Manuel Gomez Jr. ’18
MS Management Information Systems
|Describe your current position. I am a consultant in the Security & Privacy division at Protiviti in Dallas. I use Linux technologies to find vulnerabilities in clients’ systems via penetration testing.
What was your favorite course at A&M? Corporate Information Planning (ISTM 643) was my favorite course. While many will see the class as slow, Dr. Jamieson was an awesome professor. He was extremely supportive and gave us great assignments that allowed us to apply useful real-world skills such as: public speaking, working with groups, and “consulting.” He is also very knowledgeable, so I highly recommend that anyone who is in his class ask many questions (he has years of experience).
What was the most beneficial course you took at A&M? With the MS-MIS program you will take out what you put in (the more effort you put in, the more you will learn). ISTM 643 was great for me because it allowed me to take full advantage of my self-motivated, competitive mindset. With the GPA requirement of the program, I found myself playing a lot of things “safe” for the sake of maximizing my chances to graduate. ISTM 643 was the course that allowed me to take risk and try new things. The course was very consistent with both the grading and how many times we did each kind of assignment, as well as feedback. Since there were so many deliverables, there were many grades, and therefore, many opportunities to experiment with new techniques. The feedback I was given was extremely useful and applicable for the next time. Sometimes I exceeded and sometimes I failed, and I believe that this is the essence of going to college (learning what works and what does not).
Why did you pursue a master’s degree? As a young man raised by a single mother, my opportunities were pretty limited. In my undergrad it was recommended that I apply to the Master’s program and I got it! My mother and I acknowledged that this is an opportunity that is bigger than just me, and that I could not pass it up. I figured one day I will get a Master’s degree, so why not sooner rather than later.
What advice do you have for someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master’s degree? Be prepared and if you can, make smart financial moves beforehand. I worked two jobs while getting a Master’s degree and it made things very stressful. I had a terrible eating schedule, I missed morning classes due to graveyard shifts, I was half asleep in lectures, and I was stuck in a grueling cycle. I graduated debt free but the costs were heavy. Money is always a touchy subject, but if you can, plan your financial predicaments ahead to alleviate any potential stress.
What is the biggest reward for earning your MS-MIS degree? A Master’s degree! Everything I have every gone through led up to finishing my education so I can be set with my career. I accomplished a dream for myself and my family. Getting the degree will always be a highlight of my life. I can honestly say that all the struggles were worth it. I would also like to point out that despite many struggles, I made the most of all of it and I was always happy… stressed, but happy!