How This Gordon Institute Fellow Stays Determined to Follow His Dream

After 13 years in the industry, Raymond Tay, MS’24, is gaining new insights on the telecommunications industry as he simultaneously pursues a master’s in telecommunications networks from the College of Engineering, and a graduate certificate in engineering leadership from the Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership.

Raymond Tay, MS’24, telecommunication networks, was looking for a middle ground between a technical degree and leadership education. He found it at Northeastern by pursuing his master’s in telecommunications networks and, simultaneously, a graduate certificate in Engineering Leadership from Northeastern’s Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership.

From Ghana and having worked in the telecommunications industry for 13 years before pursuing a master’s degree, Tay returned to education to get a sense of where the industry is headed in the next few years. He is currently on co-op at Convergent Energy and Power as a network operations intern. The energy storage company has solar farms and battery storage systems all across the United States and Canada. These installments are monitored under a network, and Tay’s role is to maintain and operate this network.

Tay’s deep commitment to his work and career is reflected in his graduate courses, which he takes alongside his co-op. It allows him to compare his experiences in the classroom and the workforce more closely than most students. While Tay’s background is in transport networks, Convergent Energy has an enterprise network, which aligns with the focus he wants to take.

“At Convergent I find that they have a very unique setup because most of the solar farms are remote,” Tay says. “So that means that we have to think more about the reliability of these networks and how the data comes from the remote locations to the control center.”

Because Convergent has adapted its co-op position to match the program goals of the Gordon Institute—where Gordon Fellows are required to do an industry challenge project—much of the work Tay does is unstructured. This has given him the opportunity to take full initiative.

“I have to be the one to drive the direction of the co-op, which is something we talk about a lot at the Gordon program,” Tay says. “I feel this actually sets the stage for me to be able to achieve what I want to do with this co-op.”

As the telecommunications industry has developed, Tay has learned that enterprise networks are the future. His co-op at Convergent has given him a unique perspective on networks, one that he says brought a much-needed change of pace.

“Rather than the traditional long-distance carrier telecommunications that I used to do, this co-op actually gives me the skills that I need to be able to focus on enterprise systems,” Tay says.

The Gordon Institute’s leadership program focuses heavily on skills which are divided into 10 pillars. Tay’s time with the program has given him the opportunity to refine leadership skills that he already has in addition to building new ones. The skill he wants to focus on most is taking initiative, as he is used to being given direction and told what to do. Being a Gordon Fellow has given him a new perspective on what it means to take initiative.

Tay at a social for Gordon Fellows.

“We call it leading from the middle; that means you don’t have to be at the top to be able to lead a group,” Tay says. “Even if you are a team member, you can still provide direction for the team in which you are placed by knowing how to leverage relationships.”

After over a decade in the workforce, returning to education has refreshed Tay’s view of the industry. Being able to see what he studied as an undergraduate with a new perspective and a better understanding of the market has given him a true advantage, he says.

“I feel that sometimes we are so stuck in our own bubble that it can become very difficult to look outside, and that is what coming back to school has given me,” Tay says.

So far, Tay has worked in six countries across four continents. This has given him a plethora of exposure to different cultures, and he was happy to see that diversity is reflected in Northeastern’s student body.

“When I arrived at Northeastern, I was actually surprised to see the representation of various cultures from around the world,” Tay says. “Looking at my background and how I was able to relate with people from the various cultures in the past, I found it rather easy to settle in and to relate to campus life.”

Tay is also a student senator for the Graduate Student Government and is involved with the Ghanaian Student Community and the African Graduate Student Association.

“It’s given me the benefit of having to hear perspectives from people from my side of the world and how they view the U.S. and American education,” Tay says.

After graduating, Tay plans to follow his dream of becoming one of Africa’s top chief technology officers. By being a Gordon Fellow, Tay hopes to shift in a leader-oriented direction to realize this goal. It’s a path that he’s been on for nearly two decades, but he understands that although achieving such a dream takes time, it will be worth it in the end.

“It’s been quite painstaking, and it takes a lot to be able to stay on course, to fight against the odds, to not give up no matter what,” Tay says. “It’s not always smooth, and it doesn’t go as you expect, but you just have to know where you are going and why you are here.”

Related Departments:Gordon Engineering Leadership Program, Multidisciplinary Masters (IT Areas)