MS in MIS 2012
Current Employer: Google
Pre-Degree Field of Work: IT & Telecommunications
Post-Degree Field of Work: Sustainability & EHS Software Solutions
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelors in Computer Engineering
Undergraduate Institution: University of Mumbai
Why did you return to school to obtain your graduate degree?
After completing my Bachelor Degree in Computer Engineering, I worked with Tech Mahindra - British Telecom for close to two years as a B2B XML Designer.
My day-to-day activities involved working with various stakeholders to discuss business goals and how technology could be used to achieve them. This soon fueled my alacrity to dive deeper into analyzing business problems and understanding how to solve them using technology. I soon realized there was a whole lot of analysis that goes with it and several different things to consider. What's more, reading books on my own wasn't enough, but I thought getting a Master degree would give me more exposure to all these areas.
I started by looking at courses and narrowed down my search to Master's of Science in Management Information Systems. Once I had this in mind, I started looking at universities and finalized on UIC Liautaud, as it not only offered extensive theoretical knowledge, but also practical knowledge in both Business and Technology. Additionally, the faculty was very knowledgeable and included a variety of industry experts.
Why did you choose UIC Liautaud?
When I was looking at universities, I did not just go by rankings, but considered several different criteria like:
Coursework & Faculty– I was looking for something that would give me immense knowledge on business and technical subjects. Also, the faculty included many industry experts and guest speakers.
Practical Knowledge- At UIC, students get a chance to work on projects with companies as a part of the coursework, as well as internship opportunities.
Location – UIC is in the heart of the city surrounded by Chicago’s financial hub, meaning more companies, more connections, more job opportunities.
Which course or professor was your favorite and why?
IDS 515 – Information Systems Strategy & Management was my favorite course and it was taught by Professor Ranganathan Chandrasekaran. This course involved theoretical knowledge, in-class case studies from Harvard Business Review, a project with industries in various domains - for example, Healthcare and many more. As a part of the project, I worked with one of the leading PHO’s in Chicago. This course perfectly aligned with my interest, as I was looking for extensive classroom training, and hands on experience in solving real complex problems with industries. The course changed the way I started looking at problems and encouraged me to come up with multiple solutions.
Tell us a little about your post MS-MIS professional background and how you arrived at your current position?
Soon after I graduated from UIC in December 2012, I started working with Enablon North America Corporation in Downtown Chicago at the Willis Tower. Enablon is a leader in EHS & sustainability software solutions. Also, it is ranked # 1 by Verdantix & Gartner in the green quadrant. I worked there for a year and half as a Software Analyst with the Professional Services Team. I was involved in E2E Project Life Cycle where my main focus was software customization and configuration to cater to client needs.
After Enablon, I got an offer from Google and am now working as a Business Systems Integrator at the Mountain View, California office.
What is your job title and responsibilities at Google?
I am a Business Systems Integrator. I partner with internal business teams to define business processes and innovate solutions for performance improvement. Part of my process also requires that I define requirements and designs for system integration with various internal systems. I am also responsible for identifying opportunities to leverage Google’s internal platforms and products to cater to business needs.
My job requires my participation in system implementation projects (documentation, systems configuration, test documentation/execution, change management, training). I also, plan, prioritize, and deliver systems enhancements.
How did your UIC Liautaud degree help you accomplish your career goals?
Three things that helped me to get closer to my career goals were:
Coursework – At UIC the course structure is very flexible, I could pick and choose my courses, the academic counselors are of great help as they will help you chalk out your course structure keeping in mind your interests and concentration. I could get a taste of many different sectors like Finance, Healthcare, Consulting, and IT and then decide as to which domain I want to concentrate in.
Faculty & Informs – The UIC faculty includes many industry experts along with visiting guest faculty to give us insights on the latest news in various industries. Informs is really active and they invite a lot of companies including the Big 4 to talk about their hiring process and current positions that they are looking to fill.
Internship Opportunities – There are several career fairs at UIC that helped me connect directly with the recruiters. I built valuable contacts that gave me firsthand information on what their hiring committees were looking for.
What courses have proved to be the most valuable to you in your work?
Capstone project & IDS 512 have proved to be the most valuable to me in my work.
The capstone project gave me an opportunity to work with YMCA of Metro Chicago where I got exposure in E2E Project Life cycle. We, as a team, helped the organization in their ways of data collection, analyzing the collected data, and dynamically creating data visualizations to interpret that data and coming up with valuable insights in improving performance to achieve organizational excellence.
IDS 512 Information Systems Project and Program Management gave me exposure to Project Management. I got an in-depth knowledge of various aspects of project management like budget, schedule, effort (estimates), resource planning, writing various project artifacts, analyzing complex projects, reasons for their failures or success, and presenting your analysis to an audience.
Are there any courses that you did not take that you wish could have?
I wish I had the opportunity to take Introduction to Marketing. While working with the product company Enablon North America Corporation which is a sustainability and EHS software solutions provider, I learned marketing forms one of their most important pillars. It was great to see the various marketing initiatives and their thought process.
What were the keys to your career advancement?
I have always believed in differentiating myself from the rest. I take special efforts in developing my communication and collaboration skills, and building my network. I always try to keep myself abreast with newer technologies by having open discussions with industry leaders and setting up formal presentations, and I am always open for feedback.
What do you find unique about your career field?
Working in Sustainability Performance Management and EHS Management, I got exposure to a lot of domains like Incident Management, Audits, Compliance, Risk management & GHG (Green House Gas) Effect. Today, nothing is viable. There has been so many social, economic, and environmental changes forcing industries/companies to transform themselves and their processes in order to keep up with these changes. Moreover, there are so many laws and regulations, and companies need to report on the emission limits in order to be compliant. Enablon provides software solution that helps all these companies to report on various aspects of EHS and help them become sustainable. I always wanted to contribute towards helping this planet become sustainable and working in the EHS field makes me feel proud.
Now that you've graduated, what advice do you have for current or prospective Liautaud students?
Dream big. Believe in yourself. Grab opportunities as they come. If they don’t come, then create them. Think outside of the box, and be open to networking as Roberst Kiyosaki the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad correctly says – “ The richest people in the world look for and build networks, while others look for jobs”
Lastly, some advice that helped me along the way in my career decisions is to enjoy what you are doing. Of course money is important, but getting money out of something that you don’t enjoy is not worth it. Don't just set career or academic goals. Set goals to give yourself a balanced life. Follow your dreams and do what you like.
Always remember, success is not a destination, success is a journey.