Ignacio Cort Todoli, MS '10 Engineering Management Systems

The career path that Fullbright Scholar Ignacio Cort Todoli is pursuing at Columbia Engineering breaks new ground along a path first trod by his grandfather and father. The journey began when he was a child in Valencia, Spain, launched by conversations with his elders about their work.
Cort, MS’10 Engineering Management Systems, forged the skills and interests of both men to create his own aspirations to apply telecommunications to an industrial, rather than consumer, environment. During his undergraduate studies in telecommunications engineering at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, he says “I realized I did not want to do what most of the telecommunication engineers do after their studies: work for a cell phone company or channel their career into programming and telematics. What I wanted to do is to apply telecommunications to an industrial environment.
“My grandfather had a chemical factory and, when I was a child, he always talked to me about the factory and the different processes that were done there. My father worked as a freelance consultant for many years of his life and he always talked about his job at lunch, planting the seed of what, after many years, has become my objective.”
This realization led Cort, now 29, to leave his native Spain for New York and graduate school at Columbia University.
“Spanish universities are not as academically advanced and specialized and do not go in depth as the American ones,” he says, adding that the distinctions don’t stop there. “The American business culture is more dynamic than the European. They take more risks and pursue greater strategic objectives; that is the reason why they apply technological solutions sooner (in the U.S.) than here (in Spain). Learning first-hand from them presents greater project possibilities for me.”
While here, he has also picked up some practical and rewarding experience, particularly working on a class group project for Better Place, a global provider of electric vehicle services.
“The work we are doing for Better Place will help them to develop their business of electric cars in California,” he says. “They are trying to introduce electric cars in our society so we can cut our dependence on oil and making a better world with less pollution.”

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