MOT Program Helps Alumna Achieve Her "Big Audacious Goal"

Milena Higgins already had her Ph.D. in physics when she entered the M.S. in Management of Technology (MOT) program at TLI in 2011. Her ambition was more than clear, but her career path forward was not. Milena grew up in Poland, before eventually moving to the United States. After contemplating a degree in engineering, she decided to study physics and earned both her undergrad and Ph.D. degrees in it. At that point, her career hit its first curve.

"After earning my Ph.D., professor jobs were scarce (my first choice of jobs), so I decided to expand my search to industry," she said. "I was headed in the direction of medical devices when, totally by accident, I ran across a job in patent law. I took that job and loved the work."

But after 16 years, she said she started to feel stale and stuck professionally. She did not want to go to law school so she considered an MBA, that is until she remembered a postcard she had received from TLI. She decided to check out an MOT information session to learn more.

"It seemed like the perfect fit, made just for me: business school with a technology focus, made for technology professionals," Milena said. "MOT was the perfect marriage of technology and business. I considered an MBA. but it didn't 'feel like me'. MOT did."

She said the first semester was tough trying to juggle everything, but she powered through with a tip she now has for all incoming students. 

"I made a list of things I had to get done, and started tackling the items one at a time. Eventually, I found my groove and things got easier," she said. "Having the support of my family and my employer helped a lot, too. All the faculty and staff were also very supportive. Their enthusiasm for the subjects they were teaching definitely kept me going."

Milena said she really enjoyed learning the business skills and working with a cohort and a small group of similarly-minded professionals. Her career took off from there with more twists and turns along the way. 

"While I was still in the program I was recruited into a Knowledge Management role. That led to my developing software solutions in-house, which later led me to take more risks and venture into consulting," she said.  "After that, I went back to my technical roots by joining a legal tech company focused on automation. In that job, I was quickly promoted and eventually became the COO of that company. I zigged and zagged over the years, but there has always been a thread of technology and innovation and always in the legal context."

Just as fate and her educational training had led her before, Milena's current role came out of a phone call from a friend who reached out to ask for some advice on technology and marketing strategies for a legal tech startup.

"One thing led to another and today I am the CTO, running the technology arm of that start-up, Cloud Court, Inc" she said. The company, which just launched its first product, hopes to modernize litigation by building AI-powered tools to help people reach resolution faster and with better outcomes.

"We’re a small startup so I wear many hats at the moment, everything from product development and R&D to IT, knowledge management, and security," she said. "I didn’t come up with the original idea at our startup, but I have helped evolve and enhance our product. I rely on my MOT training the most when I help us prioritize our long wish list, select the things we will implement, and say NO to many others."

Milena says her short-term goals is to grow the customer base for its flagship Armatus product, and launch the company's second product, code named Depo.

"My long-term goal is to grow the company and, eventually, exit by selling it to one of the big players in our industry. After that, I may do it all over again," she adds.

There is no doubt her drive, ambition and skills will continue to drive her down the path of success.

"My TLI education gave me the confidence to go after my big audacious goal of someday becoming a C-suite executive," she said.  "MOT opened the door for me to confidently go after jobs in other spaces within my industry. MOT enabled me to pursue my dream! To boldly go where I didn’t think I could go before TLI. If you’re a technologist and a people-person, the TLI programs are made for you!"

To learn more about the M.S. in Management of Technology program, join us for an upcoming information session. All information sessions are hybrid, with your choice of attending in-person or online.