Gunjan Sharma ’20
MS Management Information Systems
Visa; San Francisco, CA
|Describe your career and what led you to your current position. My work experience before my master’s degree involved working with upper management as a software developer. I worked closely with the delivery manager and the product owner in particular which got me interested in technology leadership. I will continue working as a software developer and intend on transitioning into technology leadership roles where I could leverage the knowledge I gained from my master’s degree in Management Information Systems.
What were your job responsibilities in your internship? How did the MS-MIS program prepare you for this position? During my internship, I worked on two web applications in the tax technology group. By getting requirements from the project owner, I implemented multiple features end-to-end. The courses I had already taken helped me perform my responsibilities much more efficiently by acquainting me with the knowledge before I started my internship. For example, ISTM 615 (Business Database Systems) taught by Dr. Becker helped me understand how to design a database system, ISTM 624 (Advanced System Analysis and Design) with Dr. Gomillion helped me understand the full process of designing a software system from requirement analysis to deploying the system, and ACCT 640 (Accounting Concepts and Procedures) helped me understand the accounting forms which were being used in the software applications that we were building.
What was your favorite course at A&M? ISTM 615 (Business Database Systems) was my favorite MS-MIS course at A&M. Dr. Becker’s teaching method and the carefully curated assignments helped me fall in love with SQL and databases in general.
What was the most beneficial course you took at A&M? ISTM 622 (Advanced Data Management) was the most beneficial course I took at A&M. The course helped me gain knowledge of NoSQL databases and helped me understand where they would be the most beneficial. The project which was an end-to-end application where we set-up clusters, performed ETL for data analysis, developed a full-stack application with a relational database, as well as a NoSQL database, helped give us hardcore industry experience which is invaluable.
Why did you pursue a master’s degree? Having worked with upper management during my work experience before my master’s degree, I got interested in technology leadership roles. I realized that these roles required technical as well as business knowledge. Consequently, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in Management Information Systems to enhance my business knowledge specifically pertaining to the information technology industry.
What advice do you have for someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master’s degree? Before pursuing a master’s degree, it is important to have an idea of where you want to be after the completion of the degree. My advice would be doing prior research and having clear goals for the degree. Also, once you come back to college, it is really important to focus on extra-curricular activities apart from academics because the holistic development of an individual comes through a combination of academic and extra-curricular participation.
What is the biggest challenge you faced in graduate school? The biggest challenge I faced was adjusting to a new environment and prioritizing the most important tasks. Being inundated with a variety of tasks can be overwhelming especially when the environment is completely new. Thus, it is really important to plan your day so that you can accomplish all the tasks on time.
What is the biggest reward for earning your MS-MIS degree? An MS-MIS degree can help you find your area of interest. By getting knowledge about various domains, a student can focus on the areas that they find most interesting and truly strive towards expertise in that area. I believe that the degree has helped me dive deeper into the realms of software engineering and has given me the right launching pad for becoming a leader in the technology industry. Furthermore, it has helped me develop personal and professional relationships that would be beneficial for me throughout my life.