Empowering Inclusion in Engineering
Katie Eichelberger is guided by a belief in lifelong learning. After earning a degree in industrial engineering, Katie landed a role with CH2M/Jacobs, where she leveraged her technical skills to design and optimize industrial technology facilities. She gained experience in cross-functional teams and found herself increasingly curious about how the business was run. After taking on a new role at Lam Research — a perfect fit for a continual learner — Katie took advantage of the company’s tuition reimbursement program to pursue The Portland MBA at Portland State University.
“After looking at a variety of programs in the Pacific Northwest and online, I knew The Portland MBA was the right fit,” Katie says. “I wanted the in-class cohort experience that Portland State offers.”
Becoming a well-rounded professional
Katie had already found success as an industrial engineer, thanks in large part to her technical abilities; The Portland MBA prepared her for more senior roles by enabling her to develop the managerial skills needed to lead teams and evaluate business impact. It helped her develop her confidence and strategic thinking abilities while gaining an understanding of the value chain of a business, from finance to business development and economics.
As her skillset grew, including her ability to build and lead strong teams, Katie found herself quickly moving up the ladder at Lam Research. During her MBA program, she was promoted to industrial engineering manager and was later promoted again, to a senior management role, after graduating.
“When you show that you’re eager to learn and pursue new opportunities, more opportunities come your way,” Katie says.
The value of inclusion
As a woman in the world of engineering, Katie is in the minority, and her time in The Portland MBA program strengthened her resolve to use her platform as a leader to create a more diverse, inclusive workplace.
“Taking courses in accounting, finance, strategy and leadership made me realize that each organization within a corporation has the ability to make a huge impact,” she says. “There is value in incorporating and learning from people with varied backgrounds, and my MBA experience at PSU taught me to appreciate that.”
Katie continues to rely on connections she made at PSU for guidance; she has a strong, diverse personal network that serves as a “deep-rooted advisory board” for advice and references. At Lam Research, the connections are even stronger, as a few of Katie’s colleagues also have connections to The Portland MBA. She says the interpersonal skills each of them gained from the program have strengthened their professional relationships across the board.
“It’s about embracing differences and making the culture, as well as our deliverables, better every time,” she says.