June 05, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything

Kyle Laird, Business Management "12

“I didn’t want to narrow myself into just a programming industry; I felt I maybe had a calling somewhere else.

Kyle Laird, Business Management, '12

Co-op Employer:  iRobot; Wentworth College of Professional and Continuing Education

Co-op Position:  Business Development Co-op; Market Research Co-op

Hometown:  unknown

Managing Expectations

Kyle Laird switched into management from network engineering after he decided he didn’t want to let himself get pigeon-holed into a single industry. “I didn’t want to narrow myself into just a programming industry; I felt I maybe had a calling somewhere else,” he said. In management, he figured he would be more flexible to explore a range of work environments in order to find which worked best. His co-op experience has also allowed him to branch out, working in the high-tech industry at iRobot Corporation and in higher education at Wentworth’s College of Professional and Continuing Education (CPCE).

Building Skills

Before each co-op, Laird sets goals for himself so he can establish what kind of experience he is looking for and which skills he needs to improve upon. For his first co-op, Laird wanted something fast-paced in a high-tech field. His semester at iRobot was a perfect match, with Laird performing various tasks such as working on the company’s human interface robots. He took apart robots made by iRobot and competitors in an effort to help create standards for the robotics industry. Next Laird wanted a co-op with a more human touch where he could work on his office communication skills. He found it in the CPCE, where he played a role in the college’s accreditation process. At both co-ops, Laird also often found himself researching other companies or colleges for the purpose of competitor analysis.

Follow the Leader(s)

It was also at CPCE that Laird discovered a man he considers to be his mentor, Dean Larry Carr. “Larry Carr was a great inspiration,” he said. Carr showed him how a life-long manager operates in the office and provided the kind of guidance he hopes to find in his future mentors. With Laird set to graduate in a few months, it is almost time for him to set his sights on tackling a new challenge. A solar panel enthusiast of sorts, he’s hoping to land a role in green technology where he can achieve new goals, build his list of mentors, and add yet another industry to his resume.

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