By Madison Minnick
From the moment I walked onto campus at UIUC, it was my goal to be admitted into the Hoeft Technology and Management Program. While searching for colleges, I had been looking for a business-orientated minor to supplement my Computer Science major in a way that intertwined both business and engineering. I came across the T&M program, and it was one of the very few programs like it offered at universities in the country. Deciding where to attend college was a tough decision, but the prospect of being in the T&M program definitely influenced my decision to come across the country from Colorado to Illinois.
After starting school at UIUC, it just so happened that my ELA for my ENG 100 class, Dana, was a member of T&M. I sat down with her the first week of freshman year and asked her about the program and what steps I should take to grow professionally and to get valuable experiences under my belt. Along with other advice, she introduced me to Engineering Council, where I remained involved for the next four years. She now works as a Software Engineer at a startup in San Francisco and we’ve stayed in close contact over the years. Her passion, drive, and hardworking personality inspired me to work towards becoming a part of the program.
In a year and a half, I pushed myself to grow personally and professionally. I challenged myself to take on leadership positions and get involved in the business world. I joined Illinois Business Consulting to eventually become a Project Manager, followed Dana’s footsteps to become Co-Director for the Engineering Employment EXPO, and landed an internship at Apple as a Data Analytics intern. These experiences made me even more excited to apply for this prestigious minor and attain more knowledge of the business world.
I’ll never forget the moment that I received the T&M acceptance email. I was running on the treadmill at the ARC and immediately jumped off when I noticed the email notification with the subject “The Hoeft Technology & Management Program – Invitation to Join Program”. I was filled with pure excitement and pride, being one of the elite students selected for admittance.
The next two years were filled with growth, learning, and of course, fun. I learned about how assembly lines function to build giant machinery at John Deere. I got to climb the Great Wall of China with my friends and run across the Golden Gate Bridge in the pouring rain with my teammates from the International Business Plan Competition. I met with several T&M alumni at Microsoft while I was interning there. I received advice that helped me make important decisions from my mentor, who’s an Associate Product Manager at Google. I enhanced my creative thinking skills through projects like designing safe, easy-to-use kitchen appliances for elderly individuals. The T&M program brought a social buzz and sense of community within my daily curriculum.
As college winds to a close and I prepare to move to Seattle to start my job as a Software Engineer for Microsoft, I look back at how much the young freshman from Colorado has grown, learned and gained in her four years at UIUC and from the T&M program. I leave with a network of professionals, ready to answer questions or offer advice. I leave with a class of talented and intelligent peers, whom I will cheer on as they embark on their incredible journeys and careers. I leave with having met some of my best friends in college. I leave with a wealth of experience and toolbox of knowledge that I will utilize every step of my career. I leave with the pride of being a Hoeft Technology and Management Program alumni.
Madison is currently in T&M Class XXIV, a senior in Computer Science and has accepted a full-time position as a software engineer at Microsoft