As part of our Countdown to Commencement series, we spent some time with a few soon-to-be graduates from our undergraduate and MBA programs to learn about their backgrounds, why they chose Scheller College, and what they plan to do with their degrees after Spring 2018 Commencement.
Meet Chris Bergman. Chris is from Storrs, Connecticut, and earned his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He describes himself as an “experienced leader who thrives in dynamic environments” who takes pride in facilitating successful teams. Prior to attending Scheller College, Chris worked for Pratt & Whitney’s Systems Engineering and Validation department where he held a variety of roles, including Test Engineer for the F-35 program, Measurement Systems Engineer, and Process Engineer. After graduation, Chris will join Deloitte's Strategy and Operations practice as a Senior Consultant in the Aerospace and Defense practice.
Through the Graduate Business Council, I have worked to improve the quality of leadership experiences at Scheller College.
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?
I am most proud of being awarded the “Most Valuable Student Leader” award at the Rice University Student Government Leadership Summit (SGLS), an annual conference where student leadership from the fifty top-ranked MBA programs in the United States gather and discuss MBA community topics. While there, I had the opportunity to speak about increasing and improving the quality of MBA leadership experiences with my colleague Jacquelyn Renee Schneider, President of the Scheller College Evening MBA program. I have worked to improve the quality of leadership experiences at Scheller College by restructuring the requirements for professional clubs to include networking opportunities, interview preparation events, industry speakers, cross-functional events, and financial incentives to clubs for hosting events.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?
I led an engineering team to prove and introduce a new assembly technology to decrease assembly times across the aerospace engineering industry. From problem identification to process validation and budget approval, I was responsible for aligning a cross-functional group of senior engineers with competing interests toward a new technology and proving its business case. Ultimately, I presented the technology and implementation plan to the Engineering Executive Team and gained approval and project funding. This technology is now used by Pratt & Whitney America, Canada, contractors, and overhaul/repair partners, resulting in significant impact across the aerospace industry, and decreasing the time and cost required to assemble jet engines.
Who was your favorite MBA professor?
Professor Giuliano, strategy concentration lead, leverages his academic background and professional business experience to teach students about corporate strategy and entrepreneurship. Using case discussion, he encourages students to bring their professional experiences into the classroom to supplement the core coursework and recognize the importance of diverse perspectives.
What was your favorite MBA course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it?
My favorite MBA course was TI:GER (Technology Innovation: Generating Economic Results). This program introduces students to entrepreneurship by teaming Georgia Tech MBA students with PhD students and Emory Law students to evaluate the business potential and market need for the PhD’s research. My team’s project concentrated on improving interdependencies between public utilities in infrastructure emergency situations. We interviewed industry experts to help build out a business plan and commercialization strategy. I gained tremendous value from commercializing and developing business plans for a startup.
Why did you choose the Scheller College of Business?
Scheller College’s MBA program, under Dean Alavi, focuses on the intersection of business and technology. When I attended admitted students weekend, I knew Scheller College was the right program for me—the culture of inclusion and collaboration that I felt from students, faculty, and staff was unparalleled. During my two-day visit, I met current MBA students who offered to help and mentor me through my MBA decision and continued to mentor me once I entered the program. In fact, these students remain some of my closest friends today. I also had the opportunity to meet the Career Services team, who seemed eager to help me achieve my career aspirations.
What is your best piece of advice to an applicant hoping to attend Scheller College’s MBA program?
My biggest piece of advice is be comfortable and confident with who you are both professionally and personally. Make sure your true character shines through during the interviews. At Scheller College, we pride ourselves in our close community because our philosophy is that learning occurs both in the classroom and from classmate collaboration. We want to ensure that every student feels comfortable within the program, thus adding the most value to the greater Scheller community.
What is the biggest myth about Scheller College?
The biggest myth about Scheller College is that it is a program for students with an engineering or technical background. While Scheller College is at the intersection of business and technology, we emphasize the impact that technology can have on business, and we pride ourselves on having a curriculum and faculty that can teach business and technology to our students, regardless of their professional background. The program ensures that students with technical and non-technical backgrounds work together ultimately preparing for tomorrow’s digitally-driven world while bringing value to the overall community.
“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…”
Working for Pratt & Whitney as a military program test engineer and pursuing a part-time Masters in Data Analytics.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you?
A friend who challenged and inspired my classmates to be the best version of themselves they could be.