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Google this: grad student finds success through USC’s online offerings

Michael Bachman pursued his master’s degree while tripling his Google engineering team to nearly 75 employees. (Photo/courtesy of USC Viterbi)

Innovate or die. That’s a mantra many in the technology world have long since accepted. But how does that translate to the individual when educational advancement requires sacrificing professional ambitions or time with a growing family?

Michael Bachman, director of engineering at Google Inc., found a solution to this dilemma in a master’s degree program at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering that utilized an interactive digital classroom for remote students.

Throughout his career at Google, Bachman had focused on his technical computer science skills. He decided it was time to hone his leadership and management abilities and knew a master’s degree was the obvious step. But figuring out the logistics was difficult.

“In such a fast-paced company, the thought of putting my professional career on hold while pursuing my master’s degree was out of the question,” he said. “I needed a program that was prestigious, online-based, provided me with immediate benefits at Google and helped me build a skillset for a lifetime.”

Based in the Bay Area, Bachman had plenty of local options to consider. Yet, after extensive Googling and researching programs, he found the best fit to be the online MS in engineering management program offered through USC Viterbi’s Distance Education Network (DEN@Viterbi).

“I weighed my options between a local or remote program, an MBA, computer science or an engineering management program,” he said. “There were many variables to consider, but in the end DEN@Viterbi was the most flexible and respected. It was the top, online master’s engineering program in the nation after all.”

Bachman participated in live class lectures and reviewed notes conveniently timed around his work schedule. The advanced technology enabled him to interact with other students and professors in real time from any locale in his global travels. Most importantly, despite his busy schedule, he was still able to have quality time with his new family.

“From the moment I started the program, I felt I was prepared for my own success,” he said. “The student tools, infrastructure, faculty and all-around flexibility meant I could balance my work at Google, master’s education and still have time to enjoy my new and growing family.

“I remember watching a lecture with my first newborn in my arms and thinking how incredibly fortunate I was to find this program. It seemed like the DEN@Viterbi program was the future of professional education, except it’s available now.”

While Bachman went through the program, he tripled his engineering team at Google to more than 70 employees across North America and Europe. Not only has he applied what he learned in the program to his job, but he’s also passed along key lessons to his staff.

Bachman was so impressed with the program that he’s currently pursuing a second master’s degree in computer science through DEN@Viterbi.

“For us young professionals,” he said, “in this global, competitive and high-tech environment, we need to constantly position ourselves for the long term.”

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Google this: grad student finds success through USC’s online offerings

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