UBC MEL MHLP Professional Leadership Master Degrees

Dependable Software Systems – Anupam Yadav

Success Story — Anupam Yadav

Dependable Software Systems – Anupam Yadav

Ask hiring managers at leading companies and you’ll likely hear the same story – it’s challenging to find software engineers with both domain expertise and the project management, communication and leadership skills to successfully guide teams and deliver on projects.

The UBC Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) in Dependable Software Systems was designed to address this need by combining graduate courses in software systems taught by leading researchers from the UBC Faculty of Applied Science with courses on business and leadership through UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School.

It’s a unique interdisciplinary education that makes the program very appealing to professionals like Anupam Yadav, a digital product manager for Publicis Sapient who’s worked for clients that include McDonald’s, Verizon, TD Bank and State Street.

“I didn’t want my graduate degree to focus solely on either software engineering or business,” he says. “This program was aligned with my goals and the skills I wanted to develop. UBC was one of the top universities on my list and there was no other graduate degree as connected to my goals as the MEL in Dependable Software Systems.”

Wide-ranging technical knowledge

Program director Sathish Gopalakrishnan says that the MEL curriculum takes an intentionally broad view of all aspects of software development.

“Our program offers software engineers a framework within which to deepen their understanding of core technical issues related to software testing and verification and developing dependable and secure systems,” he says.

That’s achieved through courses on software verification and testing, software project management, error-resilient computing systems and computer security, as well as two industry-driven capstone projects where students work on a software engineering project for an external client.

This broad overview is designed to expand students’ technical knowledge into new areas.

“I gained an understanding of cybersecurity, entrepreneurial skills, data analytics, project management, quality engineering and cloud computing, and that breadth of knowledge is exactly what I needed to succeed as a product manager,” says Anupam, who returned to Publicis Sapient after graduating in 2020 to head up KPMG’s global digital marketing platform.

“I like to build products that go beyond my clients’ articulated needs, to provide features they may not even know they want. The program’s case studies and projects are enabling me to do this at a greater level than before.”

Strong business and communication skills

Leading complex software development projects and managing interdisciplinary teams requires skills in project management, communication, change management and leadership.

As Sathish Gopalakrishnan says, “given that these [software engineering] challenges are very much of our world – with financial, social and sustainability implications – the business and leadership courses that make up half of the curriculum provide students with crucial knowledge.”

Anupam says that one of his key takeaways from the MEL’s business and leadership courses was learning to think from the customer’s point of view – to consider their pain points and identify innovative ways to resolve issues.

“I’m better able to pinpoint and articulate client concerns to my team, and to communicate any technical challenges we are facing to our clients,” he says. “I also feel more confident in my ability to manage teams and projects, with a course on organizational leadership giving me solid tools for being a better manager. I’m applying knowledge from my courses on a daily basis.”

Anupam also says the requirement to deliver dozens of presentations on diverse topics improved his presentation skills, even with his considerable professional experience giving product demonstrations to clients.

Experience leading diverse teams

The MEL consists of eight sector-specific programs on subjects ranging from advanced materials manufacturing to urban systems. MEL students from all programs come together for the business and leadership classes, along with students from the Master of Health Leadership & Policy. This creates a diverse cohort of students working together on projects, and that diversity helps students become more inclusive leaders.

“I’m a hardcore engineer and had not often worked alongside people from outside my area,” says Anupam.

“Working on group projects in my business classes alongside health-care professionals and engineers from a range of disciplines broadened my horizons,” he says. “There were students from more than 20 countries in my cohort, and that also created a wonderful cultural mix.”

Software engineering leaders

Graduates of the MEL in Dependable Software Systems are uniquely positioned to lead multidisciplinary teams and complex projects. Coming to the program with considerable industry experience, their postgraduate degree empowers them with the latest industry knowledge and foundational skills in business and leadership.

“Even after working for over a decade with some of the world’s leading companies, I’m now more confident as a result of the structure and content of the courses I took for this degree,” says Anupam.

“I have a broader range of knowledge of software systems and better management and people skills. The MEL in Dependable Software Systems is a pillar that strengthens your career and adds to the value you can contribute to an organization.”