A conversation with McMullen Fellow, Jasheah Howard

Jasheah Howard in front of sign
  • Hometown: Brooklyn and Queens, NY.
  • Engineering Management

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I originally decided to study Broadcasting & Mass Communications at SUNY Oswego. However, after studying abroad and being exposed to engineers working on remarkable projects in Beijing, I decided to change my major to Chemical Engineering after returning to the states. Unfortunately, SUNY Oswego did not have the chemical engineering major, so I transferred to the University at Buffalo, which is eventually where I earned my Bachelors. I enjoy reading because I love learning new things, traveling the world, learning new languages, and hanging out with friends. 

What is your current position? I am currently a Technical Program Manager at Tesla. 

What brought you to that line of work? I knew that I would be able to apply the strategic & operational decision making skills as well as the people, project, and organizational management skills taught in the Engineering Management program to a TPM role. In addition, I knew that a TPM role at a manufacturing plant would be a great starting point in management as I would learn to effectively communicate across different cross functional teams and constructively collect and present data obtained using PM tools. 

Why did you decide you wanted to get a M.Eng. in Engineering Management? I knew that I wanted to work in a managerial role at either a tech company or a bank, at least 5 years into my career. The M.Eng. in Engineering Management curriculum covered a variety of courses and appeared to provide many skills that I thought would be applicable to either industry, including Finance and Economics, data analytics, project management, and risk analysis. Each of these courses undoubtedly help me in my current role and I am certain will positively impact me and my success in future roles.

Why did you choose the Cornell Engineering Management program? To begin, I chose Cornell because of the support that I received from Timothy Isles and Lisa Gerber prior to my acceptance into the program. I had many questions about the application process and the program itself and they both made sure to always answer my questions with all of the information that I had hoped for and more. In addition, Cornell's Engineering Management program is one of the top programs in the country and I wanted to be a part of it because I knew that there was no way that I would come out of the program the same way I went in. 

Jasheah Howard in front of city skyline with tourists taking photosCan you talk about any opportunities that you have found at Cornell? Opportunities that I have found at Cornell include access to talented students, professors and faculty, career fairs where companies come to fill open spots specifically with Cornelians, fellowships, and clubs/organizations.

What has been a positive highlight from the program so far? A positive highlight from the program was definitely working in groups with brilliant students. The online learning program at Cornell requires all prospective students to have at least 2 years of work experience. This means that the cohort coming into the program would have so much to offer and so much to learn with their presumably diverse backgrounds and significant industry experience. Both the coursework and cohort have pushed me in a way that went far beyond my expectations. To be quite honest, I had a reality check when I worked on my first group project during our summer intensive, and I am so glad that I had that humbling experience. This experience offered me more exposure to different ways of thinking and stimulating group dynamics. It also made me aware that it will be very hard to come across this type of learning and exposure once I am done. 

Can you give an example of something you learned in class that you then applied to your job? One thing that I learned in class and then applied to my current role as a TPM is predictive analytics, which is the use of big data to build predictive-decision models that optimize a decision making process. 

What do you hope to gain from this program? I hope to become a better leader, build a great network with fellow Cornelians and faculty & staff and gain insightful exposure to management skills and strategic decision making tools.

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