Paul McGuire '12

Paul McGuire graduated from IEM in 2012 and is currently Manager of IT Training at UAB and a Credential Course Instructor with IEM. Paul answered a few questions about why he chose the Master's of Engineering in Information Engineering Management IEM and the impact IEM has had on his career.

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

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.

Was there a class you took during IEM that stood out to you or made a difference in your personal or professional life? Can you tell us more about it?

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. Strategy and Game Theory gave me some insight into the psychology of decision-making and a heightened awareness of the interplay between parties. All of classes in the IEM curriculum added some degree of value to my professional journey.

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

Absolutely. Although I attended the program in the last year that it was 100% in-class, I worked out an arrangement with my employer to use IEM as my training program so that I could attend without having to use personal vacation days. Although Saturdays were involved, 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?

This may sound counter-intuitive, but I need to give them reasons to consider whether this is the next best move for them. If they have clarity about their future and a defined set of tasks and milestones to help them get there, that's great but IEM may not be the best place for them. 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.

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

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 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.