Story in the School of Engineering
Chris Malachowsky '86
Alumnus and co-founder of NVIDIA helps the next generation of Broncos learn from his real-world experience as a leader in Silicon Valley.
When Chris Malachowsky M.S. ?86, computer engineering, enrolled in SCU?s graduate program, he was looking for a curriculum to bridge the gap between his theoretical knowledge from undergraduate studies and the real-world challenges he was facing in his job designing minicomputers for industrial use. His master?s studies provided just that, and more. Malachowsky was able to put the applied engineering skills and knowledge garnered from his master?s degree to further use a short time later, in 1993, co-founding NVIDIA, the innovative Santa Clara?based computer graphics company with a worldwide reputation for engineering and product excellence.
?I think the fact that I got a solid and diverse understanding of the practical aspects of engineering at Santa Clara enabled me to be a more effective manager, leader, and entrepreneur,? Malachowsky says. And, he adds, ?SCU, in the heart of Silicon Valley, was the perfect location for learning, as nearly everyone involved with the program had ties to the great breadth and concentration of innovative technology companies that the area is famous for.? According to Malachowsky, professors and students alike used examples from their actual product development experiences to illuminate theoretical concepts and to show how design decisions affect the manufacturability and performance of products in the field. ?It?s pretty rare to have such direct access to relevant industry experience to draw from during the learning process,? he says. ?That most everything you could learn or discuss was done in the context of real product development, as represented by the actual professional experiences of someone involved in the class, was amazing.?
As a way of ensuring that this unique Santa Clara University educational advantage continues, Malachowsky comes back to campus periodically, helping the next generation of Broncos learn from his real-world experience as a leader in Silicon Valley.