UBC MEL MHLP Professional Leadership Master Degrees

Dependable Software Systems, Vinod Kotiya

Alumnus Story — Vinod Kotiya

Dependable Software Systems, Vinod Kotiya

Vinod Kotiya worked for 16 years for NTPC Limited, India’s largest power company, in roles of increasing responsibility. He then moved to Bangladesh where he worked as an Enterprise Architect for a power company where he was responsible for formulating and implementing IT projects to support the organization’s growth.

“My core focus was on digital transformation initiatives to automate business processes, and I had successfully executed multiple IT projects to improve business processes and increasing revenue to the bottom line,” he says.

While he had an extremely successful career, Vinod was interested in returning to school to familiarize himself with the latest advances in his field. He was also interested in a degree that offered more than just a technical education.

“As I progressed in my career, I began taking on more senior position with a larger team,” he says.

“I realized that I needed to develop my business and leadership skill as well. I wanted to be able to think strategically and make informed decisions that would drive business success. And I knew that pursuing a postgraduate degree would help me achieve this goal.”

The Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Dependable Software Systems met his needs.

Vinod was interested in transitioning out of the energy sector, and the one-year program offered the mix of business and technical skills he was looking for.

He and his wife and daughter moved to Vancouver, and Vinod began his studies in January 2022. “We lived on campus thanks to UBC Housing, and being able to live and study at UBC’s campus was an incredible experience that has enriched my personal and professional life in countless ways,” he says.

A broad perspective on software systems

Students in the program take a range of courses to gain the latest knowledge in areas that include error-resilient computing systems, software testing, project management, and the design of secure computing systems.

Vinod says the instructors brought “deep expertise in their respective fields” and that this focused instruction was complemented by class visits from industry experts.

Students in the Dependable Software Systems must complete a capstone project. Vinod and his group conducted  a cryptocurrency risk analysis for retail investors.

“We identified the patterns of risk in a newly launched bitcoin in the crypto market,” he explains.

“This also included developing a tool to so individual investors could better understand the risk during initial coin offering on crypto exchange.”

Vinod particularly enjoyed the course on software project management. It inspired him to pursue additional designations, and he now holds his Project Management Professional (PMP) certificate and the IT Information Library Foundations (ITIL) certificate.

Learning to be a leader

Business and leadership courses offered through UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School make up just under half of the curriculum and cover topics including organization, leadership and change management.

Students from all MEL programs take these courses together, along with students in the Master of Health Leadership and Policy programs. Studying alongside this interdisciplinary cohort of professionals was itself a rich learning experience, says Vinod.

“Working on business case studies with students from a range of professional and international backgrounds introduced me to new knowledge and deepened by cross-functional team skills,” he says.

Vinod also took an elective in using technology in health care. His business idea was selected to advance within the entepreneurship@UBC program, enabling him to develop his idea and enhance his entrepreneurial skills while networking with other founders and venture capitalists to gain a deeper understanding of the startup ecosystem in Canada.

Working with Seaspan

Vinod made full use of his networking and job-searching skills – gaining new professional credentials and reaching out to other MEL alumni – to secure full-time employment before he had even finished his MEL degree.

“The career and professional development workshops offered from the MEL office were great at putting you in a job search mindset,” he says.

He’s currently consulting full time to Seaspan, where he is managing a team of more than 250 employees and contractors to implement a project management tool for the ship-building process.

His role includes working as both an enterprise architect and business analyst to optimize this custom tool used for managing the complex construction budgets and timelines for the ships built by Seaspan for the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy.

“My previous heavy industry experience in the public and private sector, along with the project management and change management skills I learned in the MEL, are helping me execute these IT projects in a large organization,“ he says.

Vinod says he would definitely recommend the MEL to other industry professionals who want to broaden their horizons.

“There’s great value in taking a mid-career break by going back to school to familiarize yourself with the latest technology and learn from industry leaders and other professionals,” he says.

“Another advantage of the MEL is that it is a one-year master’s program and that it offers the perfect blend of business and technical courses. It’s not easy with its compressed schedule, but it’s well worth it.”