Student Spotlight: Tim Martinez is graduating with his Class of 2017 from the Master of Technology Management program in June. He completed his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at UC San Diego.
Tim previously worked as a Sr. Mechanical Engineer and is pivoting his career to work at a local company after a well-deserved vacation. He has had his fair share of travels, including one where he spent ten months exploring the U.S. while living in a camper with his dog. He enjoys all outdoor activities, including soccer, surfing, camping, backpacking, and of course, traveling. You might also find him enjoying and brewing his own beer in his spare time.
Why did you choose to pursue an MTM compared to other similar master’s degree programs like an MBA?
I had considered enrolling in a traditional or fully-employed MBA for a long time since it was a common track for many engineers. However, the generic nature of MBA programs never fully grabbed me. When I heard there was a management program specifically designed for engineers I was immediately attracted to it. Traditional MBA programs are usually 2-years full-time or 3-years if fully employed. The 9-month length of the program was a huge selling point since I would need to quit my job. Add on to that a world renowned, prestigious university in one of the most beautiful places on the planet and I was sold. All of my initial interactions with the admissions staff, faculty, and students showed me that UCSB has something truly special with the Master of Technology Management program.
What were some of your influential learning experiences going through the MTM program? Any challenging but rewarding MTM courses?
As an engineer with no previous formal business or management education all of the curriculum was new to me. I came into the program with significant work experience and I think that caused me to be fully engaged in every course since I saw the immediate application of course content. I felt like all of the courses were relevant, challenging and rewarding. There were specific courses which surprised me on how much I enjoyed them. “Creating Value Through Human Capital” opened my eyes to the value of proper hiring, incentives, motivation and their effect on the firm. “Program and Project Management” provided tangible tools for effectively managing both large and small projects. In “Organizational Design for Continuous Improvement” we used informal network analysis software to analyze how real companies operate. We were exposed to the realities of how informal networks can differ from formal organizational structures.
Who were some of the key professors, mentors, or people who deeply influenced you while you were in the program?
All of the professors were excellent but there were a few that struck me personally. Professor Rottner has a unique ability to balance professionalism and expertise with warmth and approachability. She provided impeccable lectures and in-class exercises. I always came away from her classes feeling empowered. Professor York was a true role model. His passion for the material and for the students shines through with the quality of his class. Professor Hawkin’s reputation precedes him. I had to pinch myself a few times when I realized I was trading emails with a technology legend.
What advice would you give to prospective students about UCSB’s Master of Technology Management program?
This program is intense. The most successful students come into the program with an underdog mindset. Stay disciplined, stay humble, and keep your eye on the prize. That said, the program provides you with all of the resources you need to succeed. The faculty is world-class, incredibly helpful and approachable. They are all invested in YOUR success. So, go for it!
Where are you going after graduation and what are your plans?
After some R&R I will start work as a Manufacturing Engineering Manager at a local electronics manufacturing company. This high visibility role will be critical to the prosperity and sustainable competitive advantage for the rapidly growing company. I’m extremely satisfied with my career outcome. My MTM degree definitely increased my market value.
How has the MTM program prepared you for career opportunities and advancement at tech startups/companies?
In “Building Strategic Partnerships” we learned about the importance of networking with high status partners, knowing your value, and effective negotiating skills. That course was influential in my career exploration because it helped me understand how to find companies and positions where I could leverage my skills and experience to achieve the best fit. In addition to the course content, the professional networks within the TMP are invaluable. I formed lasting relationships with my peers and faculty which will pay dividends for the remainder of my professional life.
Photos courtesy of Tim Martinez.
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