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, Partha Ray, Director of Business Applications at Nintex.
How have you been able to apply classroom concepts to real-world applications?
I was able to apply quite a few things from my time at the MSIS program so far straight away into my current role. Some highlights below:
- I was able to start having meaningful conversations with our internal data teams, help identify which data points were more relevant, and ensured my team was able to make this data available.
- I was also able to apply my learnings from our cybersecurity as well as GRC papers to not only our system analysis and design processes, but also for Nintex IT’s ongoing efforts to maintain our SOC2 certification. I was also able to meet the requirements of my ISACA CISM certification as a result.
- My experience from our database courses, as well as our cloud computing courses, has already empowered me to have meaningful conversations with our cloud engineers and senior developers to plan out the architecture of the next evolution of our customer portal.
How has the MSIS program equipped you with the technical skills and business acumen to succeed in a leadership role?
Coming from a Business Analysis and Project Management background, I always felt confident with the business side of my IT leadership role. The key area of concern for me was whether I am equipped well enough to be able to scale out my team, and the technology supporting the business applications under my purview, to take on bigger challenges as Nintex grew further. This is why the MSIS program appealed to me from the start. My time in the program has already equipped me with a lot of knowledge. I feel as a result I have been able to boost the business and technical component of my leadership role.
I achieved my promotion to the Director role halfway through the MSIS program! I strongly believe that the MSIS program has provided me with a great basis to further my career into an eventual VP / CIO role.”
And a shoutout must go to Foster’s Career Services team in quarter one which helped me not just to prepare my resume, my LinkedIn profile, but also prepared me with the skills I needed to sell myself and network efficiently. I feel confident that my career horizon has broadened as a result!
What kind of connections have you made in the MSIS program?
First off, I have straight away built lifelong friendships with my immediate team. Being able to navigate the MSIS program side by side was a privilege, and together we have achieved a lot. The concept of the team remaining the same throughout the program was a key highlight of the program for me. In addition, despite the pandemic, I feel through our class participation and even some of the career services programs run in quarter one meant I was able to connect with others in my cohort and beyond. I am also glad that I have been able to connect with our awesome faculty members and industry leaders from companies such as Costco, Microsoft, Amazon. One of the highlights for me was connecting with my mentor, Lisa, as well as CIO’s of Proliance Surgeons and Providence Health through the Professional Mock Interviews.
Tell us about your MSIS mentorship experience.
I feel lucky to have Lisa Wernli, EVP and CIO of Wireless Advocates and Car Toys, as my mentor. I have had a lot of meaningful conversations with her about IT leadership – we never run out of things to talk about for our 1hr meetings every two weeks! I was able to talk to her about a lot of challenges I faced at work, and our discussions have provided me with a lot of key takeaways. I strongly believe that my conversations with Lisa helped me with my transition after achieving the Director role, and the takeaways will continue to be invaluable as I go forward in my career.
How have you been able to balance professional and personal commitments while pursuing an MSIS degree?
My professional and personal commitments revolved around full-time work during a pandemic and two kids (aged 7 and 2) – also at home due to the pandemic. There is no point in lying and saying it was a breeze – but I feel the load was manageable through advanced planning on my part and through the support of my team and the professors / MSIS team as needed.
I strongly believe there is never a bad time to pursue higher education. This was one of the reasons I committed to the MSIS program this year. Sometimes the thought occurred to me that maybe it would have been easier if I got my master’s degree done straight after my bachelor’s degree. However, because I am employed full time, I was able to pretty much apply what I learned in class on Wednesday night, to a real-world professional scenario on Thursday morning. I would say this is the ultimate benefit of pursuing this degree while working.