Samad Erogbogbo originally hails from Lagos, Nigeria. He earned his undergraduate degree at Illinois Institute of Technology in Mechanical Engineering, before beginning the MEM program. A part-time student, Samad is currently Senior Mechanical Engineer for Fauske & Associates, LLC, a company that aims to ensure safety nuclear, industrial, and chemical processes. In his downtime, he enjoys playing soccer. We asked him about his interests and what the MEM experience has meant to him:
What’s your favorite technology Company?
I would identify Apple, Inc., as my favorite tech company. From my first purchase, an iPod, to my most recent purchase, an iPhone, I have always looked to Apple products first when I am in search of an electronics product that is offered by Apple. I also own other products from Apple, including my previous and current laptop. The primary reason I am loyal to Apple harkens back to my first laptop purchase in 2006, prior to that I had always used Microsoft (windows) based computers. Apple products are always form and function driven. Some would argue more form than function yet I would argue that the simplistic nature of their products and ease of use is what sets them apart from competitors. The current culture of the company set by Steve Jobs is also another reason I am loyal to Apple. Although, it is hard to really understand the depth of a company’s culture without working at the company, the culture of the company is somewhat apparent in their products and it has driven the technology and trend setting products that they have produced over the years. In other words, I admire the company culture and its manifestation in their products, which translates to loyalty.
What has been your favorite part or thing about MEM?
The favorite part of the MEM program, so far, has been the breadth of the experience and knowledge base in the student body. Students come from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds, which makes the classroom experience that much more valuable. Class discussions and group projects are essentially by default multi-disciplinary yet at the same time there is a shared goal and commonality that facilitates the experience. The student body coupled with the faculty, which is also comprised of a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives makes for a very rich learning experience.
What advice would you give future/prospective students?
Engineering management will be a critical resource in the very near future and beyond, given the challenges of the 21st century that include but are not limited to technological advancements and the velocity of change in technology. I believe that the MEM program provides a skillset that will prepare prospective students for engineering management roles and leadership roles for the future so they should seriously consider the program and review the curriculum as the right fit for them. After they have decided that the MEM program is right for them, I would tell prospective students to make sure that they can fully commit to the learning experience before starting so that they can get full value and return from their investments. The learning experience will be nothing like they’ve had in the past so they should enjoy it while maximizing the potential gains.
What made you decide to pursue a MEM degree?
I was at a point in my professional career that I felt that I needed to acquire some additional skills for my toolbox that would give me an opportunity to achieve greater success in the future, and setting myself apart from some of my peers. At that point, I had primarily focused and worked on predominantly technical roles and projects such that I felt like I was limiting myself for future growth. I was searching for a program that would prepare me for the upcoming challenges. Given the current industry I work, nuclear industry, there is general decline, or at least perceived, in revenues, talent, and public opinion; however, I believe there is room for differentiation, innovation and change. I believe I can be a part of any such changes. In my research, the MEM program presented a clear option for a rounded experience with a focus on management and technology. I believe I can leverage my new skills as a sum of many parts with each part being equally as important and complimentary as the next. The parts all making up an asset that would be valuable to create differentiation that can be an important asset. This is an assertion based on the curriculum of the MEM program coupled with my industry experience. It also helped that I had a friend who had been through the program that could provide some insight on the curriculum and experience of going through the program.
What do you think your experience will contribute to this program?
I believe my experience in the nuclear power sector is unique to the MEM program from a technology and business perspective. The challenges and intricacies of the nuclear power business may not be entirely unique but they certainly possess some peculiar elements. For instance, other industries have been faced with disruptive technology similar to the threat to the nuclear power sector posed by renewables leading to a decline in profits and a gradual shrinkage of the sector. However, the particular dynamics of the nuclear sector are unique enough such that my experience in the sector provides a different perspective to the program.