Mike Chi

Job Title: Software Engineer, Surveillance

Location: Syracuse, New York, USA

Education: M.Sc. in Software Engineering and a B.Sc. in Psychology


Personal Summary

Mike is a software engineer at Saab Sensis in the United States. There, he is part of a new software product development effort which will improve safety at airports, which he finds not only extremely exciting but also fulfilling. Mike has a wide range of interests, which is hinted at by his undergraduate studies in Psychology. Although this combination of disciplines may seem a bit odd, he feels that it has been a great asset and career choice. Outside of work, Mike enjoys cooking, travelling, and playing Frisbee.


Why did you apply to the graduate programme?

There were a lot of reasons why I applied to the graduate programme, but to put it simply, it was because it looked interesting. I applied to “normal” entry-level software engineering positions as well, but for those types of jobs I more or less knew what it consisted of and what I would be doing. On the other hand, the graduate programme offered opportunities and experiences that were very unique and completely new to me, which I found to be extremely attractive. For example, it offered many workshops on personal and professional development, which really appealed to me since I have always been interested in self-improvement. Additionally, the opportunity to travel, see other parts of Saab and meet people of different cultures was an amazing bonus for me.


What is it like to work at Saab?

I can speak to my personal experiences from having worked at Saab Sensis in the U.S. for roughly 7 months now and at Saab in Gothenburg for 1 month. The work environment at the 2 offices are quite different. For example, in the U.S. we still have traditional assigned work cubicles and offices, but in Gothenburg the layout is very open and dynamic. The work culture is different as well. In the U.S. things tend to be more fast-paced, but in Gothenburg the team tends to be more diplomatic in their decision-making process. However, no matter where I was, I felt a lot of respect and trust between team members and from management. Most importantly, work-life balance is important and respected.


What has been the most challenging experience for you during the programme?

There have been a lot of challenging (but fun) experiences! The most challenging for me have been the role-playing activities. The programme promises personal development, and it certainly delivers on it. The role playing activities make sure that you not only hear and recite what you learn, but actually put it to practice. There were many times that I felt out of my comfort zone, but I truly believe that those experiences were invaluable and allowed me to grow stronger. I won’t lie – it can be scary at times, but rest assured that you are given the support you need to succeed.


What have you gained from participating in the graduate programme?

Since I strive for self-improvement and am interested in psychology, I think I have always been more introspective than the average person. Even so, I have become more self-aware than ever as a result of the programme (in a good way). I felt myself becoming more self-confident throughout the course of the programme, which is something that I saw in the other graduates as well. However, what I cherish the most from the programme are the great friends that I found in the other graduates and many others that I’ve met.


What has been the most memorable experience so far?

One of the most memorable experiences for me was our physical activity time with the former graduate group during the first team weeks. I had no idea what to expect, but it ended up being a very pleasant surprise. I was exhausted by the end of it from all the exercise and laughter. It was a perfect example of how Saab values more than just a strong work ethic; it also values a balanced and healthy lifestyle.


Can we contact you if we have additional questions?

Of course! You can find me on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/zhihaochi.