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 reflect on their MSIS academic experience and share how they have been able to balance personal and professional commitments while pursuing an MSIS degree. Meet MSIS Class of 2021 student, Laura Bettinger, Manager of Delivery Excellence at McKinsey & Company.
Tell us about your professional background and why you pursued an MSIS degree.
I have experience running large-scale programs and leading engineering, analytics, product, and operations teams to transform organizations.
One of the things that drew me to this program was the focus on a broad range of technical concepts like cloud architecture, IT security, big data processing, and machine learning. This technical depth has given me a greater perspective on strategic priorities in my role.
The MSIS program has helped me build out my technical, strategic, and presentation skills to make me a more well-rounded tech leader.
What experiences in MSIS helped you to open doors to new opportunities?
There are many professional development resources in the MSIS program that helped me craft my professional “story” to reflect my strengths and experiences. This coaching allowed me to connect with McKinsey & Co via LinkedIn about my current role, which has been an awesome fit!
Tell us about one of your favorite classes from the MSIS 550 Leadership Series.
One of the MSIS 550 assignments was to conduct a leadership interview with my mentor. During this interview, my mentor shared a simple yet profound philosophy on managing failure—every single decision a leader makes fails at least one of three groups they’re beholden to: customers, employees and/or the business. Successful leaders are aware of which group(s) they fail with every decision and take steps to mitigate the effects of that failure. Learning from this philosophy on failure, I will be mindful of the impact I have throughout my career when I make decisions that fail my customers, my team, and the business.
What connections have you made in the MSIS program?
A highlight of the program was my team. All MSIS students are broken into teams of 5-6 students and those teams work together through the duration of the program. My team is smart, creative, and has a diverse range of perspectives and skills. I’ve learned so much from my teammates over the last year personally and professionally, and hope we stay lifelong friends after our impending graduation.
What are the benefits of pursuing a master’s degree while working full time?
There were many instances throughout the program where I was able to directly apply concepts that I learned in class. As someone who learns visually and kinetically, that was incredibly valuable.”
I did have reservations about starting a master’s program while juggling some difficult life events, a one-year-old, and a full-time job. Those concerns subsided once I got to know the exceptional MSIS program staff, who are all thoughtful and accommodating.