Gerry Ducharme, BS
Degree earned from WPI:
BS, Chemical Engineering
MBA, Northeastern University
Why did you choose WPI?
It was evident to me early in life that my academic strengths were in science and mathematics. Therefore, engineering at the time seemed like an appropriate fit. Several alumni from my high school had attended WPI, so the school was fairly known in my town and had a great reputation as a technical institution.
How did your experiences at WPI prepare you for graduate school?
My graduate studies in business seemed rather trivial compared to an undergraduate engineering degree at WPI. Developing the mind to solve problems and adapt to situations gave me a great foundation for analyzing business cases and proposing strategic direction. In general, the business degree felt like an extension of work, whereas work feels like an extension of your engineering degree.
How did your studies at WPI prepare you for working in your field?
My current role as a business unit manager and strategist for Vaisala draws on my ability to understand technologies, customers, and markets. In the early years, I was in a supportive role, interfacing with customers and solving process-related problems. This was when my chemical engineering working knowledge gave me a solid foundation for my career to build upon.
How did WPI's philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, prepare you for facing real-world challenges in the workplace or graduate school?
Working in teams is a daily occurrence in the workplace. Teams need to be organized, led, and managed in order to accomplish goals and objectives. The strong team-building projects and class work at WPI are great building blocks of practical learning in developing these skills. I have benefited over the years and carried these skills through my graduate studies and in my daily work as a professional who regularly interacts with functional teams throughout my company and customers’ organizations.
Groups or extracurricular activities in which I participated at WPI:
While at WPI, I was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, a member of the swim team and water polo team, and a participant in various intramural sports.