Emanuel Fernandes Master of Human-Computer Interaction (MHCI)

Emanuel Mendonça FernandesWhere were you working before you started your program?

I worked only for short time after finishing my undergraduate work, continuing my research work, and then went directly to the master's of Human Computer Interaction.

What part of the experience do you think will be most valuable/relevant to your current work?

I think that what will be valuable to my future work are two main things: first, the program is very practical, very hands on; second, the program is very competitive which in the end makes us students to achieve a higher and better degree of skills.

Did going through the program change your goals/plans for post-graduation?

I don't have very strict plans. I plan to work for Portugal Telecom for the next three years, where I hope to do excellent work, and perhaps afterwards go and work abroad in Europe.

What expectations did you have going into the program? Were you surprised?

My expectations were high, but at the same time unknown. Since the American teaching system is somewhat different from the Portuguese and I didn't had a very clear picture about what to find, I had unknown expectations at the beginning of the program. I had more of a curiosity kind of expectations. I have to say that I was impressed by Carnegie Mellon University. The facilities are great, you have excellent conditions to support sport activities, and the students’ qualities are very high.

What was it like moving back and forth between the United States and Portugal?

My special case can influence my answer, because at the first year of my masters only three students entered the program. What we really missed was the contact with my colleagues at Pittsburgh. We had video conference classes but they have their limitations and with the electives classes I could not find colleagues that would had the same quality as the ones we had at Carnegie Mellon. I must say that my university made a great effort to gives us the same conditions that we found at Carnegie Mellon.

What are some retrospective thoughts on the program? What advice can you give to students currently enrolled or interested in the program?

For those interested in the program, they should start making preparations for applying to the program about three to five months before the deadline. In my opinion, this program can open new doors in terms of jobs, and my case is an example of that. I am sure that without this program, I would not be so soon working for a big company such as Portugal Telecom. Another positive aspect about the program is the fact that students go and study a semester in the U.S., at Carnegie Mellon. This last fact makes us approach the work in a different way and can make us stronger professionals in the future.