From Ford to Microsoft: Developing your Early Career Pathway

Author: David Tang
Event Date: April 14, 2020
When I started my first job at Ford after graduating from the Master of Engineering Management program at Purdue, I actually had no idea what exactly it was that I wanted to do. Luckily, thanks to the variety of skills that I obtained through the MEM program, I was given the opportunity to explore many different roles within Ford ranging from Software Engineer to White Hat Hacker. It was not until my fourth role as a Technical Product Manager that I felt I had found something that really clicked.

Being a PM requires a balanced blend of technical and business knowledge, with responsibilities such as performing market assessments, translating business to technical requirements, and figuring out technical design and implementation. It's a role that I originally didn't know I wanted, but felt perfect for me once I found it due to the experience and education I received in Purdue’s MEM. My balanced profile allowed me to excel as a PM, which in turn led to my decision to leave Ford in order to transition to becoming a PM at Microsoft. I am excited to be pursuing a career in the tech industry, something in which I have always been interested.

One piece of advice I have for current MEM students is to do some research on potential jobs that you're interested in before signing up for classes. You can take advantage of the wide range of engineering courses that are available in the program by choosing the topics that offer the skills currently required or that will be relevant to the jobs you want in the future. Taking this approach will help tremendously in making you a strong candidate when interviewing for these roles.