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 reflect on their MSIS academic experience and the impact it has had on their professional development and career. Meet MSIS Class of 2021 student, Keerthi Gangula, Product Manager, Zonar Systems.
Can you share with us your professional background and what inspired you to pursue an MSIS degree?
Before Foster, I worked as a product owner at Cognizant. With a total of 7 years of IT experience, I have held multiple roles such as programmer, business development analyst, and product owner.
Having acquired significant technical and business experience in my prior roles in the IT industry, I felt it was essential to possess complete knowledge of data interpretation, business concepts, and management strategies in order to fulfill my aspirations of becoming a data-driven product manager. My interest in grad school has grown exponentially since I reviewed the exciting curriculum offered by the University of Washington in the MSIS program, especially core courses such as ‘Business Data Mining & Analytics’, ‘Cloud Computing’ & ‘IT Strategy & Product Management’.
What experiences from the MSIS program helped you to enhance your business acumen and leadership skills?
MSIS curriculum has an interesting mix of technical and business concepts that are essential for the current market – cloud computing, business & marketing data analytics. One more interesting factor about the program is the MSIS Leadership Series – it provided multiple opportunities to meet the industry leaders (intergenerational leaders and pioneers of the Seattle tech community) and learn from them (the strategies and principles to lead the digital transformation).
Joining Foster was the best decision I have made in 2020. Even with the sudden transition into the virtual setting, Foster has provided me with an impeccable experience and advanced my learning through its Women in Tech Leadership Series & Foster the Product Series.
Tell us about one of your favorite aspects from the MSIS 550 Leadership Series.
The MSIS Mentorship Program offered in MSIS 550 is one of my favorite aspects.
It gave me a chance to connect with an industry leader and constantly assess my capabilities and growth areas to prepare myself for upcoming challenges. It also helped to bridge the gap between academic concepts and real-world practices.”
Also, I learned how to approach the problem from a user perspective and rationalize my thought process, which is a key quality of a product manager.
I am fortunate to have a mentor who is empathetic and compassionate. My mentor, I-Chiang Chen, Director of Engineering at Nordstrom, helped me understand how to use my previous experience and specialized knowledge I gained from the MSIS program to fulfill my aspirations. As a product manager, I learned how important it is to always put customers at the center of decision-making and how to effectively use data at every step to validate the success of the product.
What kind of connections have you made in the MSIS program?
With the virtual setting, I was skeptical whether I would get a chance to network with my classmates and alumni. But MSIS has provided so many opportunities such as community chats and networking events which helped me to make lasting connections, especially with my teammates, who are a very supportive and amazing group.
Can you share with us how you believe an MSIS degree will give you a competitive advantage?
MSIS has allowed me to learn some of the cutting-edge skills such as data analytics and data mining using R & Python, data warehousing, AWS cloud, marketing analytics, and cybersecurity which helped me to stand out compared to others. These are also some of the skills that I can carry for the rest of my career as they helped me acquire the technical expertise required for a data-driven product manager.