img-calderon-photosJose Calderon

Business & Computer Systems

Class of 2003

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“MSOE teaches you to push yourself and that spills over into your professional career.”

As someone who was always naturally drawn towards computers and technology, Jose Calderon ’03 knew what his career was going to be. “I have always been technical but I also knew it was important to have a diversified background, and knowing the business side of technology would make me all the more valuable.” For Jose, MSOE was the place that would make him complete.

Majoring in business and computer systems (now known as management information systems), Jose was excited to get the full college experience at MSOE. “I knew I wanted to live on campus and have that college experience. The size of MSOE never said to me that wouldn’t be possible.”

His best memories include going to free events offered by MSOE like advanced movie screenings and shows on campus. “Those events created the MSOE community for me. You could be sitting in your dorm room one minute and the next you are on a bus to see a movie that the public hasn’t seen yet. All for free! The best price for a college student.”

Jose also fondly recalls an associate professor from the General Studies Department, Gary Boelkins. “I will forever remember him. He challenged students to think independently, and stressed ideas outside of the textbook. He really cared about what he taught. I believe he is invaluable to the MSOE community. I hope every student today has an opportunity to take at least one of his classes.”

Jose also reflects happily on the two summers he was a program assistant for MSOE’s Discover and Focus on the Possibilities summer camps. “Although I was given a lot of independence, with that came a tremendous amount of responsibility. The visibility that position gave me is what boosted my confidence in managing tasks and public speaking. It also exposed me to planning and marketing, and positively contributed to my resume. The friendships and memories I made during those summers will never be forgotten.”

Jose also held two internship positions before graduation. Wisconsin Focus on Energy hired him as a junior system administrator. This was Jose’s first technical experience in which he was considered an IT professional. He also developed his soft skills at ABC Radio in downtown Chicago where he was a marketing and promotions intern. “Soft skills are important too. How you communicate with people who do not understand the technical side of things is what will set you apart from your competition,” said Jose. “My advice to every MSOE student is to consider an internship that will not only offer you experience in your specific major, but one that will give you the opportunity to develop those soft skills.”

Jose has enjoyed a robust career as a young professional. He started with an entry-level position at AON Corporation working in their global service desk as a Help Desk Level I Tech. But when you talk to him about this position, he loved it. “AON provided a mentor to help me transition to the corporate world, and created the opportunity to learn from someone successful in that organization. That started at AON and luckily has continued on in my other positions.” He then moved on to The United Center as a systems administrator. He was responsible for managing the data systems for the Chicago Bulls, Blackhawks and other groups. “People right away think what a cool job it was, but the responsibility was enormous. In addition to back-end server and application support, if the Point of Sales system (POS) went out during an event, it was my responsibility to make sure ticket sales and vendor sales could still happen. I didn’t just get to sit around and watch the games,” Jose laughed, “there was a little bit more to it.”

Jose currently works for the city of Evanston in Illinois as the division manager of information technology. The tables have turned and now he is leading a staff of 10, and is responsible for the city’s technology initiatives and vision. Jose credits the quarter system and hands-on experiences at MSOE for where he is today. “It accustoms you to a certain level of productivity. It raises the bar on what you consider to be hard work. You are a professional before you cross the graduation stage. MSOE teaches you to push yourself and that spills over into your professional career.”


Bradford Beach Outing


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Harley Davidson Museum – RSVP required


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