Large photo on the left of Brian Biada in his orange Gator Football uniform on the football field; top-right image of Brian Biada and his daughter'; bottom-right image a portrait of Brian Biada

How this former Florida Gator football player benefitted from the Master of Science in Management program

By Brian Biada, MSM ’11, Project Engineer, L3Harris

My journey after the Master of Science in Management (MSM) program hit the ground running in Washington, D.C. While I was taking classes in the program, I was fortunate to work remotely (20 hours/week) for the MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit that operates research & development (R&D) centers for the federal government. Once I had a diploma in-hand, my wife (fiancé at the time) and I packed our bags and headed for the nation’s capital so I could work for MITRE as a full-time systems engineer.

Fast forward seven years – add one baby, one house, a second master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, one golden retriever and one orange tabby cat – and we now find ourselves living on the Space Coast of Florida. I recently accepted an opportunity as a Project Engineer with L3Harris in Melbourne, Florida. I’m the third-in-command on a key program within the Space & Airborne Systems segment, and I’m responsible for leading the cost, schedule and technical management of the program. Without question, I love the work that I get to do and the people I get to work alongside. Also, geographically speaking, being within 10 minutes of the beach hasn’t been a huge burden on the shoulders either. It’s been quite a journey so far, and I’m doing my best to soak it all in.

My best Warrington memory was the ropes course and team-building event that took place at Lake Wauburg during orientation. I was a member of the UF football team at the time, and I was actually able to miss a practice so I could participate in the event. Nothing screams camaraderie like sweating alongside strangers while climbing obstacles in 90+ degree weather. And though I was hardly able to call it a “day off”, it paid dividends in terms of teamwork and friendship that carried over into the duration of the program.

The MSM program has helped me in more than a few ways, but I’d say the biggest impact it’s had on me is that it instilled leadership confidence that’s allowed me to lead a major program primarily comprised of more senior, experienced individuals. Each course of the MSM program coaches leadership in some form or fashion, and it constantly provides opportunities to step up and sharpen one’s “soft” skills while balancing the finance-heavy, number-crunching courses in tandem. When I look back on the qualities of my favorite program managers to-date, I realize I didn’t admire their technical skillsets – I looked up to their ability to lead, communicate and relate to those around them. I believe the MSM program equipped me with the tools and put me in a position to better strive for those qualities.

If I could offer one piece of advice to current and future MSM students, it would be this: in the early stages of the program, see if it’s possible to balance an internship or part-time position with an organization you can see yourself working for after college. By the time I started my second semester, I had already completed an internship with MITRE and accepted a full-time position with them upon graduation. That was a huge stress relief, and I became more aware of how fortunate I was as my peers scrambled for job offers as graduation inched closer. And more importantly, I developed a greater appreciation for the course material and lessons when I could immediately relate it to my work experience outside of school. The more work you put in up-front, the more you’re able to reap the benefits and have fun towards the end. 

To take your career to the next level like Brian, request information about the UF Master of Science in Management program today