Diana Cano

“On the surface it seems like an unrelated field but I think having a Masters from EMTM helped me in the interview and application process, and certainly this work is building on my EMTM education in technology management.”


Diana Cano, EMTM’00
CIO
ETS Global
Princeton, NJ

Diana Cano, EMTM’00

Diana’s career has been guided by her passion for education. “I’m a continuous learner and I feel as though you really grow by continuing to study.” After she received her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University, she worked in factory automation and robotics at Honeywell for several years. While at Honeywell she saw a need for an advanced degree to stay competitive. “A Master’s degree was pretty much a mandatory requirement, and it was just logical for me to look for a technology management program at that time in my career.” After she graduated from EMTM she came to her current employer, Educational Testing Service (ETS), in 2001, on the recommendation of a fellow EMTM student.

Why EMTM?

Diana had investigated a traditional MBA program earlier in her career and found that “it just wasn’t for me.” Recognizing that she was too interested in technology to focus solely on business, she looked for a program that integrated the two disciplines. “I’ve always enjoyed working in a space where I can translate business requirements to tech people and vice versa — I’ve been doing that sort of work probably since my very first internship in college. I’ve found that if you get it right you can really provide a huge value to your employer.” Diana saw that UPenn EMTM was highly rated among technology management programs and she felt that its faculty was of an exceedingly high caliber. She also liked the weekend format of the program. Diana’s employer agreed to sponsor her, and she commuted from the D.C. area and during one work assignment from Phoenix to attend EMTM.

Career Impact

EMTM’s most direct impact on Diana’s career was the ETS job for which a classmate recruited her. “He just came to me and said, ‘I know your style from school and I think you’re a perfect fit for this job that’s just opened up.’”

She currently works on processes that deliver assessments to test takers, and she feels that her EMTM education in the areas of software development and database management helped her transition from factory automation to IT. “Those classes gave me the language I needed and helped me understand a broader use for software than what I’d seen in my previous experience.”

What sticks with Diana in the years since graduating EMTM is the intense classroom exchange. “Most people were, if not technologists, then working in high-tech fields and through that discussion you could see all of the applications of the methodologies we were being taught.”

Diana also enjoyed the fact that classes like Marketing were filtered through a technology perspective. “We were always talking about technology-based products and technology services so we didn’t have to sift through unrelated noise about colors and packaging of consumer products, as we might have in a general Marketing course. And that filter was really true of every class.”

A decade later, she still uses the operations concepts and decision tree analysis she learned at EMTM. “Frankly, these things have just become part of the way I problem solve.” She recently returned to campus to take a course in supply chain management, a topic that has direct bearing on her current work. “It was just as I remembered; everyone dove right in and the discussion continued at a high level. People brought their experience into the case study work and I learned something every time.”

Diana is currently pursuing a PhD in education at Rutgers where she’s studying how public schools can set up a sustainable technology infrastructure. “On the surface it seems like an unrelated field but I think having a Masters from EMTM helped me in the interview and application process, and certainly this work is building on my EMTM education in technology management.”

Though EMTM is technically a terminal degree, Diana sees it otherwise. “Those vibrant classroom discussions have set me up for my career and have proven to be an interesting route to higher education.”