"Stanford opened my mind to a new way of thinking that made a significant impact on me personally."

Meet Xander Uyleman (video)

During the Internet boom of the late 1990s, Xander Uyleman joined Cisco Systems, Inc. in their outpost of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where he was responsible for eBusiness integration between the company and partners across Europe.

He has since moved to California's Silicon Valley and continues to flourish at Cisco, managing the business development and marketing of refurbished equipment amongst emerging and existing markets. To assist his growth, Cisco has encouraged Xander to continue his education, which he has done through the Stanford Center for Professional Development.

Uyleman completed the Stanford Advanced Project Management and Stanford Strategic Decision and Risk Management professional certificates and credits the coursework for his recent promotion from Project Manager to Business Development Manager.

"The leadership and influence Stanford has in the high tech world has been a key driver to be part of Stanford," explains Uyleman.

A mixture of working with a diverse pool of engineers, the competitive global economy, and a passion for professional development has spurred Uyleman to pursue further education. "I'd like to get a better understanding of the way engineers think," says Uyleman, who interfaces daily with technically fluent customers and colleagues. He has taken a variety of graduate courses in management science and engineering and hopes to pursue a master's degree at Stanford in the same field.

"I wanted to continue to be part of challenging the norm as many of my professors have done. Stanford opened my mind to a new way of thinking that made a significant impact on me personally."

His continuing professional development underscores the growing trend within the science and technology sector to build a cross-functional skill set. Uyleman particularly values courses like Leading Effective Teams, part of the Advanced Project Management Certificate, for its multidisciplinary approach.

"It's a hybrid situation, where you have engineering and strong business. You need to be cognizant of your (multinational) counterparts, both from a cultural and ethical point of view" says Uyleman.

The combination of teamwork and leadership insight resonated with Uyleman because he was able to relate the course material to his own experiences at Cisco where "the whole silo mentality of 'I'm only worried about what's happening in my realm of control' has changed significantly, to working across silos and being able to work toward common goals."

Simultaneous to taking the course, Uyleman trained a global team of project managers from both the United States and Europe. He incorporated what he terms the "a-ha" moments gleaned from the course into his one-on-one training sessions. "The power of the program at Stanford is being able to apply it immediately," he says.