Chris Sudark, MA, EMTM’96

Chris started his career as a “rocket scientist,” but that was just the beginning. While working as a satellite systems engineer at Lockheed Martin he discovered EMTM and enrolled at age 24 — the youngest student to be accepted at the Technology Management program in its history. Even before he graduated, his expanded worldview led to a new job in business strategy consulting, which led to a job in global deployment of Citibank’s first human resources portal, and later to roles as senior director of strategy for a systems integrator and solutions developer at Dell. In his current position as solutions director at Siemens, he works with Fortune 500 customers to develop web 2.0 technologies for collaboration and communication in the face of growing legal and regulatory requirements. “I’ve always worked in strategy and circled back to the technology. The program showed me that if I stretched myself I could always do more.”

As a young engineer, applying to graduate school wasn’t even on Chris’ radar. “When I finished my undergraduate degree I swore I would never set foot on a campus again, but my mentor at Lockheed Martin was interested in getting an MBA, which got me thinking about it, too. I saw something in the paper about Penn’s EMTM and I knew it was different from other programs.” Chris liked the idea of staying close to his technology interests while sharpening his management skills, as well as the fact that matriculating at EMTM would not require taking two years off work. Chris and his colleague enrolled at the same time — a decision that proved fruitful for both. “We had class discussions about technology adoption and how to mathematically forecast the growth of the market for digital satellite TV, then we would go back to work and actually build those broadcast satellites. Our managers told us that the same forecasting innovations we used in our class projects were used by consultants who charged the company a quarter-million dollars in consultant fees for such analysis. That was our capstone project and, in the end, executive management felt it was a higher quality result than what they would have gotten from a consulting firm.”

Career Impact
From the outset, Chris found that his association with EMTM opened the door to new career opportunities, including a job offer during his second year in the program. “It’s a wonderful credential that gives you tremendous credibility.” The skills and strategies he learned in the classroom, meanwhile, continue to serve him well in the workplace. “I always found ways of taking what I was learning at school and applying it to my work. I still do: Particularly game theory, which is something I use every single day when I work with customers and negotiations.” Chris also enjoyed learning about the science of marketing and making effective marketing and business decisions.

Chris drew from the extensive experience and wisdom of his EMTM peers, who were working with most of the technologies described in the classroom — and he continues to stay in contact with many classmates today, both professionally and socially. “I also learned how to communicate much more effectively — writing, speaking and presenting ideas. These days I go in and give customer presentations thinking on my feet. I remember a class with Professor McCrary where we had to prepare to debate on a public policy topic from a certain point of view, but when the day came to debate, he asked us to take the opposite point of view, and gave us five minutes to prepare. That was a tremendous education because it encouraged empathy for both sides of an issue and it ultimately helped me build a better argument.”

Chris is now going to law school to better grapple with the legal and regulatory issues he deals with at Siemens. He is continuing to enjoy his leadership position while keeping his eye on entrepreneurial opportunities. “EMTM completely transformed my career. It was the best decision I ever made.”

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Chris Surdak

“It’s a wonderful credential that gives you tremendous credibility. I always found ways of taking what I was learning at school and applying it to my work.”

Chris Sudark, MA, EMTM’96
Solutions Director
Siemens USA
Rochester, NY

Student/Alumni Profiles
> Supriyo Ghosh
> Thomas Gieskes
> Lori Hamilton
> George Huhn
> Chris Surdak
> Ray Taylor

EMTM Profiles by Industry:
Different paths lead to EMTM. Students and alumni from diverse industries share why they chose EMTM and its impact on their work and careers.

> Aerospace/Defense/Intelligence
> Biopharm/Health
> Computers/IT/Telecom
> Consulting
> Energy/Environment
> Entrepreneurs
> Financial Services
> Government/Non-Profit
> Manufacturing/Consumer Goods
> Media/Entertainment
> Private Equity/Venture Capital
> Technology Commercialization


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