pleasure having you as my TA in IEMS senior design. I think you made an impact on those students in that class. I would love to read your reflections on that experience as well as your experience working on microgrids!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s