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Message from the Director, February 2009

As the economy continues its downward slump, it has become increasingly less clear what one’s strategy should be for long-term investment, particularly in terms of financing a graduate degree. No one knows absolutely what will happen next. However, if you are confident in yourself and in the long-term prospects for the U.S. economy, this may be the right time to make an investment in your own capabilities. Penn’s Executive Master’s in Technology Management program has a 20-year track record in helping to develop its students to assume positions of greater scope and complexity, to garner success from appropriately deploying technology in support of business strategy and to blend professional management practices with entrepreneurial drive and leadership.

You may wonder why anyone would begin an executive master’s degree at this time. Firms are trying to position themselves to be ready for the recovery by limiting layoffs and identifying other novel ways to keep their employees. Although past corporate practices in sponsoring graduate degrees may be curtailed, this may be exactly the time to propose an innovative arrangement with your firm to share the investment in your graduate degree. Perhaps this means a reduced corporate contribution or an arrangement where you would be paid back a certain percent of your advanced degree investment for every year of continued employment with your organization, even if it means waiting for a few years to collect your firm’s contribution.

It would be difficult to estimate the essential role that technology commercialization will play in the economic recovery, but it will clearly be substantial in a wide array of sectors, from energy to the environment; automotive to aerospace; computers to consumer goods, biotech to telecoms. All sectors will need professionals who can harness the appropriate technology, while managing the associated costs and risks. This is an excellent time to prepare for the next wave of innovation and growth in the U.S. and global economy.

Your company can also benefit directly from your participation in the program. EMTM students have the opportunity to take independent studies with University faculty and to tackle approved “Corporate Application Projects.” Companies can substitute investment in other external resources and consulting projects with applied projects undertaken by their own employees who are already up to speed on the issues and the competitive environment in which the firm operates. EMTM students are able to apply what they are learning in the classroom back at the office in real time. See the related article in this issue of InSITE.

Many prospective students do not plan on receiving or requesting corporate sponsorship; therefore, their companies’ ability or willingness to contribute is not a factor. In the recent past, 1/3 of EMTM students have been fully funded by their organizations, 1/3 have been partially funded and a full 1/3 have paid for the degree on their own. To learn more about some of the EMTM students who have invested in their own degrees, see the related story in this issue of InSITE.

Every situation is unique, and anyone considering a personal investment of this nature — in time, energy and financial resources — needs to evaluate his or her own ability to make such a commitment. However, if you believe that your future is at the dynamic intersection of technology and management and you are ready to engage in a multidisciplinary program which has the power to transform you — professionally and personally — I encourage you to consider Penn’s EMTM program.

Most sincerely,

Dwight L. Jaggard
Professor of Electrical & Systems Engineering
Director, EMTM Program


Dwight L. Jaggard

“All sectors will need professionals who can harness the appropriate technology, while managing the associated costs and risks. This is an excellent time to prepare for the next wave of innovation and growth in the U.S. and global economy.”

Dwight L. Jaggard
Professor of Electrical & Systems Engineering
Director, EMTM Program
Univeristy of Pennsylvania

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