David Kalinowski: ‘I always knew I wanted to be an engineering leader’

By Caroline Osterman

The UC Berkeley Master of Engineering program boasts an impressive alumni network across many industries, from fast-growing startups to Fortune 500 companies. Alumni play an active role in the MEng program and regularly attend seminars and events at the Fung Institute to network and share career advice with the current cohort.

David Kalinowski, MEng ’13 (IEOR) is currently a Product Design Lead at Apple who recently attended the annual Alumni Brunch at the Fung Institute. We had a chance to ask David a few questions about life during and after the Berkeley MEng.

Tell me about your educational background.

I love product design and nice looking things — from a sofa to a clothing iron. I always knew I wanted to be an engineering leader. I played with a lot of Legos as a kid and took apart anything I could get my hands on.

What made you choose the MEng program?

It’s a good mix of professional and academic training. That, and unparalleled networking in the consumer product design hub of the world.

What was your time like in the program, both in and out of the classroom?

I kept myself quite busy with extra courses in business school. I spent all my free time with peers from my own major and others exploring the Bay Area. And lots of ski trips! Some of my best friends now are MEng alumni.

What was your Capstone project?

My Capstone was to help a startup called Meograph monetize their platform for education purposes. We created a web interface and back end interface to the existing Meograph platform. We wrote a lot of code. We were giving grade school students an alternate medium to present information, rather than your typical written report.

Tell me about how you decided to pursue your current career, and what you do today.

I have always loved to design. I design consumer products (parts in a car, autonomous drones — and now something secret at Apple!)

What aspects of/skill sets learned from the MEng program have proved the most valuable in your career?

Tips related to negotiation and presentation skills have stuck with me and been very valuable and applicable! We learned how to negotiate stellar compensations and impress your boss (and boss’s boss) in a presentation.

Read about our Career Development team and the specialized career management resources we provide MEng students.

Do you have any advice for current MEng students?

Branch out, and make an effort to meet someone new every day or week! Networking is key.

David Kalinowski was born in Vancouver, BC, Canada and was raised by Peruvian immigrant parents. His first language was Spanish. He completed his undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University and enjoys skiing, mountain biking, running, and salsa dancing.

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