Eddie White, Eller MBA and MS Mechanical Engineering ’08
Systems Engineer II, Raytheon Missile Systems
“I always knew that I wanted to be an engineer, but growing up, I didn’t necessarily know what that meant,” he says. White, a Tucson native, earned his undergrad degrees at the UA in mechanical and aerospace engineering.
“Coming out of the undergraduate program, I had a sense that I was missing something, that there was something I wasn’t grasping about the role of engineering in the big picture,” he says. “I was looking for more technical expertise, but I also wanted to build my skills on the business side.”
A friend in the dual-degree program encouraged White to apply. “I saw it as a unique opportunity to get advanced technical training alongside a business education,” he explains. While he was in the program, White was awarded a scholarship through the Thomas R. Brown Foundations. The Foundation encourages its award recipients to connect with each other and alumni at an annual luncheon.
“I went right into the MBA program from undergrad, so I didn’t have outside business experience,” White says. “This was a great opportunity for me to connect with people who already had a lot of professional experience in similar fields.”
While in the program, White completed an internship with Climax Applied Materials (now the Climax Technology Center, part of Climax Molybdenum, a Freeport McMoRan company) that challenged his skills in financial forecasting as well as his technical expertise. Then, in September 2008, he joined Raytheon Missile Systems in a product design role.
“I engage with customers directly and design solutions for their problems,” he says. “People in my area are almost exclusively technical; they haven’t necessarily thought about marketing, finance, or how to support a product over its lifecycle. Holding an MBA is a real differentiator in an engineering workforce.”
While he was in the program, White says he tried to do something more than just earn two degrees. “There are synergies between business and technology that aren’t always explicitly stated,” he says, “and as you get out in your career, you bring all of that knowledge to bear on a project.”
Although he’s satisfied with his role at Raytheon and feels good about the value he’s adding, White hasn’t ruled out shifting his career down the line, perhaps to academia.
“Whatever I do,” he says, “I know I have a set of tools that I can apply and a better way to think about problems.”