Making the decision to jump back into higher education is a big decision — and we understand why.

Nov 2018 IEM Testimonials

We often hear from potential students considering applying for the Masters of Engineering with a concentration in Information Engineering Management (IEM) at UAB that are curious about finding the financial resources for another degree, how to start back to school after being in the professional world for so long, and even balancing all the commitments - personal, professional, and academic too.

These questions are valid, and frankly something we hope you are asking yourself before considering applying for any graduate program. Knowing the answer to these questions will help you feel balanced and prepared, ensuring your overall success and ability to excel throughout your degree program while helping you make the transition from engineer to manager.

Straight from the Source

We can talk all day about IEM - but we'd know you'd rather hear from the people that have been in your shoes before. We've asked a few of our alumni and a current IEM student to share their own thoughts about IEM - the high and lows, the balancing acts, even their hopes and dreams for their personal and professional lives upon completing IEM. 

Colandus Murray

IEM Graduation Year: 2018
Current Position: Information Technology Manager at the Personnel Board of Jefferson County (PBJC)

Greg Knight

IEM Graduation Year: 2010
Current Position: Global Program Manager for Johnson Controls

Paul McGuire

IEM Graduation Year: 2012
Current Position: Manager of IT Training at UAB and Credential Course Instructor with IEM

Mark Brunner

IEM Start Date: Summer 2018
Current Position: Project Manufacturing and Validation Engineer for Haemonetics Corporation


What made you choose the UAB Master of Engineering with an IEM concentration for your graduate education?

Murray: I chose the UAB IEM graduate program because of the variety of courses offered that could help me develop new skills to enhance my career and professional growth. The courses were centered around analytical, interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills.

Knight: I had been working in Information Technology for many years and was looking for a way to change my perspective on my career.

McGuire: At the time, I was an IT manager for a large health insurance firm. My motivation behind joining IEM was to be able to prepare for additional responsibilities in higher levels of the organization.

Brunner:  UAB's quality of education, staff commitment to excellence, national reputation & cost make IEM stand out from other programs. It also presents opportunities to advance my career, expand my employment opportunities, and increase my starting salary and salary negotiations. Also, my more emotional reason would be my daughter (who is an admitted math & science geek) seeing a Master’s in Engineering from UAB degree hanging on the wall with her father's name attached.

Was there a class you took during IEM that stood out or made a difference in your personal or professional life?

Knight: I really enjoyed all of the courses but Technical Project Management, the Information Engineering Summer course, and Strategic Management stood out from the others. I learned that management is more than chasing a deadline and I was encouraged to explore my own ideas to see if there was a career or business opportunity with them. 

McGuire: Several classes made a big difference. We had a class with exercises on presentations and communication that helped develop my speaking skills in a non-threatening manner. I also learned a lot about the Company of One concept, which helped me understand that I was in charge of my own little micro-business, regardless of my job or occupation.

Were you able to balance your personal commitments while also completing the IEM program? If so, how did you achieve this?

Knight: I was able to find balance with professional, academic, and personal commitments by being very deliberate with how I spent my time and also taking advantage of the IEM monthly meeting schedule.

McGuire: There was a degree of flexibility for me to be able to attend the things that were most important in my life. Outside of class, work was manageable and portable so that I could take it with me and do whatever was necessary to meet all deadlines.

If someone was debating starting the IEM program, what would you tell them to help them make their decision?

Murray: If you are looking to differentiate yourself in today’s competitive job market, IEM is the program to join. It will help you develop new skills, grow your network and potentially increase your earnings. 

McGuire: If they are considering IEM as a way to collect a higher-level degree to launch their career, I would encourage them to go get five years of work experience to help them see more clearly. The highest level of benefit from IEM comes to those who have been in the workforce and better understand some of their limitations and opportunities for improvement. Most importantly, if they need something to motivate them, provide them with quality connections and help define the clarity that they need, then by all means I would encourage them to consider IEM. The degree itself is not the ticket – the experiences gained and skills learned, applied properly, are the difference-makers.

Have you experienced any impact in your professional or personal outlook since completing the IEM program?

Knight: Within a few months of graduating from IEM I received a promotion to a management position within my company and I continue to move my career in the direction that works best for me and my family. The IEM courses and the networking with my classmates and others affiliated with IEM provided that much welcome point-of-view tweak I needed.

Brunner: I expect my IEM experience to help me develop a “higher-level” analytical approach in assessing and analyzing a situation, designing and even re-engineering a project. Not to mention the communication, testing, maintenance, and implementation aspect of any type of improvements found. These characteristics can only help me grow and advance.

McGuire: Absolutely. I’ve changed jobs three times since completing my degree and have moved into a professional development and facilitation role, leaving the safety and security of my behind-the-desk manager job. I’m no longer afraid to look outside and see things differently. I’ve worked on my own personal journey and positioned my finances and life activities to better suit my desires. I’ve lost 70 pounds since 2009 and have kept it off, improving my health profoundly. I’ve gotten the opportunity to get involved with the IEM program as an instructor and give back to the future students and clients. Would those things have happened without IEM? Hard to say, but I do know that by crossing paths with the staff and clients of IEM that my outlook was changed and my eyes opened to possibilities I had not considered before.

Be Your Own IEM Success Story

We hope hearing it straight from the source will help you learn more about our program, help you decide if IEM is for you, and even draw up the questions that we haven't answered yet. If you are preparing to move into a management position, we invite you to schedule a time to talk with us or our alumni about your career goals and ways to accomplish them. Use the form above or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to start the conversation.

About IEM

The Master of Engineering with a concentration in Information Engineering Management (IEM) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a specialized concentration designed primarily for engineers and people in technical positions. The concentration presents business systems and soft skills in a curriculum that is based on actual engineering industry needs and is offered completely online.