Brandon J. Johnson, Ph.D. AE

Brandon J. Johnson
Ph.D. AE '17

What is your next adventure?

I have already fit in some traveling. I just got back from a trip to Rome, Barcelona, Madrid. After graduation, I will start a job with the Boston Consulting Group, where I will be focusing on management consulting with aerospace clients.  It’s perfect for me because my long-term plan is to get involved in leadership and entrepreneurial goals. It’s a great time to be a consultant, too, because I am young and don’t have kids, so I can afford to travel and learn new things.

Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?

I did two internships with Boeing while I was at Georgia Tech – one as a structural engineer in missile defense and the other, in Seattle, doing conceptual design for new efforts. I saw people who had deep technical knowledge, but I also got to meet people in leadership. Both of these internships were critical to me because I met executives and developed mentorship relationships that helped me to see what it takes to be a leader. That helped me to focus more on business, not just the technical aspects of the internship.

What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?

To me, this a once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn a lot about business in a fairly short period of time. I’m particularly interested in gaining the business skills, the leadership skills, and the entrepreneurship skills that will be a part of my long-term plan. As a consultant, I can get a broad perspective on how those skills will apply to my career.

How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you to achieve your goal?

I think Dr. Mavris’s lab is unique even among the schools where I earned my master’s and undergraduate degrees [Stanford and University of Maryland, respectively]. He always encouraged us to look at our work from a number of angles – the business angle as well as the technical part. It shaped my career aspirations. I came to Tech with an entrepreneurial perspective, and he encouraged me to look at the non-engineering aspects, as well as to pay attention to the technical details.

What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?

Don’t be afraid to look outside the [aerospace engineering] box. There are a lot of resources here at Tech that will allow you to develop yourself as an engineer. I tried, but I couldn’t do everything. Sometimes I just breathed in the air, the entrepreneurial culture of the School. Don’t get caught up in the graduate school experience, where all that you do is go to classes and do your research. I got involved in NSBE [the National Society of Black Engineers] and it helped me to branch out. Get involved in entrepreneurial competitions where they give you a chance to develop your ideas into commercial concepts. Students who are attracted to this School have the mindset of taking things to the next level. Take advantage of that.