Chief Officer, Rail Control Center & Support, Subways
Where Can a Master of Science in Transportation Management Take You?
By Tony Abdallah
Taking advantage of the Master's program at NYU Tandon School of Engineering was one of the best deciosns I made for my career.
I started at New York City Transit in the Department of Subways as a train operator. In 2002, I decided to go back to school and get my Master of Science degree in Transportation Management at the former Polytechnic University, now the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.
Prior to my current assignment, I was appointed as the first Chief Officer, Rail Control Center & Support in early 2015, overseeing the largest Subways Control Center in North America. This was a great accomplishment and I am confident that the degree I earned helped me achieve these transformational achievements. I offered a good balance of operations and education.
Early on I saw the need for our organization to step into the 21st century and compete in various ways, specifically with the ever-evolving technology and communications protocols. I believed that I could do my part, as an employee, in keeping up with and providing our organization the competitive edge it needed. Getting a Master’s degree was fulfilling, but it also made me more responsible. I was now more confident in my abilities to better handle various operating and administrative situations. This came full circle for me when I was selected to become a member of the American Public Transportation Associations Standards and Rules working group, working alongside transit professionals from across the country to frame operating standards and policies for transit agencies.
There are many reasons for earning a Master’s degree and it’s not a secret that a degree helps you gain specialized knowledge for advancement in your field. As the workforce evolves, a graduate degree shows that you are dedicated to enhancing your industry expertise and credibility. Other benefits of a master’s degree include helping you build on your current abilities, gain new skills, or even transition to an entirely new field.
I decided to focus on Transportation Management as my field of study, helping me to become more competitive in this area. I discovered that one of the best things about getting my Master’s degree is that it helped give me more of an understanding about New York City Transit and the MTA overall. With this degree, I could explore my passion for working in the Department of Subways even further. With the focus and concentration on the Subways Action Plan, Communications Based Train Control, and on customer-centric Communication protocols, I encourage everyone to participate in the NYU Transportation Management program. I believe that this will benefit both the organization and yourself.
Another big part of my decision to go back to school was finding out that all MTA employees get a 40% discount on tuition from the University for the MS programs in transportation, and is still available today. In addition, NYC Transit offers tuition reimbursement.
The knowledgeable professors are student-centered and they opened my eyes to a myriad of future possibilities. My advisor, Professor Elena Prassas, was a great resource and helped to guide me through my program. She continues at NYU as an eloquent ambassador of the Transportation MS programs. The courses provided me with a core foundation of skills that I have brought to my job here. The University is considering the expansion of the program and I am working to help develop new Operations Control Center and Communications based courses.
This is the journey on which the MS in Transportation Management took me. Where can it take you?