The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Month: May 2016 (page 1 of 2)

How to be a successful online grad student this summer

For part-time, online graduate students, “school’s out for the summer” doesn’t necessarily apply.  Many colleges and universities offer summer terms, which bridge the gap between the traditional fall and spring semesters and allow students who are working full-time the opportunity to complete their graduate programs that much sooner.studying at the pool

At the same time, taking classes from May to July doesn’t have to put a damper on your summer travel plans. GPS courses are fully online and asynchronous, meaning that students can access their coursework from any location and timezone. Here are some tips for managing your course load even when those beach trips, weddings and music festivals beckon:

  • Plan as far in advance as you can and be realistic. Look at what you have coming up over the next 10 weeks and make note of any out-of-town travel or big events. Check your syllabus and see when your big assignments and/or final projects or exams are due. If you know you’re spending a week away or have a particularly busy weekend, plan to complete your readings or discussion posts as early on as you can. Be honest with yourself about how much time you’ll need for your coursework each week, and build a schedule that’s feasible for you.
  • summer1Coordinate with your instructors. Let your instructors know about any summer travel plans as soon as you can. Does your course include a group project that you’ll be working on the week you’re in California for a wedding? No problem — many of your peers may be based in different time zones as well. Being in a different place physically shouldn’t impact your studies.

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  • Take advantage of the technology. Grab the Brandeis app for your phone or tablet and access your classroom on the go. Most of the textbooks assigned by our instructors are also available for e-readers.
  • Don’t be afraid of disconnecting. Summer travel generally involves planes, trains and long car rides (with or without wifi). With a little advanced planning and downloading, these large blocks of travel time can be a great opportunity to catch up on your reading, write your discussion posts or work on your final project.

Good luck to everyone taking courses this summer! For more information on GPS courses or graduate programs, contact gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787.

GPS launches master’s degree in Financial Technology

FinTech-heroGPS is excited to announce the launch of a fully online, part-time master’s degree that is the first of its kind among U.S. colleges and universities: a Master of Science in Digital Innovation for FinTech.

The FinTech degree is geared toward creative thinkers who work for organizations that rely on technology for providing efficient financial services and systems. Developed in conjunction with experts in the field, the program seeks to service a global financial industry where digital advancements are becoming increasingly critical to economic success and market growth. A March 2015 report published by Accenture shows that investments in FinTech tripled between 2013 and 2014 alone. To stay competitive and meet industry demands, startups and international corporations alike will need to invest in untapped technologies and innovations.

View a sample FinTech curriculum or request more information

“Financial technology is everywhere, whether you’re using mobile banking to pay for your monthly mortgage or an app to pay for your morning coffee,” said Anne Marando, executive director of Brandeis GPS. “In a world where more and more institutions are turning to mobile technology to transact business, this program gives financial professionals the tech skills necessary to develop innovative solutions and approaches.”

The program’s part-time nature allows students to complete the 30-credit degree in 1.6 to 3 years. The FinTech curriculum captures the industry’s latest tools and best practices while incorporating the rigorous standards of excellence that make Brandeis one of the country’s top universities. A professional advisory board will monitor and ensure the currency and relevance of the program’s courses, which will cover topics in finance, software, analytics and UX design. Required courses will include:

  • The New Economy: Global Disruption and the Emergence of FinTech
  • Launching FinTech Ventures
  • Mobile Applications and Responsive Web Design

Students interested in joining the MS in FinTech’s inaugural cohort should submit their applications by Aug. 16, 2016. Students may also take individual courses prior to applying for admission or for professional development purposes. Registration for the fall 2016 term opens on Aug. 23, with courses beginning Sept. 14. Visit www.brandeis.edu/gps for more information.

Congrats to the Brandeis GPS class of 2016!

The Rabb School of Continuing Studies awarded diplomas to nearly 100 GPS students at its 2016 commencement ceremony today. Approximately half of the graduating class attended the event, which took place on campus from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Faculty Club.

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View more commencement 2016 photos

“Today is the day to reflect with pride on your accomplishments,” said Rabb School Vice President Karen Muncaster. “Not only have you mastered a rigorous curriculum, but most of you have done this while working full-time and while balancing family responsibilities.”

Given the online nature of GPS programs, many graduates arrived from out-of-state and visited the Brandeis campus for the first time. Some students traveled from as far as Israel, Canada and throughout the U.S., including Texas, Georgia, Missouri, Utah and Illinois.

“Anyone can make electricity as they go through the motions,” said student speaker and MS in Strategic Analytics degree recipient Jay Caplan, “They get things done and they check things off a list, but that’s all they’re doing. It is the exceptional individual who possesses the passion and dedication to create light from electricity.” Caplan is part of the inaugural group of graduates from the Strategic Analytics program, which launched in 2014.

Rabb School of Continuing Studies Vice President Karen Muncaster with Chris Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council

Rabb School of Continuing Studies Vice President Karen Muncaster with Chris Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council

The ceremony also featured remarks from Christopher Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council. Brandeis GPS partners with MHTC on its MATTERS program, which is an online tool designed to help measure and evaluate Massachusetts’ current competitive position among leading technology states.

“It doesn’t matter what profession you find yourself in today, or next year, or in 5 years—it’s more important to know what kind of a person you are for yourself, and for others,” said Anderson. “If you do what you say you’re going to do in all matters, you’ll bring greater value to your work, your family, and most importantly, to your sense of self-satisfaction.”

The following diplomas were awarded:

Master of Software Engineering (17 graduates)
MS in Bioinformatics (6 graduates)
MS in Health and Medical Informatics (12 graduates)
MS in Information Security Leadership (12 graduates)
MS in Technology Management (13 graduates)
MS in Project and Program Management (22 graduates)
MS in Strategic Analytics (11 graduates)
MS in Virtual Management (1 graduate)
Graduate Certificate in Project and Program Management (1)

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Congratulations to our graduates!

Countdown to Commencement: Congratulations to the class of 2016!

The Rabb School of Continuing Studies will award diplomas to nearly 100 GPS students at its 2016 commencement ceremony this Sunday, May 22. Approximately half of the graduating class is expected to attend the event, which will take place on campus from 8 to 9:30 a.m. EDT at the Faculty Club.

Given the online nature of GPS programs, many graduates are arriving from out-of-state and will be visiting the Brandeis campus for the first time. Some students are traveling as far as Israel, Canada and throughout the U.S., including Texas, Georgia, Missouri, Utah and Illinois. The university will stream the ceremony for those who cannot attend here.

The ceremony will feature remarks from Christopher Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council, and Jay Caplan, a May graduate from the Master of Science in Strategic Analytics program. Caplan and his Strategic Analytics cohort are the first group of graduates from that program, which launched in the fall of 2014.commencement-photos2

Diplomas will be handed out from the following areas:

  • Master of Software Engineering (17 graduates)
  • MS in Bioinformatics (6 graduates)
  • MS in Health and Medical Informatics (12 graduates)
  • MS in Information Security Leadership (12 graduates)
  • MS in Technology Management (13 graduates)
  • MS in Project and Program Management (22 graduates)
  • MS in Strategic Analytics (11 graduates)
  • MS in Virtual Management (1 graduate)
  • Graduate Certificate in Project and Program Management (1)

Congratulations to our graduates!

SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS: Interactive Data Corporation

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SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS

Members of the Brandeis GPS Community may submit job postings from within their industries to advertise exclusively to our community. This is a great way to further connect and seek out opportunities as they come up. If you are interested in posting an opportunity, please complete the following form found here.

Where: The position is with Interactive Data Corporation‘s data operations department in Bedford, MA.

Interactive Data Corporation is a trusted leader in financial information. Thousands of financial institutions and active traders, as well as hundreds of software and service providers, subscribe to our fixed income evaluations, reference data, real-time market data, trading infrastructure services, fixed income analytics, desktop solutions and web-based solutions. Interactive Data’s offerings support clients around the world with mission-critical functions, including portfolio valuation, regulatory compliance, risk management, electronic trading and wealth management. Interactive Data has over 2,500 employees in offices worldwide.

Position: Strategic Business Analyst

Opening for a Business Analyst who is smart, a big picture thinker, proactive, and a natural problem solver.  This is better than your average BA position because Interactive Data empowers their Business Analysts to ask thought provoking questions (be “healthy skeptics”) to ensure the best results and expect them to explore opportunities that would add additional value.  In your role, you must be able to parachute into a project and work with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to deliver results and artifacts quickly.  You must also be able to determine the root cause of the problem; then derive and document the best outcome for the business via process modeling, functional requirements, and data analysis.

Qualifications:

  • University degree or college diploma
  • 5+ years’ of demonstrated work experience as a BA translating business workflows, requirements, rules and/or, data into written specifications
  • Strong communication, analytical, organizational and teamwork skills.
  • Experience in system and process improvement life cycles design and implementation in an unstructured environment.
  • Advanced knowledge of MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Project, SharePoint, and Visio)
  • Comfortable operating in a high-performing team and managing multiple project/initiatives simultaneously.
  • Proactive, highly energetic, results oriented, with a “can-do” attitude in meeting challenges/resolving business problems.
  • Team player with the willingness to take direction/constructive criticism from management and has an aptitude to learn quickly.
  • Performs with high level of autonomy in performing day-to-day tasks.

To view additional details on this position and to apply, please visit the career portal here!

Please make sure to reference seeing this position through the Brandeis GPS job spotlight post.

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#WhatsYourWhy Wednesday with Tara Holderith

We know that pursuing a master’s degree can be overwhelming, particularly for students who work full-time and are already balancing professional and personal commitments. We also know that every student has a unique reason that drives him or her to return to school and complete their degree.

Last fall, we held a scholarship competition and asked our students to tell us their story — their why — behind their decision to enroll in a graduate program. This series will profile our scholarship winners.

Read previous #WhatsYourWhy Wednesday posts here, here and here.

Tara with one of her students

Tara with one of her students

Graduate Professional Studies: I’m here with Tara Holderith, a student in our Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology program. Congratulations on winning our first “What’s Your Why” scholarship! Tell us where you’re from.

Tara Holderith: Thank you! I’m from Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania.

GPS: How many courses have you taken with GPS so far?

TH: I’ve taken four courses. My first term was this past summer, and I took Principles of Online Instructional Design and Professional Communications. In the fall, I took Learning Analytics, which was a new course, and Advanced Instructional Design. This term I also enrolled in two courses.

GPS: Could you tell us about your day job?

TH: I’ve been teaching for 18 years. I am currently a sixth grade mathematics teacher in New Jersey.

GPS: What was the main driver in helping you decide to go back to school to get your graduate degree?

TH: I had both professional and personal reasons. Last winter, our school principal approached me and started a conversation about pedagogy and instructional design. He realized my passion and challenged me to go back to school. At first I was like “with what time?” But after careful consideration and some research, the rest is history.

GPS: What do you hope to gain professionally with this degree?

TH: Professionally, I want to gain more cutting-edge skillsets. My passion is designing innovative pedagogy according to best practices, so I’m hoping to develop even more skills in addition to those I have already learned in just four classes here at GPS.

GPS: Glad to hear! What do you hope to gain personally out of the program?

TH: I’ve come to the program to be a lifelong learner and learning for learning’s sake. I already have a master’s degree so getting another one isn’t going to directly benefit me financially. However, in terms of my personal growth and my desire to continue learning, this was the perfect opportunity for me and it was directly aligning with what I was looking for.

GPS: Awesome! Why do you think you will be successful in graduate school?

TH: I was just having this conversation with one of my supervisors and I said that when it comes to work ethic, there is no limit with me. Time is never an issue because I will do whatever it takes to complete the workload. I do have three children so it has cost me sleep on different occasions, but because I love educating and bettering myself it is really no bother to me.

GPS: Can you think of an example of any course assignment that you have directly utilized in a current or previous role at work?

TH: I was thinking about this question recently, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are so many different assignments that have actually been relevant. As a mother of three working full-time, time is very limited so I’ve been combining a lot of my work duties with my school responsibilities. I’ve found there is a lot of alignment, which has enabled me to give 100 percent to both my job and school.

GPS: Now a couple of fun questions. What do you like to do outside of work and school?

TH: Two of my children are USA swimmers so I spend a lot of time at swim meets. When I’m not doing that, I enjoy reading anything I can get my hands on, and I like to exercise and hike.

Enjoying nature with family

Enjoying nature with family

GPS: Are you a swimmer too?

TH: I was, but I always say that even though I am not a swimmer now, chlorine still seems to be my perfume and colleagues have even said that they can smell it on me.

GPS: Anything else you would like to add?

TH: Just that I’m extremely grateful to be part of this program. It has been such an opportunity for me and like I said before, I’m doing it because I love learning and so far it has been exactly what I expected plus more. I’ve developed a great cohort of classmates already and I really enjoy the diversity in terms of our professional experience.

SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS: AbbVie

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SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS

Members of the Brandeis GPS Community may submit job postings from within their industries to advertise exclusively to our community. This is a great way to further connect and seek out opportunities as they come up. If you are interested in posting an opportunity, please complete the following form found here.

Where: The position is with AbbVie’s Research and Development department in Worcester, MA.

AbbVie is a a global biopharmaceutical company with the focus and capabilities to address some of the world’s greatest health challenges. AbbVie has the stability, resources, expertise, and passion to discover, develop, and bring to market groundbreaking science to solve the biggest health problems that face the world today and tomorrow.

Position: Bioinformatics

The collaborator will contribute to translational medicine research programs by managing and analyzing genomic data sets.   The main responsibility for this position is to provide analysis for a variety of large scale complex data, including Next-Gen Sequencing, microarray, protein profiling, etc.. Additionally, the candidate will be expected to contribute to data management and computational infrastructure support within the group.

Qualifications: The ideal fit for this position will have a PhD or MS in bioinformatics, computational biology or biological sciences with strong quantitative background and 1-2 years of experience in bioinformatics/genomic research.

Required Skills and Experience: 

  • Coding skills in R and/or an additional programming language such as Perl or Python
  • Comfortable doing data analysis in a Linux environment.
  • Hands on analysis experiences with Next-Gen sequencing and microarray data
  • Be familiar with popular bioinformatics software and R packages such as BWA, Bowtie2, SAMtools, VarScan, GATK, DESeq2, etc..
  • Candidates with working experience with relational database (MySQL or PostgreSQL) or front end programming (JavaScript/HTML/CSS) is a plus ***

If you are interested in applying for this position, contact Dr. Manuel Duval by emailing him at  manuel.duval@abbvie.com or calling the office at 508-688-3732.

Ask the Expert series recap with Barbara McNamara

On April 19, we hosted Barbara McNamara, former Deputy Director of the National Security Agency, for our Ask the Expert series. Ms. McNamara captivated us not only with her deep knowledge of the information security industry, but also by her life story and the doors she has opened for other women in technology.

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A graduate from Regis College, the Armed Forces Staff College, and the National War College, Barbara McNamara was the first woman named Deputy Director of Operations of the National Security Agency in 1994. In 1997, she became the agency’s Deputy Director and was just the second woman to hold that position. Three years later, she received the U.S. Intelligence Community’s highest award, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal. At the time, she was one of the highest-ranked women in the U.S. intelligence community.

“People have been protecting their communications since the War of Independence”

Following an introduction by Michael Corn, the chair of the MS in Information Security Leadership program at GPS, Ms. McNamara discussed the history of information security in the United States. She talked about the critical role information security played during the World Wars, particularly focusing on advances in cryptography and code-breaking that occurred during World War II. She then covered the NSA’s role in protecting national security during the decades that followed — this period was characterized by a struggle to get information security equipment to field-based members of the military. While Ms. McNamara constantly stressed the importance of defending and protecting information as technology continuously evolves, another running theme from her conversation and concluding Q&A session is that those with a background in information security industry are “very wanted” and valued by many industries within the workforce.

“People in information assurance are about to enter the most exciting and challenging times of their lives.”

Our Ask the Expert event ended with a Q&A that addressed questions ranging from the measures current high-level security agents take while traveling abroad to U.S. preparedness for a cyberwar to Ms. McNamara’s career advancement in a male-dominated field. Ms. McNamara quipped that despite no plans to write a book, the title of her memoir would be “In a Man’s World.”

It was a pleasure to host Ms. McNamara at GPS and we look forward to our next Ask the Expert event.

Watch our Ask the Expert recording here

Job Opportunity: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is hiring an Identity & Access Management Administrator to work out of its Hingham office (with occasional travel to branches in Boston and Quincy).

BCBSMA partners with GPS to offer tuition discounts to their employees, and we are excited to share this opportunity with our community. Apply here.

Identity & Access Management Administrator

We have an exciting opportunity for an IAM Account & Access Administrator, will be responsible for administration of various BCBSMA applications security. This role requires experience working with large scale IAM solutions, developing and executing operational processes and aligning tightly with business needs. The primary deliverable for this person is to govern and administer the accounts and access including mainframe applications.

Responsibilities:

  • The Security Administrator will be accountable for initiating the process for creating user access and timely notification of ID’s and passwords enterprise wide.
  • Provide IT Security governance and collaborate with external vendor Security personnel, Help Desk and BCBSMA business area SME.
  • Administrators to provide effective communication and appropriate authorized access.
  • Coordinate and review reporting/tracking on status of access to legacy systems, remote access, and internal LAN based systems.
  • Support requests for remote access.
  • Streamline and ensure removal of all account access for associates and non-associates that have terminated employment or services with BCBSMA. Must also integrate and maintain HR and audit termination requirements.
  • Implement and support day-to-day computer security controls including but not limited to creating access and control, monitoring, security awareness relating to BCBSMA mainframe, Active Directory, desktop computers, and VPN.
  • Consult, Implement, and manage access associated with e-commerce products.
  • Develop and support audit related reporting to business for protected business groups, products & access types.
  • Other relevant job duties as assigned or required by IT/Business to support environment changes.

Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Information Systems or equivalent related field preferred.
  • Minimum of 1 year of experience in Information Technology is required.
  • Experience with Microsoft Windows, Active Directory and LDAP is highly desired.
  • Previous Identity and Access Management (IAM) experience is preferred.
  • Experience with Mainframe, Unix and/or Solaris is a plus.

Countdown to Commencement: Strategic Analytics #tbt

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GPS students from across the country are convening their family members, booking travel, and preparing to descend on Waltham on May 22 for our 2016 commencement ceremony.

We are especially excited to welcome our first class of Strategic Analytics graduates. Launched in 2013 and with 100 students currently enrolled, the Master of Science in Strategic Analytics is one of our most popular and fastest-growing programs.

Strategic Analytics harnesses the proliferation of data in all aspects of business, providing students with the skills and tools to reduce risk and improve performance. It’s important to note that this program doesn’t just meet the needs of a specific field — you will find that it can be applied to most. Our Strategic Analytics students work in IT, marketing, finance, biotechnology, healthcare, research and development, and many other industries.

Filling a critical workforce gap

This year’s crop of Strategic Analytics graduates will find themselves in high demand as more and more corporations, governments, and institutions across the globe begin to recognize the need to collect and analyze large data sets. With the world facing a shortage of analysts capable of designing and executing complex data analysis, experts like GPS’ graduates in data collection, management and analysis are becoming increasingly integral to organizational success.

A study conducted by NewVantage shows that the majority of employers have either been challenged or somewhat challenged in finding Strategic Analytics workers. (Source: NewVantage Partners: “Big Data Executive Survey Themes & Trends”)

A study conducted by NewVantage shows that the majority of employers have either been challenged or somewhat challenged in finding Strategic Analytics workers. (Source: NewVantage Partners: “Big Data Executive Survey Themes & Trends”)

Strategic Analytics at Brandeis

The Strategic Analytics program is led by Steve Gentile, who has more than 25 years of IT project management experience in the financial services industry. To complete the comprehensive 30-credit program, students must take seven core courses and three electives. Diverse in nature and subject matter, the courses focus on collecting, storing, securing, mining and analyzing data, and using that data to inform organizational decision-making.

We are proud of our 2016 Strategic Analytics students who understand the strategic potential of big data and are equipped to translate analysis into effective action. We know they are all are poised to lead today’s organizations to new standards of efficiency and competitiveness. Congratulations to all our graduates!

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