Michel Farhat is a 2018 mechanical engineering alumnus who also earned his master's in engineering management from Rose‑Hulman in 2020. He works in Germany in systems management and also plays in an amateur professional soccer league.
What led you to pursue your Master’s in Engineering Management degree at Rose-Hulman?
There were many personal and professional factors. Professionally, I knew I wanted to do something in management in the technical field of engineering. Because after my internships at Lockheed Martin as a systems engineer, I noticed that at work that I enjoyed being the bridge between management and engineering. I knew I needed to deviate a little bit from the technical mechanical engineering at the bachelor’s level and get some management experience. I really enjoy it.
The personal reason was I wanted to play my redshirt year of college soccer and also explore the idea of doing a study abroad in Germany. It was Best decision I ever made. I got to have my senior year of college soccer, I got to do a study abroad and discovered in Germany I can play at a competitive level, like amateur professional soccer, and have a career (in engineering management). It’s definitely a dream of mine. Engineering management provided me with that opportunity and I’m super grateful for it.
Michel Farhat lives in Germany, where he works as a systems engineer and plays amateur professional soccer.
How are you using your degree professionally?
I am in a project management role at a company called Cerence. What they do is the Alexa/Siri of cars – the “Hey Mercedes, Hey BMW, Hey Audi, Hey Toyota.” Cerence develops their speech software. I’m the error manager of the Daimler project – that’s the “Hey Mercedes.”
I basically look at all the tickets – the bugs or defects – and make sure they are allocated to the proper domains of the project and make sure we don’t lose sight of them. I talk directly to the customer. Harman is another company I work with – they do a whole user experience in the car – the nice ambient lights in a car, the navigation system – all those interior systems.
I really enjoy it. It’s actually pretty dream role. It has nothing to do with mechanical engineering and everything to do with systems engineering and the engineering management master’s that I did.
It opened so many doors. I’m very, very happy with it. I sometimes feel a little too junior for it, but that’s the other thing you get with this is the opportunity for a mid-level career position
This master’s, given the time and circumstances of COVID and how it hit the economy, it really pulled its weight. The best decision I ever made was doing the engineering management master’s.
Michel Farhat fondly remembers his campus experiences, from scoring a game-winning goal to designing a specialized bike for a child.
What led a Texas native to choose Rose-Hulman?
I was looking for a school that had soccer and a good engineering program. I really fell in love with Rose when I got there after my overnight stay with the soccer guys. The family atmosphere hooked me. The way things played out the last six years from high school to now is an experience I never would have expected. It’s definitely an experience I’m very, very grateful for.
What is your favorite memory from your time at Rose-Hulman?
I hadn’t had a collegiate start or goal (Editor's Note: Farhat missed a year due to injury and came back for his final season while pursuing his master's). The first game of that season, I started. My classmates I graduated with in 2018 came to a game in the fall...the Triangle fraternity. My dad flew out to Principia to watch the game. My mom was watching online. I scored a goal and it was the game-winner. It meant so much to me because of the recovery I had to go through. Everyone in the Rose family who helped me and encouraged me to keep playing, the support from Triangle and the other coaches. Everyone there watching the game, it kind of gave me chills. It’s definitely my most favorite Rose memory.
Academically, it was definitely the senior design project bike for Bella. That was a fun project and definitely my favorite memory to have the opportunity to work on such a project.