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. View all MSIS student profiles here.
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, Elizabeth (Ellie) Evans, Data Analyst at Launch Consulting Group.
How have you been able to apply classroom concepts to real-world applications at work?
There have been a number of ways I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned in MSIS so far to my current role. Operations management allowed me to contribute to the discussion of capacity management for the developers on my team as we have been transitioning to a Scrum format. Data warehousing gave me the tools to optimize the complex reports I work on every day. What I’m most excited about, however, was how IT project management gave me an edge to effectively pitch an internal tool my company will be launching soon.
How has the MSIS program helped you strengthen your business acumen and technical skills?
I’ve undoubtedly become a stronger developer while in the MSIS program. I feel more confident in Python as well as my ability to learn different technologies, such as R, PL/SQL, and optimization algorithms.”
Right now I’m enjoying the IT and Marketing class as a professional analyst. I had held the Google Individual Qualification for a few years in the past and I really feel that this class has already given me better techniques to make the most out of my analytical skills and prior experience.
I think the combination of both business and technical acumen will only become more important as I grow in my career. The MSIS program goes beyond the foundational knowledge needed to become a good leader in technology through its Leadership Series and the focus on teamwork. I am grateful for the challenges that this program has afforded me, because it allows me to demonstrate my strengths, resilience, and problem-solving skills to employers through real experiences I may not have otherwise been exposed to.
Tell us about your MSIS mentorship experience.
I have really enjoyed my conversations with my mentor, Kari Escobedo, SVP of Information Technology at Seattle Mariners. She has given me some amazing insights on what have been my most pressing concerns navigating my career to be where I want. One insight that has stood out to me has been how much room there is to be a leader as an individual contributor and to focus on companies and work that most excite me as a path to achieving my goals.
Tell us about your favorite class from the MSIS 550 Leadership Series.
The “Resilient Leadership in the Age of Disruption” workshop has really stuck with me this year. In particular, Charu Jain, SVP of Merchandising and Innovation, described how Alaska Airlines has had to be agile about how they look at their business during the pandemic. My work as an analyst in commercial sales finance has been incredibly hectic over the last year and hearing about how different businesses have needed to be creative to adapt during a global pandemic has really put that work into perspective.
How have you been able to balance professional and personal commitments while pursuing an MSIS degree?
This last year has been challenging, there’s no way around that. I have been bound to elite levels of time management and I have learned through trial and error how to better communicate and protect my boundaries. Staying organized, staying on track, and taking time to take care of myself with how busy my work has been some days felt like an endurance sport. The lessons I have learned in self-care, flexibility, and what I’m capable of have alone been worth it.
In light of that, I have really enjoyed being able to apply lessons learned in class immediately to real-world problems. There have been a number of times where I felt instant gratification in the education I was receiving because I could apply it to something I was doing outside of class.
On those occasions, being in both work and school has created a virtuous cycle for professional growth. I am excited to be a lifelong learner beyond grad school; it’s been an overall positive experience.