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Starting a study at MIT next to working at several clients

Ignacio Vazquez Rodarte, Consultant at TMC Data Science, must be one of TMC’s most occupied Employeneurs. Next to his projects at several clients, hybrid teaching at the local university and being part of the Expat Community, Ignacio is now also starting as a MSc Fellow in System Design and Management at one of the world’s most precious universities, MIT. Let’s dive into his story.

How did you end up working at TMC?

I am from Mexico and I finished my bachelor’s degree there. Then I moved to the Netherlands for my master Automotive Technology at the TU/e. When I finished my masters, I soon started working at TMC Mechanical with a first project at DAF. I have been working at TMC for about four and half years now and currently I am working in the Data Science business cell.

At a client where I was working, there was a need for someone who specialized in data science. Their challenge was that most people in the data science field did not have the knowledge of the complex machines they work with. Since I was already doing some statistical work which I enjoyed, I decided that it would be the job for me. At the same time, TMC was starting the data science business cell, so I made the switch. I remember talking about making that switch with my customer. They were very happy that TMC “just happened” to start cultivating the competences they needed. The transition to the data science cell was very transparent. When we started, about half of the people in the group were coming as transfers from other cells. It has remained very diverse over time, which is something I enjoy a lot.

What made you decide to apply for a study at MIT?

At my projects, I collaborate with a lot of different departments. Sometimes we have to combine technology with other business aspects such as legal issues and marketing. These skills and this way of thinking is something they don’t teach you at university. Most companies offer a lot of training options, but they are usually focused on hard skills and related to your specialization. When I came across the study program at MIT, I immediately thought, “This is exactly what I’m looking for, but I didn’t even know it existed.”

One of the things I appreciate most about TMC, is the fact that you get a lot of freedom and support in what you want to achieve.

My business manager immediately supported me when I told him about my ambition. He helped me wherever he could. And it worked out because I got accepted and just started the program. Don’t misunderstand me, it was not a straightforward path. But we were figuring things out together and that gave a lot of confidence on the process. TMC’s Leadership Development Program was a bit of a game changer for me in this point. It helped me to focus on the things that were important to me, and how they linked to who I am as a professional and more importantly as an individual. Now I’m starting the Gordon Engineering Leadership Program at the university, which promises to be another blindfolded flaming toboggan ride. Those are the best.

What do you hope to achieve with this study?

In my role at several clients I am the bridge builder between several departments. They all have their own responsibilities and live in their ‘own worlds’. With courses such as Technology Roadmapping, Leading Creative Teams and Decision Making in Uncertainty, I want to get more knowledge and experience that helps me in this type of work. Brainport is known around the world as a technological hub. Recently there have even been initiatives to establish closer connections with MIT and other institutions to foster Systems Engineering and Systems Thinking expertise. There is a lot in common with the engineering culture in Eindhoven and what I have experienced with my fellow students.

The study is great for my network as well. I even have two colonels from the army in my class, how cool is that?!

Another nice thing about this program, is that I really expand my network. People from all over the world are following this study, but also people with different professional backgrounds. I even have two colonels from the army in my class, how cool is that?!

MIT University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. It is one of the most prestigious universities in the world and has about 10.000 students. The university offers studies in the fields of modern science, engineering, mathematics, and technology, and it is famous for its innovation and academic strength. 

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