Debbie Uchegbulam ’22
MS Management Information Systems
Cybersecurity Management Certificate
Describe your career and what led you to your current position. Throughout my internship, I learned to be more assertive, push my boundaries and take on roles I never thought I could do. I enjoyed listening in on current mitigation processes, analyzing the risk involved with it in all aspects of the company, and creating new mitigation processes for it. Through coaching and shadowing opportunities with the IT risks and impact team, I grew a desire to learn more about cybersecurity management and IT risks analysis. This being my first ever internship or direct work experience in my field it weighed a lot to reassure me that I could succeed in this field asides from school and I believe this internship has fulfilled that for me. I am also grateful to my department for guiding me through my classes and always being ready to teach me both the technical aspect of the job and soft skills in management. Thanks to them I acquired several certifications in risk analysis, operational readiness for cloud services, and management which has sharpened my existing knowledge in the field and prepared me fully for my role. My internship and the MS-MIS program prepared me fully to take on my new role as an analyst and prepare strategic recommendations for the future.
What were your job responsibilities in your internship? How did the MS-MIS program prepare you for this position? For my internship, I had the pleasure of working with the Information System Department (ISD) Change management team as a summer associate on streamlining the existing change management processes with three main functions of the ISD Change management department at Navy Federal (NFCU) to increase flexibility and collaboration whiles migrating from our legacy system towards the new system. In regard to that, I had to map out processes for our current system, identify opportunities, and design future states for control systems implementation which will, in turn, make the firm “Scalable and Flexible” ensuring the changes to the production environment are successful with minimal impact. I also worked with unauthorized change processes which focus on identifying, investigating, and remediating unauthorized notifications in the IT production environment. My favorite part was working with Operational Readiness Review in collaboration with the cyber security team on identifying risks and mitigation process for IT Operations. I believe my knowledge from working with Dr. Dwayne Whitten and Professor George as the Project manager for Virtu Gem prepared me to attend stakeholder meetings, prepare project drafts and proposals, and be able to collaborate in teams for a successful project. Also having background knowledge in cyber security, I was able to bring great input when analyzing risk levels and proposing mitigation levels for each production, it felt so seamless as my classes had fully prepared me for those roles. Asides from classes, having coaches that were willing to guide me through Career Management Center (CMC) programs hosted by the department, I was able to work as a professional and be fully prepared to convert my internship role to a full-time position.
What was your favorite course at A&M? I truly enjoyed all my classes in cybersecurity management. After my first class and internship, I was completely assured that is the area I want to grow in professionally for now. I enjoy critical thinking, analytics and analyzing problems, and preparing solutions for such problems. Those classes taught me to be prepared before an attack happens, what to do in the face of a threat, and business continuity after an attack. I was able to acquire skills in information systems and security operations, vulnerability assessment, ethical hacking, NIST Cybersecurity Frameworks, Python, and perform some Man-In-the-Middle tasks/hands-on experience of what to expect. I also appreciated the help of my professor in writing recommendations for me to attend cyber-security-related programs to deepen my knowledge and network with people in the field currently. In a nutshell, the classes, programs, LinkedIn certificates, and hands-on projects ensured that I understood and knew how to manage data when it comes to confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data within an organization.
What was the most beneficial course you took at A&M? The most beneficial course to me was working with Dr. George and Dr. Whitten on Virtu Gem project. It gave me hands-on experience on how to work with different teams and cultures. I was able to understand my role as a project manager, and I also learned key skills such as leadership, communication, time management, understanding website designs, documentation, team collaboration and so much more. Eventually, all these skills prepared me for my internship and future roles.
What advice do you have for someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master’s degree? I would say get all the information about the college you want to attend and start communicating with the department and professors to get you ready for the program. Organize yourself based on your set goals and plan out your two years according to what you want to achieve and long-term goals. Prioritize your schoolwork and be ready to be busy, this will mean you will have to learn the art of time management and doing your work before due dates. Finally take advantage of opportunities in the department such as extracurricular activities, professional programs, and research.
What is the biggest challenge you faced in graduate school? Overcoming the fear of starting over when feeling so low and overwhelmed. In graduate school I experienced the biggest lows and highs so far in life especially being so far away from family, but I am so grateful for the department and friends that provided helping hands and the support I needed through it all.
What is the biggest reward for earning your MS-MIS degree? Asides from becoming an Aggie and embodying all the values that comes with this honor, my biggest reward so is getting a full-time job offer as an international student before even ending my degree, it truly shows the investment made in us as students.