Online Student Spotlight - Damir Alic
M.S. '17 Enterprise Project Management
“The Enterprise Project Management program does not just lead to another degree, it teaches you the real-life experience of what is needed in order to be an effective project manager.”
Damir Alic’s career has really been taking off lately.
Alic, now a construction manager with Boeing, joined the aircraft manufacturer in 2012 as a project analyst, and has been on the fast track ever since. But while his analytical and construction management skills mean he’s well respected in his role, Alic wants to transition into a leadership position.
That’s what brought him to the master’s program in Enterprise Project Management at the School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology.
“My goal is to transition into a management role — not only within my department, but elsewhere within the company,” Alic said. “It also enables me to apply for other management roles at different companies, and puts me ahead of people who might not have as much experience or education.”
Graduate business programs at Stevens have a long history of preparing technically oriented professionals to ascend into management roles. That’s because at the School of Business, students are shown new and creative ways to leverage their academic and industry experiences to create value across the enterprise. Students also enjoy access to the latest analytical tools and learn from faculty whose research is changing how companies harness innovation and solve problems in increasingly digital business environments.
An 'amazing' online experience
Alic, who works in Boeing’s Everett, Wash., offices, started taking classes through StevensOnline after hearing about the university through a colleague, who was about to complete his degree.
“He mentioned how the online programs at Stevens offer a really good work, life and school balance,” Alic said. “He had nothing but good things to say — and he was receiving a promotion after graduation.”
Taking classes online can be a challenge, but Alic calls StevensOnline “amazing” for its ability to directly connect him to faculty and other students and offer all the information he needs on demand. And as a resident of Washington State with a young family, the ability to earn his degree without ever visiting the classroom was important to him.
“What I found most helpful was the mobile app that connects right to StevensOnline, so you can access your classes right on your phone,” from grades to class materials and videos that explain particular concepts, he said. “When grades are posted or projects are due, the app lets you know and keeps you in the loop.”
And taking classes online hasn’t hampered his ability to make meaningful connections to faculty. Alic enjoyed taking Human Side of Project Management with his academic advisor, Dr. Zvi Aronson, who “made my online experience an easy transition, and was always available on the phone to discuss problems. The amazing thing about online classes is how flexible the professors are and how they understand when things come up.”
A major benefit to classes taken through StevensOnline is the perspective students bring to class from their careers. Alic’s work experience was a major asset to his peers in class, Dr. Aronson said.
“Damir brought his experiences from Boeing into our class,” Dr. Aronson said. “When you have someone working on multibillion-dollar projects taking the class, you can see it elevate classroom discussions in areas like leader communication.”
During the course, Dr. Aronson said, it was easy to see an improvement in Alic’s skills in areas like time management and conflict resolution, key talents for any professional interested in mastering project management.
Since he’s now in a construction management role, Alic is able to directly apply what he’s learning in class to his daily responsibilities in successfully leading employees, projects and construction at Boeing. He’ll complete his Enterprise Project Management degree in December; combined with his work experience and bachelor’s degree in construction, he hopes to soon take the next step for his career.
“My classes have helped me to see problems from a different perspective,” he said, such as his Strategic Management class, where he is learning to build and implement a strategic plan to achieve particular goals: “I’m enjoying learning about all the tools needed to be successful, and understanding why some plans fail and how to avoid those pitfalls.”