“I didn’t realize how much I’d learned from EMTM until I began interacting with everybody on the team I was leading.”
Liat Sverdlov, EMTM’07
Mergers and Acquisitions
Alcatel-Lucent, Bell Labs
Liat Sverdlov, EMTM’07
Aspiring to Impact… Preparing for Leadership
An Israeli native, Liat obtained a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and began her career at Kulicke & Soffa, a supplier of semiconductor assembly equipment, as an advanced software engineer. After enrolling in EMTM, she was promoted to lead a global 14-person team of software engineers, technologists and contractors. Liat always knew she wanted to work in technology, but she aspired to a bigger role in a company where she could impact an entire business: That's where EMTM came in. "I wanted to be more outfacing, working with people and looking at the bigger picture." After completing the program, Liat joined McKinsey & Company as an associate in the Business Technology Office, working with a variety of firms across industries to tackle specific strategic issues involving technology. In her current role as M&A advisory director at Alcatel-Lucent in Paris, France, Liat has advanced closer to her goal. She now reports to the CEO and explores opportunities for the company to develop partnerships, investments and acquisitions of other companies in Israel and Europe. "UPenn EMTM has prepared me for working closely with the senior executives in technology firms, delving into new technologies and tackling business problems."
To grow her career, Liat knew she needed more business expertise, but since she was just starting out, she wanted to continue working fulltime and garnering her own day-to-day experience. She also knew that she didn't want to leave her interest in technology behind, so she set out to find a degree that would apply directly to her work. "EMTM was a perfect match. While on the job I interacted with engineers, at EMTM I knew I would be exposed to people with different backgrounds and the experiences they could bring to the table," she says. "In class you're not just looking at McDonalds and Home Depot. You look at companies and case studies that are relevant to your work. For example, I found the IT Strategy course extremely relevant to my current work."
While still at Kulicke & Soffa, Liat was surprised to find out how much there was to learn about her own industry through EMTM's technology electives. "At the time, I was working in the back end of the semiconductor industry and my Microelectronics class really exposed me to the front end. It was helpful to see with a broader perspective how the industry has evolved."
At EMTM, Liat explored many technologies in detail for her class assignments, which gave her the confidence to dive into unfamiliar terrain and tackle new industry areas in the workplace. When it came time for her to move on to Alcatel-Lucent, she felt prepared for the challenge of working in telecommunications. "I know how to leverage my technology understanding to dive into new domains with speed and extract value."
EMTM's rigorous schedule and reliance on leadership and teamwork gave Liat the training to manage her growing responsibilities and handle large projects efficiently as her career evolved. "The way the program is structured forces you to work around the clock and learn how to solve problems quickly to get a fast resolution."
Liat has found that her EMTM degree translates well in Europe and has opened up opportunities. "Penn and Wharton are very well known and well perceived here. When I tell someone I have a degree from Penn, it's really helps start a conversation."
In her current role, Liat relies on a host of skills and strategies to analyze technology issues from a business standpoint. "My work now combines my passions for business and technology. I need to be able to think about issues globally and I am using finance, marketing, and management skills all the time on many levels and in many different combinations. Without my EMTM degree I could not succeed in this position."