Alumni Spotlight: Clayton Simons

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My IEM Experience By Clayton Simons (Class of 2014)

Well, where to start. When I first applied to IEM I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting myself into.  Initially I was thinking IEM would be something like an MBA for engineers, but was pleasantly surprised (almost shocked) to find that IEM was much more practical and real-world applicable then any MBA program ever could be.  Everything I learned in my IEM courses I wanted to write down and save for future use.

As I went through the IEM courses I began to change my way of thinking. I learned what was important to my employer (my customer), and how to stand out in the crowd of cubicles. I learned how to add value to my customer, show my value, and always be in a business for myself. I learned how to speak professionally, and what you shouldn’t do when speaking publicly. IEM has taught me how to lead from any area in a company. Gaining further understanding of business practices and life-cycles, management in all aspects, and strategic business thinking.

IEM has been absolutely perfect for me.  When I first started IEM I was looking for an entry level engineering position anywhere that would take me. My professors in IEM pushed me to go after this goal, and shortly after the first semester I found an awesome Systems Engineering job working for Northrop Grumman in my home town in Huntsville.  I worked hard my first year to add value in any way possible, and received a number of monetary awards and a high rating internally. My manager was my number one customer, so I simply did everything I could to make his job easier.

I loved my job. I was being recognized for my hard work, and I was still being pushed to learn and grow. However, the life of contracts can be very up and down. In late January of 2014 our contract was told it would be hit with a 40% cut in employees due to troops being taken out of Afghanistan. After hearing this news I almost surprised myself with how quickly I acted and got on the job hunt. IEM had prepared me for any situation. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be let go, but I wasn’t about to wait and find out.

I started by applying for positions within my company, and had an interview right off the bat in the middle of February. The following week I was called for two more interviews. After interviewing well with 3 different Northrop Grumman programs I was given the option to choose which of the 3 positions I wanted the most. Not only that, but whatever position I chose would give me the 10% bump to a level 2 engineer from entry level 1.  

Now, after getting over a $75k salary increase in just two years, I know I couldn’t be where I am today without IEM! I am so happy that I made the decision to attend IEM. It has truly changed my life.
Thank you IEM!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                     (shown above) Clayton is pictured with his wife, Mandy.