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Meet Andrew Nelson '16, Part-time MBA Candidate
Meet Andrew Nelson '16, Part-time MBA Candidate


Andrew was born and raised in New Jersey and attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, where he earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Design. He and his wife moved to the Portland area in 2010 when he was hired as an Applications Engineer at Tektronix, which manufactures measurement and monitoring technology. Since starting the MBA, Andrew has become a father and has been promoted into a position as a Marketing Manager at Tektronix.

What got you interested in electronic manufacturing?

I stumbled into this industry. I was an intern at GM in the summer of 2008 (after my sophomore year of undergrad) and expected to do another internship with GM and then move to Michigan once I graduated. We all know what happened to GM in late 2008/early 2009. They ended up cancelling over 80% of their internship programs (mine included), which soured me on the company a little. I applied at Tektronix mainly because I didn't have another job lined up. I had no idea who Tektronix was or what the electronics industry was like, but I liked the Tektronix hiring manager and the Portland area.

What is unique about this industry?

My experience at Tektronix has been similar to my experience when I interned at GM. When selling high-priced products (priced greater than $5,000), big companies act alike, regardless of industry. That surprised me a bit.

What advice would you give to a student who is looking to pursue a career in electronic manufacturing? 

This advice is for people looking to get into any industry where they have not had experience--talk to someone in that industry to get a firm grasp of how that industry functions before deciding whether it is right for you. For example, fuel exploration industry has a work hard, play hard mentality; they pay well but you will work days straight sometimes. Would you be able to handle that? Another example is the automotive industry where you work on a very small portion of a much larger project, and it is hard to map success between the two. Are you okay with having the project you are devoted to be dependent on 100+ other people?

How did PSU help with your career?

I was already working at Tektronix when I started my MBA, but Portland State helped me get my current position. Being in-process on an MBA let my boss know that I would be gaining the knowledge in marketing and strategy to be capable of management.

What is the most valuable thing that you have learned during the program?

Take a system level, rather than component level, view of problems. Widening my focus allows me to apply all of the other skills that I have learned through the program, such as finance, economics, and marketing.

What is something that other people might be surprised to know about you?

I am a big Euro soccer fan (especially Manchester Utd). Be ready, I’m getting deep here--soccer has a special place in my heart because if my daughter wakes up early on the weekend, I will take her downstairs while my wife gets some well deserved sleep, and we watch soccer on TV together.

>> As a Portland State Ambassador, you can ask Andrew questions about his experiences in the MBA program.

>> Learn more about the Portland State masters programs.