Advance Your Career: Blog

Advance Your Career: Blog

Prestigious award for graduate of the Master of Engineering: Engineering Management program

Master of Engineering: Engineering Management

Matt Hilgendorf has made great strides since earning his degree from Master of Engineering: Engineering Management (MEM) program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Companies have tapped him to lead large teams and take on tough challenges in his field. In November, Hilgendorf received another professional boost: The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) presented him with the 2018 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award.

“This award is one of the most prestigious in the manufacturing industry,” he says. “Some of the winners before me are well recognized worldwide.”

Since 1980, the SME has recognized manufacturing engineers age 35 or younger who have made exceptional contributions to the industry. Wayne Pferdehirt, director of the Master of Engineering: Engineering Management program, who praises Matt’s technical excellence and capable leadership, wrote a letter in support of Matt’s nomination for the award.

In his letter, Pferdehirt said Hilgendorf is “consistently committed to making a difference by advancing the practice of manufacturing engineering, and exemplifying caring, committed leadership to his employers, customers, and team members.”

Hilgendorf is currently leading an operations transformation as a value stream manager at Atkore International, which manufactures and distributes electrical raceway products.

The engineer’s MBA alternative

The MEM program provides an MBA-style education in the business of engineering. It’s geared toward midcareer engineers ready for leadership positions or leaders looking to strengthen their effectiveness. Working professionals can stay in their jobs while earning the degree online, along with a 3-day session on the UW-Madison campus each summer.

Hilgendorf credits his rigorous MEM education for teaching him valuable skills and propelling him in his profession. The program offers engaging and applications-focused learning from senior faculty who have broad industry experience and strong academic credentials. Students learn to analyze corporate financial data, build leadership and communications skills, and synthesize information to make sound engineering and business decisions.

“I chose the MEM program after researching MBA program after MBA program, then discovering that MEM catered to professionals in my situation,” Hilgendorf says. “I was born and raised in Wisconsin, so I already knew the reputation of UW-Madison.”

UW-Madison’s online engineering programs are consistently ranked in the 10 top by U.S. News & World Report. They’ve graduated over 500 engineers into positions ranging from project manager to CEO. Nearly 70% of graduates say they obtained a promotion or salary increase before graduation.

“Since graduating in 2013, I’ve been very fortunate to be sought out for several leadership roles in different organizations,” Hilgendorf says.

And with his SME award, he adds another feather to his cap.

For more information on the Master of Engineering: Engineering Management program, see UW-Madison Engineering Management.