James Powers ’17
|What extracurricular activities were you involved in at Texas A&M? During my time at A&M, I was a member of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and an officer in Business Information Technology Students (BITS). BITS is a fantastic organization that brings companies and students together to network and discuss topics in the tech industry. During my senior year, I served on the Center for the Management of Information Systems (CMIS) Student Advisory Board. CMIS is responsible for unifying students, faculty, and industry members. Through their work, students can better engage within the MIS major and with professionals in the IT field.
Did you participate in an internship? What were your job responsibilities and how did the MIS program prepare you for that role? I interned with Halliburton and had two projects to deliver during my time there, each focusing on a different facet of the IT realm. The first was to suggest and implement changes on the IT infrastructure to improve security. The second focused on IT project management. Both required analytical skills, resourcefulness, and an understanding of the IT and business environments. Project topics were assigned but it was my responsibility to research, network, and present my findings. The MIS program aided my success by offering courses that drive students to learn these skills through engaging projects and case competitions.
What was your favorite MIS-related course at Texas A&M? Database Programming (ISYS 315) was my favorite course because it introduced me to SQL. Not only will this skill be the foundation of my career, but it is a fascinating topic that uses logic to store, manipulate, and retrieve data.
What do you feel was the most beneficial course you took? Management Information Systems (ISYS 410) was the most beneficial course because it combines one’s technology background with business topics. As students with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) degrees, our exposure to business strategy increases the value of our degree. This class helped me to look at decisions, not only from the IT perspective, but also from the viewpoint of the entire business.
Describe your career and what led you to finding your first professional job. I began in Mays Business School thinking I wanted to study accounting and this did not change until I took my first MIS course. I had always known that I wanted a business degree, but I had also loved technology. When I interned with Halliburton, I had the opportunity to meet a couple of consulting teams, and I was very intrigued by the work they were doing. So I decided to follow the consulting route. The MIS program has paved the way for me to experience a variety of career paths and that’s reason I was so glad with my degree choice.
Any specific advice you would give to current MIS students? An MIS degree is remarkable because it provides a variety of job opportunities. Whether someone prefers the technical side, the business side, or a combination of the two, there are many career path options. The MIS program is fortunate to have faculty with an abundance of professional experience. Many can provide answers regarding career paths. The small MIS class sizes provide the opportunity to engage with professors, which is something students should take advantage of while still in school.