The Master of Science in Information Systems program at the UW Foster School of Business in Seattle is a one-year, work-compatible, accelerated master’s program designed to train current and future business leaders in information systems management.
We asked students to share with us about their MSIS experience and explain how they have been able to balance working full time while pursuing an MSIS degree. Meet MSIS Class of 2021 student Chelsea Alexander-Taylor, Product Manager at SoundCommerce.
How have you been able to apply concepts from the classroom to real-world applications at work as a Product Manager?
I recently started a new position as the Product Manager for a data platform product and I cannot describe how valuable my classes from the MSIS program have been in my first two weeks. Specifically, having a preliminary understanding of data warehousing and SQL has been critical in my role and allowed me to expedite the onboarding process. When having discussions with engineers, I am better able to understand their explanations, diagram walkthroughs, etc., which is crucial in ensuring they have everything they need to succeed.
Tell us about one of your favorite classes from the MSIS 550 Leadership Series.
One of my favorite classes from the MSIS 550 Leadership Series was the opportunity to participate in Professional Mock Interviews with industry professionals. Following my first interview, my interviewer pointed out that when outlining specific scenarios, I phrase everything as “we” instead of “I.” I thought this lesson was invaluable, as he mentioned this is a trend that he has seen when interviewing women-identifying and POC candidates, as we are often reluctant to give ourselves due credit. I immediately implemented this feedback during my job search process, which I believe made a significant difference.
What kind of connections have you made in the MSIS program?
I have made so many fantastic connections through the MSIS program, starting with the five other members of my project team throughout the year. Each person has taught me so much and have been not just teammates, but friends throughout this year in isolation. Despite being online, with the ability to lean on those five individuals, I have felt more connected than ever.
Tell us about your MSIS mentorship experience.
I cannot say enough great things about my mentor, Clare Megathlin, Managing Director of E-Commerce Software Engineering at Alaska Airlines. First and foremost, I have learned how impactful simply listening to someone else can be. As I’m sure most people can understand, 2020 was an extremely challenging year that put immense pressure on both one’s personal and professional lives.
Clare offered herself as a sounding board, helping me navigate professional challenges based on her extensive career. She also provided invaluable interview tips that allowed me to successfully navigate my job search.”
Share with us how you have been able to balance working full time while pursuing an MSIS degree?
Although it’s definitely been hard at times, the MSIS program is truly work-compatible. Specifically, classes are phased in and phased out which ensured that at no one time was my workload overwhelming. I can also say that each and every professor I’ve had throughout the program has been so understanding and willing to work with each student through any schedule challenges they may have.
It has also been amazing to be able to apply lessons in real-time, taking a skill I learned in the classroom directly to my job the next day.”
Lastly, having my team was critical. If I was unable to join a class or didn’t quite understand a lesson, everyone was willing to take time to explain concepts or walk through a specific problem with me.