Jackie Mak ’18
|What extracurricular activities were you involved in at Texas A&M?
During my time at Texas A&M, I was active in many different aspects of campus life. I served as the chief student leader of Order of Omega, a Greek honor society, and Beta Tau Omega, an Asian Interest Fraternity. I was also heavily involved with the Department of Multicultural Services where I was a Department Ambassador as well as the President of Asian Presidents’ Council, a Cultural Council that is tasked with being the voice of the Asian community. Additionally, I served as a Student Advisory Board Member for the Center for MIS as well as the Involvement Director and Logistical Director for the Fusion Fiesta Committee.
Did you participate in an internship?
I interned with BHP Billiton in Houston, TX in the summer of 2017. As a business analyst intern, I served as a liaison between the technology function and the engineering team to gather requirements, develop products, and implement solutions that met business needs. For my intern project, I developed and deployed a mobile responsive tool to access business critical standards and procedures in the field. The project included communicating with field teams to produce a sustainable requirements document and participating in User Acceptance Testing to provide insight and feedback to the development team. Before I left, I also assisted with the handover of application support to the offsite operations team.
The MIS program prepared me for the position with courses geared towards business case analysis and requirements gathering. The skills I learned in class gave me a better understanding of my role and allowed me to complete all the tasks assigned to me by my team.
What was your favorite MIS-related course at A&M?
My favorite MIS course at A&M was Database Programming with Dr. Becker. This course taught me the fundamentals of database programming, but also how to conceptualize and think through a difficult problem. Dr. Becker encouraged students to be self-sufficient and capable of individual success.
What do you feel was the most beneficial course you took?
The most beneficial course I took at A&M was the Information Systems Capstone Project. Over the course of a semester, Dr. Jasperson helped me design and develop a fully functional project that integrated and utilized everything taught in the MIS program. Despite being extremely challenging, it taught skills that were very valuable outside of the classroom.
Describe your career and what led you to finding your first professional job.
Despite knowing that I wanted to work with technology, it was extremely difficult for me to choose what path I wanted to pursue, since there are so many opportunities available in the field. I spent much of my time as a student gaining experience in different areas to see what I would like. I worked for almost 4 years as a computer specialist at the Texas A&M Foundation and I interned for a summer as a business analyst intern at BHP Billiton, but neither industries were where I thought I belonged. After stumbling upon the Cybersecurity minor available through A&M, I discovered my passion for the topic. I’ll be working as a cyber defense advisor after graduation, but I hope to eventually be working in public policy on data regulation reform.
Any specific advice you would give to current MIS students?
My advice to current MIS students is to explore the possibilities available to you. The degree that you are earning will help get your foot in the door almost anywhere you want to go, but you must take control of your path and your future. Start looking into the different fields that you are interested in early so that you can get a head start, and don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith, even if you don’t know where it’ll take you.