Alex Marques: ’The mentorship I’ve had is the best part of my work life’

By Jessie Ying

Alex Marques graduated in 2018 with an MEng degree in Mechanical Engineering and Product Design. He currently works as Product Manager at Bishop Wisecarver, a business-to-business company (B2B) that sells machine components and engineering services in the realm of motion technology.

We had a chance to ask Alex a few questions about life after the Berkeley MEng:

What did you do after graduation?

I started applying for jobs a month before graduation, after most of my schoolwork was done. I was accepted within a month and a half. I took a little bit of time off and did a little bit of traveling before starting.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I’m a Product Manager at Bishop Wisecarver. Right now, we are putting out a catalog for our newest product. I’m assisting with the catalog, the strategy, the product positioning and with revamping our website.

What have you found most rewarding about the work you’re currently doing?

I’ve got to say it’s the mentorship that I’ve had. It’s probably the best part of my work life. Immediately when I started at the company, the onboarding process was incredibly streamlined, and I began working under Senior Product Manager Brian Burke who is a wealth of knowledge within the company. I can go to Brian, or really anyone in the company, whenever I have a question. I can expect that they will give me a thorough response and treat me as a member of the family and that was from day one. For example, they introduced me to enterprise resource planning (ERP) software which integrates all of the business and technology planning systems. It automates a lot of the business and engineering functions. I have never been in a role where I had any experience to that. They were able to show me the ropes.
I also enjoy that my position enables me to get a broader perspective and a more strategic view of the process of bringing a product to market.

What do you miss about being a student at the Fung Institute?

I miss the sense of community and having a large group of people working on cool projects across a wide variety of fields. Now that I’m in industry, my focus is a little narrower onto the goals of our company.

How has the Berkeley MEng program helped you prepare for entering the field you’re currently in?

I don’t think I would be in the role that I’m currently in without the Fung Institute. I had engineering experience, but I didn’t have business or marketing experience before going into this role. For this role, they specifically wanted someone that would bring some engineering and business and marketing background. I was definitely the youngest among the qualified applicants. It was all because of the Fung Institute program.

I don’t think I would be in the role that I’m currently in without the Fung Institute.

What was the most helpful course for you?

The marketing and the product management courses were definitely something on my resume that I could talk about. The marketing course was a bootcamp course. It gave me experiences with projects that I could talk about and everything filled the checkboxes (of qualifications that employers look for). “I’ve done market research. I’m familiar with these tools. I’ve conducted surveys. Yes, yes, yes.”

Do you have any advice for current Berkeley MEng students?

My advice to current MEng students is: Make appointments with your career counselors. I only went much later. But I think they were so helpful. I went in there mainly for resume and cover letter help but when I walked out of there, I had more intuition about the companies that I was applying for. They had very specific insights and resources for me to look into. They were even able to connect me to Berkeley graduates within other companies. Even though I didn’t end up going to any of those companies, I would still totally recommend it. 
Another piece of advice would be to keep making friends like it’s your first week of bootcamp because there are so many cool people. If you wait until the very end to get to know them, you will miss out.

Do you have a fun fact about yourself that you’d like to share?

I’m constantly learning entirely new fields. My most recent endeavors are in linguistics and music production. For linguistics, I’ve been following down a rabbit hole of learning about it. Although I haven’t been learning entire languages, I’ve been studying the basics of how languages form, how we use it and how languages vary across the globe. I’ve been using it to construct a framework for analyzing and learning new languages. The eventual goal is to have an example language that is entirely of my own construction. It will be an example of all of the aspects of languages that are easiest to learn. Hopefully, this is a language that I can introduce it to someone and they would be able to pick it up relatively easily and it can be a framework for understanding other languages.

Alexander Marques is an Associate Product Manager with Bishop-Wisecarver where he matches customers’ needs with motion solutions. His role also include designing content that drives sales, developing systems to boost productivity and bringing innovative products to market. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at University of Florida in 2017. He then received his Master degree in Mechanical Engineering: Product Design at U.C. Berkeley in 2018. Read his op-ed on improving accessibility and affordability of assistive exoskeletons and connect with him.