“The program gave me a framework for viewing how the business works, and it helped me make smarter decisions with the understanding of where I fit into the food chain.”


Kent Halac, PE, MS, EMTM’02
Senior Engineer
General Electric-Hitachi, Nuclear Energy
Wilmington, NC

Kent Halac, PE, MS, EMTM’02

With a master’s degree in nuclear engineering, Kent was well prepared for a career in nuclear reactor design and analysis. When he transitioned from a job at Westinghouse Electric to a job at a public utility, he decided that going back to school for a business-related degree would round out his engineering background with complementary skills and better his chances of high-level management roles in the commercial nuclear power industry. “As a principle engineer with a highly-specialized skill set, I had always been valued; but in order to advance beyond that role, I would need some additional training. I knew that a graduate management program would be a solid long-term investment in my career.”

Why EMTM?

Kent planned on enrolling in either an MBA or technology management program and looked at several schools on the East Coast. His new employer was impressed with his drive and agreed to fully sponsor him. He looked at Penn’s programs and quickly zeroed in on EMTM. “I liked that it was a program built on giving engineers like me business acumen, and vice versa.” Kent opted to attend EMTM part-time so that he could get the most out of its rigorous course work, while maintaining a good work-life balance.

Career Impact

When his company was about to be acquired in 2004, Kent took a position at General Electric, where he now works with boiling water reactors. Courses such as R&D, Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Organizational Behavior and Design helped Kent weather this transition, orient himself to the bigger picture, and glimpse where the industry was headed. “The program gave me a framework for viewing how the business works, and it helped me make smarter decisions with the understanding of where I fit into the food chain.”

Kent found the student community at EMTM to be richly engaging and the relationships he made in the program have proven to be long lasting. “The student and alumni network is really strong, and I continue to stay in contact with people from a host of other industries.”

Now at a much larger global engineering firm with more cutting-edge technologies and more room to grow, Kent feels better prepared to take on bigger challenges and responsibilities when the opportunity arises. “An engineer by nature has a different way of thinking about things. The EMTM degree has given me an entirely new way of seeing, a sense of empowerment and the leadership skills on which to build my career. Of all the investments I’ve made in the past 10 years, EMTM has had the highest rate of return.”