"In order to make good decisions about investments I needed to learn how to speak the language of finance and operations analysis. The program gave me an opportunity to build networks of knowledge, and it gave me the confidence to go forward as a leader."
Tina Schechter, EMTM'98
Vice President, Mission Success & Information Technology
Lockheed Martin, Maritime Systems & Sensors
Tina Schechter, EMTM’98
Tina began her career with a degree in computer science from Drexel University and a position at RCA in software engineering, modeling and simulation. After a series of mergers and consolidations, her employer became Lockheed Martin and Tina continued to climb through company ranks. As a first-line manager in the mid-1990s, she was encouraged to seek additional education to prepare for more strategic responsibilities. “At that point I had been at the company for 16 years and I was looking to move into an executive role. I really had minimal knowledge of how other companies operated, so I wanted to expand my perspective and knowledge base and learn to think from a business mindset.”
Tina’s manager specifically recommended EMTM, because he recognized that the program could build on her technical background while arming her with the business insight to make informed technology decisions. “I was certainly not interested in a career change to, say, finance, and it was very intriguing to me that the program could cover and integrate both of the areas I was interested in.” She was drawn to the reputations of Penn and Wharton for academic excellence and the campus was a reasonable commute from her home. She was also won over by the opportunity to interact with leaders from other companies and industries, which would give her the expanded perspective she was looking for. With the encouragement of her manager and the sponsorship of the company, Tina enrolled in EMTM.
EMTM’s high quality faculty brought the lessons of the classroom to life for Tina, illuminating readings and case studies with real-world experience. “It’s not just about learning this or that skill; it’s about learning what’s happening in the world right now and how to connect these two disciplines of technology and management.”
Marketing and leadership classes helped Tina learn to effectively communicate and “sell” her ideas. “In the team-based work in our classes, we had the chance to establish ourselves as leaders among leaders, and there was a strong exchange among students. Leadership is what we stand for at Lockheed Martin and this work was invaluable for me in developing my own leadership style, particularly around the concepts of diversity and inclusion.” While at EMTM, she served as the president of the student organization, another leadership opportunity that broadened her experience.
Since completing the program, Tina has hired fellow graduates from EMTM and she has also helped her former classmates in the job market to connect with career opportunities. “In the end, it’s certainly about what you take away from the program; but I’ve also seen how EMTM’s leadership curriculum helps people go out into the world and take on more responsibilities, and take the initiative to make things happen.”
Since the program, Tina has been promoted several times, first to director and most recently to vice president. In her current role, Tina makes decisions about the company’s investments in new and emerging information technologies and business and process improvements. Her decision to enroll in EMTM has served her well. “Then, as now, technology was moving quickly, and in order to make good decisions about investments I needed to learn how to speak the language of finance and operations analysis. The program gave me an opportunity to build networks of knowledge, and it gave me the confidence to go forward as a leader.”