By Megan Andrew, Written Communications Assistant
The number of opportunities for UConn materials science and engineering graduates is endless. Chigozie Muoto combines his Materials Science and Engineering PhD with an MBA as a business strategy manager for Intel Corp.
Muoto graduated from UConn with his PhD in 2011, at which point he was hired by Intel Corp. as a process engineer in Hillsboro, Oregon. Over the nearly four and a half years he spent in this role, Muoto researched the “best and most efficient technologies that would be used in our latest products.”
Muoto worked with a team to analyze and redesign lithography processes for Intel’s microprocessor products. His day-to-day responsibilities required him to be in one of Intel’s advanced fabrication factories, working hands-on with semiconductor lithography equipment and utilizing the skills he had acquired and developed in the labs at UConn.
After receiving his Undergraduate degree at the University of Lagos in Nigeria, Muoto knew he wanted to advance his academics in the United States. But why UConn?
“It wasn’t like anyone told me about UConn,” he said. “I was researching many schools on the Internet.”
What stood out to Muoto about UConn was the technology available in the research labs. He recalled researching several options to pursue his masters and was amazed by “how easy it is for students to gain access to instruments I never got the opportunity to use.” Muoto was also drawn by the “diversity in research projects the professors had,” he said.
“I really wanted to go to UConn,” Muoto remembered, “I thought about it for many months.”
Once accepted, Muoto was exposed to far more than he initially expected. “Not only did I get access to that lab equipment, but I was also trained on how to service the equipment.” This proved very valuable in his first interview with Intel. “That was part of the reason I got the job,” he said, “the experiences and skills they were looking for were very similar to what I did in the lab at UConn.”
Muoto also fondly reminisced about Professor Mark Aindow, his advisor. Aindow encouraged Muoto to write scientific papers, which led to an impressive six publications for Muoto over the course of his UConn degree. “At first I wasn’t thinking of it as something I could do,” Muoto said. “The way he advised me was just exceptional.”
Although he thoroughly enjoyed his engineering position, Muoto found himself interested in the business side of Intel. He went on to get his MBA at the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Management. In 2017, he returned to Intel as a product manager.
In three years, Muoto rose to his current position of business strategy manager. “I have contributed immensely because of my engineering background,” he said. While most people involved in the business side focus on the status of the industry, Muoto’s deep understanding of both business and engineering allows him to lead Intel to more efficient and plausible business solutions.
Muoto’s career path serves as an example of the unique professional options that come with a degree in materials science and engineering. Muoto advises current students to begin exploring their options early. “Start researching the companies you want to go to, and start networking,” he said.
Muoto struggled himself with deciding on a career that fit his interests. “Sometimes its not very clear because you don’t have a lot of information about them,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s not just about the money or the accolades…follow your passion. Everything else will follow.”
Published: April 24, 2023