Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

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Alumni Spotlight - Frank Gutierrez (MSSM '10)

Frank Gutierrez (Master of Science in Software Management '10) is changing how customers interact with their bank. As the Executive Director and Technology Lead for JP Morgan Chase’s forthcoming virtual assistant, Gutierrez democratizes banking services by creating free, user-friendly financial investment resources.

“What used to belong only to the super rich is now being leveled for common consumers,” he explains that JP Morgan Chase is able to provide services to the everyday user by developing robo-advisors and virtual assistants, the project that Gutierrez will launch at the end of this year. As Executive Director & Virtual Assistant Technology Lead, Gutierrez manages a diverse collection of scrum teams.

“I work with a team of mobile and hardware developers and a team devoted to natural language processing. It’s challenging and it’s a slow process because, whatever we do, it will have huge impact,” Gutierrez says, noting that each day, JP Morgan Chase supports billions of transactions online and through its mobile application. Any changes made to the app or website will affect the firm’s millions of customers, so Gutierrez and his team have spent the last year getting familiar with user needs and behaviors to develop the most effective customer support client.

Gutierrez has spent his entire professional career in financial services, joining San Francisco Federal Savings then Charles Schwab shortly after gaining his Bachelor’s in Economics from UC Davis. Drawn to the unique challenges of the financial services industry and eager to strengthen his managerial skills, he pursued his MBA at University of San Francisco and energized his coursework by specializing his degree in computer science.

“I was always very close to the tech side and when I went back to get my MBA, I wound up replacing most of my classes with computer science classes,” he says. “In one summer, I managed to learn three different languages and was admitted to the computer science program. In the end, I had an MBA/CS hybrid degree.”

As Gutierrez continued to gain more experience as a technical manager in the financial services industry, he looked to leapfrog to the executive level. A coworker at E*TRADE told him about their coursework at the Master of Science in Software Management program at Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley, a part-time option that didn’t require moving across coasts and that offered a multi-disciplinary curriculum, bolstered by the prestigious brand and network of Carnegie Mellon. In 2008, he received a fellowship to join the MSSM part-time program.

“It was during the height of the financial meltdown and I worked for a financial services company. But somehow, I managed to continue my education in spite of the uncertainty around me,” he reflects. “And it paid off--halfway through the program, I was promoted to be an executive.”

Gutierrez says that the MSSM program helped him meet his goal of becoming an executive in the financial services industry where he’s been a heavyweight technical leader for the past decade. He has remained an active alumnus of Carnegie Mellon, serving the CMU community by mentoring current students and offering support to the University.

"It’s really important to stay balanced in your career and life, and to pay if forward as much as you can,” he says. In additional to his CMU volunteerism, he has spent time tutoring underserved students with SMART SF, nonprofit dedicated to providing low-income students with the skills they need to prepare for and thrive in college.  

The Integrated Innovation Experience

Gutierrez believes that completing Master of Science in Software Management program through the Integrated Innovation Institute was a major asset to his career and enhanced his ability to manage cross-disciplinary teams and grow into an executive role: “I had really lacked the structure of a tech management degree and wanted a way to get into an executive position. Halfway through the program, I was promoted to be an executive."