Engineering Professional Development for Graduate Students

Mr. Charles GiordanoMarquette University’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (EECE) provides graduate students with well-rounded and global view of the technical and leadership skills necessary to excel in the professional environment. Mr. Charles Giordano, a former Chief Technology Officer for GE Healthcare (retired), is holding professional development sessions as part of the EECE Graduate Colloquium series in his capacity as an Adjunct EECE Professor. The EECE 6952 Graduate Colloquium is a zero-credit mandatory course for full time graduate students in the EECE graduate curriculum that is offered every semester. Students will gain technical knowledge provided by world-renowned guest lecturers and additionally dive into critical business, personal development, and leadership topics to augment their technical skills. The EECE Graduate Colloquium has taken Marquette’s training of the graduate students to the next level. 

Mr. Giordano is very passionate regarding the criticality of these topics for our students. As he stated: “While knowledge and intelligence are certainly necessary for success in the workplace they are absolutely not sufficient for an employee to advance and succeed. From my experience, it has been very clear that developing into a well-rounded employee is absolutely critical to the advancement of employees in their professional careers. These factors include: a commitment to unwavering character and integrity, strong business acumen, effective verbal and written communication skills to all audiences, as well as a complete focus on team (vs. individual) success. It is very important that our students understand and embrace this.”

Topics covered in the EECE Graduate Colloquium include:

  • Critical leadership/soft skills – how to differentiate and excel
  • Managing projects & teamwork – pitfalls and realities
  • Key factors and personal preparation needed to get hired (“in the door”)
  • Impactful communication tailored to your audience - engaging managers/leaders and non-technical teammates
  • Corporate organization structures & dynamics – critical implications for an employee
  • Managing your career and life (work-life balance)
  • How employees are really evaluated in the business world

Next semester, (Spring 2022), Charles will also bring in guest speakers from the industry to emphasize the criticality of softer skillsets, and to provide real-life examples of how to integrate technical skills with leadership skills and business acumen. Having had successful technical and leadership roles in the industry for over three decades, Charles Giordano is a highly qualified trainer of these types of skills. Students who have had a first-year experience with the colloquium have given Charles a high approval rating in the areas of field knowledge, ability to engage students, and a high degree of instructiveness during the sessions.

Testimonials from students regarding the success of this program:

  • “Real world examples help clear up the “whys” I have in class. He does a great job at always bringing it back to why the topics are important.”
  • “The instructor discusses topics with examples which increased his teaching effectiveness.”
  • “I have been able to learn many new things about industry and corporate structure. I believe that will help me later in my professional life.”
  •  “This is a timely approach by the department and instructor to bring these critical topics to the attention of the students.”
  •  Instructor demonstrates a wealth of experience in professional situations. He provides good examples and professional scenarios to drive home his points. Very effective.”
  • “This instructor has huge experience working in a well-established company and he shares all of his experiences, thoughts, and insights about professionalism and corporate cultures which will be really helpful for fresh graduates who want to pursue their professional careers very soon!”
  •  “Recommended. Every engineer-in-training needs these professional tips to excel in the workplace today.”

Students are getting a type of training that will help them be far more competitive as they start their careers in industry, research and development, and academia. The re-invented EECE Graduate Colloquium format will be used again going forward, with even greater plans for speakers and content. Marquette is one of the few graduate programs that offers such training.