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MOT Student Driven to Improve Quality of Life by Leveraging Technology | Technological Leadership Institute

Posted on
February 27, 2017
Photo of MOT student Emily Palk

Many students that have gone through the M.S. in Management of Technology (MOT) curriculum at the Technological Leadership Institute have told us that, when exploring advanced degree options, they considered an MBA but weren’t convinced it was the right fit. It’s the distinctions for technology-based professionals that convinced students like Emily Palk, an MOT student in the 2017 cohort, to go beyond business education and combine critical business and technology skills toward innovation and leadership.

“I’ve always been interested in business and I like the complexity of the technology world,” said Palk, who earned a business and technology degree from Stevens Institute of Technology. “When I saw MOT, it felt like a better match with my undergraduate degree, and I was excited by the technology focus. A program that allows me to study business curriculum through a technology lens is much more relevant to my job.”

After working at Johnson & Johnson and Target, Palk is a now a senior program analyst at Medtronic’s Restorative Therapies Group, focusing on new product development. Palk says her employer’s mission statement to alleviate pain, restore health and extend life really resonates with her, and she sought graduate degree opportunities to broaden her knowledge and understanding of strategies she was helping execute.

“I got advice from a mentor who told me to not go to school simply because I felt like it was something I should do and to wait for something that excited me,” said Palk. “When I learned about the MOT program, I finally felt that excitement. I met with Professor Amin and connected with TLI alumni at Medtronic to learn what they had gotten out of the program. That’s when I decided to move forward.”

Palk says three major factors drew her over to an MOT from an MBA.

“The schedule would allow me to do it full-time while working,” said Palk. “I was also really drawn in by the international trip, which I found so beneficial. Finally, like my undergrad, I was excited by the technology focus, and being able to take traditional MBA classes like financial management with a technology focus in mind.”

Palk and her classmates recently returned from MOT’s signature international residency, which took second-year MOT students to China and Singapore in January. She describes it as an eye-opening experience to visit innovative technology-driven companies in vastly different parts of the world, and aims to apply what she’s learned in the classroom and abroad to her job.

“In the medical device industry, we have the potential to expand our reach across the whole world,” said Palk. “I didn’t have much experience with travel or business in Asia, and have learned that Asia has a lot of untapped potential and technology to offer this field.”

For the foreseeable future, Palk says she wants to stay in project management but she aspires to move into a role driving product portfolio strategy for Medtronic therapies. She is especially interested in brain therapies and minimally invasive therapies as they have enormous potential to help people in immense and safe ways.

“MOT is opening my eyes a lot to the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ behind decisions being made,” said Palk. “Right now I’m executing others’ visions, but I want to know the logic behind what they do so that I can contribute to driving the company’s strategy. With MOT’s focus on entrepreneurship in almost every course, I can apply that mentality, critical thinking and courage to take risks in my career.”

Even for now, she says MOT’s focus on leadership development has already had an impact on her life and career.

“Professor Froggatt’s leadership insight and Professor Fiutak’s conflict management classes have challenged me significantly,” said Palk. “And on the practical side, Professor Hansen’s lectures on new product development have been very applicable to my work and business operations.”

Just a few months from graduating, the MOT class of 2017 students are an intimate group—18 in total, split into small teams. Palk says she owes a lot of her success over the last two years to her study group and the entire cohort. Between the daily project collaboration and the mentorship from faculty who are industry leaders, Palk says she has learned more than she expected.

“Because so many of us come from different industries, it’s been very influential to hear about different ways to attack problems and take advantage of opportunities,” said Palk. “I’ve learned how important it is to surround yourself with diverse backgrounds and diverse ways of thinking.”

One of the insights she’s gained while in the MOT program?

Across many industries, companies are moving away from being primarily product companies to full service companies, striving to make things easier for the consumer. In an increasingly digital society with rapidly depreciating technology, the ability to be agile, take risks and respond quickly is crucial.”

To learn more about how the M.S. in Management of Technology degree program could benefit your career, join us for an upcoming information session.

About the Author

Photo of Azra Halilovic

Azra Halilovic

Senior Communications Specialist

I’ve always been interested in business and I like the complexity of the technology world. When I saw MOT, it felt like a better match with my undergraduate degree, and I was excited by the technology focus. A program that allows me to study business curriculum through a technology lens is much more relevant to my job.

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