Jackie DiMonte BSGE 2012: Engineer, cheerleader, venture capitalist
Since graduating from ISE in 2012, Jackie DiMonte has gone on to earn her MBA, work for an Internet of Things (IoT) company, and now she works as a venture capitalist. As she explains how her time in General Engineering (since renamed Systems Engineering and Design in Fall 2016) helped prepare her for her career, DiMonte says, “You’re thrust into a very diverse curriculum. You’re able to take up new things very quickly, and you’re also able to flex in and out of different situations.”
Originally, DiMonte went into General Engineering because she was unsure what type of engineering she wanted to study. Once DiMonte arrived on campus, she says, “I started learning all about these different functional areas. I really realized that I wanted to go deep into control systems, so it made sense to stick around in GE and really focus on those types of classes.”
After graduating from Illinois, DiMonte went on to the University of Chicago to earn her MBA. DiMonte also began working for Silver Spring Networks, an Internet of Things company focused on powering the smart grid and smart cities.
Looking at the future of the IoT, DiMonte says, “On the enterprise side, I think… there’s a lot more opportunity. It’s hard right now, because big companies want to buy solutions to their problems, and not just IoT devices… We’re at that weird spot where someone has to break through and deliver solutions.”
Today DiMonte works for Hyde Park Venture Partners, a company that invests in technology startups. She says, “The engineering gave me the technology side, then my MBA gave me the finance side, and when you put it all together it gave me… a comprehensive skill set for venture capital.”
DiMonte still keeps in touch with fellow students from ISE. One of her closest friends from Illinois, Keilin Jahnke is now working on a startup company, Sun Buckets. DiMonte says “I helped her from the fundraising perspective and she gives me some perspective on what’s going on in how they’re building up the startup.”
While at Illinois, DiMonte had to block off her time to balance her extracurricular activities and her schoolwork. “It’s just being very disciplined… The biggest priority to me in college was obviously class work. I was a cheerleader, so that took up a large amount of time, and I worked for the online math program” she says.
“Breaking things into chunks of time was very helpful for me.”
Giving advice to current students, DiMonte says, “I think a lot of times we get caught up on just kind of getting through class, and getting to the goal or meeting requirements… It’s very beneficial to get a more diverse underlying education. Take some classes that seem a little bit outside of your target range, and then challenge yourself that way.”
This past spring, DiMonte visited campus again. She says that for fellow alumni, “Building a deeper community would be a helpful thing. I think that we need to get back and engage with each other on campus. Going back [to campus] is pretty rewarding, and the more active we are, I think the more helpful it is to the students.”
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