Olivia Dietzel is passionate about engineering. She loves technical challenges and problem-solving. She’s also passionate about leadership. With the University of Wisconsin–Madison Master of Engineering: Engineering Management (MEM) program, she’s found the perfect way to pursue advancement in both of her passions simultaneously.
“I was looking for a way to tie these things together and prepare me for future leadership roles within engineering,” said Dietzel, a 2015 Notre Dame graduate with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. “Most engineering programs offer a combination of engineering and MBA courses, but I wanted to find a curriculum that would be directly applicable to managing people in a technical field. The MEM program was exactly what I needed.”
The MEM program provides an MBA-style education in the business of engineering. It’s geared toward engineers ready for leadership positions or leaders looking to strengthen their effectiveness. Working professionals can stay in their jobs while earning the degree online, along with a three-day session on the UW–Madison campus each summer.
The program offers engaging and applications-focused learning from senior faculty who have broad industry experience and strong academic credentials. Students learn to analyze corporate financial data, build leadership and communications skills, and synthesize information to make sound engineering and business decisions.
“UW–Madison’s curriculum is designed to provide courses with real-life applications and projects that allow you to directly apply the material to your current or future desired role,” Dietzel said.
With a demanding job, training year-round for triathlons, and several volunteer activities, Dietzel found it challenging to return to school. But she made it work with MEM’s accommodating program.
“Fitting in time for school was difficult at first,” she said. “But by the end of my first semester I learned how to better manage my time and strike a healthy balance between work, school, and my personal life.”
The program is delivered online, except for two three-day sessions on the UW–Madison campus, over a period of two or three years. The three-year timeframe offers a bonus for Dietzel: Her company reimburses her for a set amount each year, so she can get covered for the total cost of the program.
Dietzel also finds added value in MEM’s quality instruction and the cohort model of learning.
“I have been very impressed with our instructors,” she said. “They are knowledgeable and passionate about the field of engineering and dedicated to the success of their students in the classroom and in their careers.”
Dietzel admires her MEM classmates, too. In fact, they reunite a few times per year in Madison.
“The cohort is really a support system for me,” she said. “We encourage each other, learn from each other, and celebrate with each other. Being part of the UW alumni network is an excellent added benefit to the MEM program.”
Dietzel is currently an engine and cooling design engineer for Crawler Dozers at John Deere’s Construction & Forestry Division in Dubuque, Iowa. The MEM program is helping her become a more effective communicator and improve her project management skills.
“Through my courses, I have the opportunity to meet with individuals in upper management at my company and gain insight into how classroom concepts are put into practice by those in leadership roles at John Deere,” she said.
Dietzel’s goal is to be an engineering manager responsible for high-level business decisions.
“My MEM degree will provide me with skills and knowledge I need to be successful in my career,” she said.
Read more about the Master of Engineering: Engineering Management degree.