Humans of Fung: Clément Ruin, MEng ’19 (IEOR)

On growing up in the French Alps, earning an engineering degree at UC Berkeley, and his passion for mentoring

Clément Ruin graduated from the Berkeley MEng in 2019 where he studied Industrial Engineering and Operations Research. After earning his degree, he moved on to work as a Data Scientist for Simplr. This is the third year he is returning to the MEng program as an industry capstone advisor. Here, he shares more about his unique experience as an MEng alumnus and capstone advisor.

Far from the Alps, Clement also loves California for its hiking trails (here in Sequoia).

Tell us about yourself and your journey into the MEng program.

I grew up in the French Alps and completed my undergrad in the beautiful city of Annecy. It was a very intense and competitive Math and Physics program which prepared me for a national exam that got me into Ecole Centrale in Paris (now CentraleSupélec) graduate school. My education was very theoretical until then, but it provided me with fundamentals that still truly make a difference in my job today.

While completing my masters degree in Paris, I had the opportunity to study abroad, in the US specifically, and I thought this was a once-in-a-lifetime international experience opportunity and a more hands-on training to develop my skillset. Berkeley and the MEng particularly appealed to me for their global reputation, the prime location in the heart of Silicon Valley and its perfect balance between technical and leadership/business courses.

Testing some warmer gear in Yosemite for his future trip to Alaska.

“Berkeley and the MEng particularly appealed to me for their global reputation, the prime location in the heart of Silicon Valley and its perfect balance between technical and leadership/business courses.”

What did you take away from earning your MEng degree and what have you been up to since graduating?

My favorite parts of the MEng degree were the capstone project and all the career resources offered by the Fung Institute. Completing real-world projects, especially with industry advisors, gives you a real taste of the professional world as well as useful material to market yourself to recruiters. The program teaches you how to put ourselves out there and we benefit from career training and events.

After my graduation, I started working for Simplr, an Asurion company that I actually met at an MEng networking event! I am a Data Scientist, specialized in Natural Language Processing (NLP) as my company provides customer service solutions to partners who value rapid, high quality and empathetic CX. I am responsible for powering our platform with AI models that train and assist our agents and allow Simplr to scale its operations. Beyond the cool engineering and innovations I do, I enjoy the purpose of my work, working for a growing company and building products that provide real value.

Clement celebrating his capstone award in 2019 with his team. He also received an honorable mention as an advisor in 2021!

How did you come to be an MEng capstone mentor/advisor?

Asurion, the company I work for, has a long history of partnerships and capstone mentorships with US universities. It is an excellent recruiting pipeline and allows us to take on longer term and high-risk/high-reward projects. I wanted to be part of this tradition and also give back to the MEng, by helping students transition to the professional world and provide them with real industry projects. I love sharing advice and pushing students to approach their capstone with a business mindset. On a personal level, becoming a mentor also gives me a chance to practice core project management skills from problem formulation, roadmapping, to leadership and communication. This coming year will be my 3rd year mentoring capstones and I’m really excited to see what this year has to offer!

What’s different about the program since you were a student? As an alumni, what MEng experience still stands out to you?

The MEng experience has obviously been impacted by the pandemic and had to adapt into a more virtual program. I was very impressed by the resourcefulness and the resilience of the staff and the students.

Despite these obstacles, I am glad to see the MEng kept its focus on its mission to train engineers into business leaders. I am also very thankful for all the staff behind the capstone experience, they keep getting better at this every year, by facilitating the logistics for students and for industry advisors. I highly recommend other alumni to take part in this experience.

As a capstone advisor and MEng alumni, what insights can you share about the value of the MEng experience?

I am always amazed to see how fast people grow in this program. As an alumni and a capstone advisor, I have seen myself and other students transform through acquiring new technical skills (sometimes starting from zero!), developing our professional story, and becoming more driven and focused. The program is short and has one of the quickest learning curves I have encountered. It perfectly matches the fast-paced spirit in Silicon Valley.

Connect with Clément Ruin.

Edited by Lyndsay Song.

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Berkeley Master of Engineering

Berkeley Master of Engineering

Master of Engineering at UC Berkeley with a focus on leadership. Learn more about the program through our publication.