Faces of GPS | As told by Anthony Dutra

I’ve always felt a desire to be at the forefront of change. As the first in my family to graduate from college, I soon realized my ambitions as an innovator. My undergraduate degree in marketing, but a knack for finance and love for technology set me on a road less traveled and made my journey into entrepreneurship clear.

Pursuing a master’s degree in Information Technology Management through Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies gave me the confidence to begin development on my own venture. The online classroom format allowed me the flexibility to learn even with my busy schedule. The content is relevant and applicable to real world project scenarios, and when it came time to share my own knowledge with my classmates, I found that the unique online classroom forums fostered collaboration so well that I was able to both gain an understanding of course content while drawing business experience from the global student cohort.

Readiness + Opportunity = Success

As many entrepreneurs recognize, when you enlist in the responsibility of developing a new venture, the once luxurious downtime hours you used to take advantage of quickly become a dwindling resource. You find yourself constantly on the move while simultaneously doing a million different tasks at once.

The accessibility and flexibility of the online courses at GPS allowed me to find that proper balance between learning and working. I could spend most of my mornings catching up on the required weekly readings, assignments, and postings, while in the evening; I can focus my efforts on my work.

Much of the time, I found what I was learning fit nicely into helping develop my venture. The relevant and business focused content is another strong point of the IT management program. The blend of strategic information technology and soft-skill focused courses empowers students with critical skills by focusing much of their curriculum on developing preparedness, leadership, and communication abilities. In one course, a student could be learning to negotiate effectively through role-playing with classmates online, while in another, they could be managing a small team of professionals in dissecting a business via case studies.

The amalgam of information technology and business knowledge is of exceptional value for students, especially those like me, who are working to start their own businesses in the tech industry.

The true essence of this program, however, is the experience sharing found within the classroom forums. The moderate classroom sizes seem to always be with a cohort of students from various geographical locations, all with a rich history of experience. Having the ability to engage with these classmates can be initially difficult as writing a post back and forth online feels foreign to most that are used to the traditional physical classroom setting. Much of (if not all) the communications that I do in regards to my venture is virtual. My venture’s advisory board members are in various locations around the world, therefore most of deliverable comprehension and directives must be executed over email. What these forums allow a student to do is practice communicating and sharing their passion and knowledge across a virtual platform in order to generate value-driven conversations.

All in all, I feel a sense of pride as I take a step back and examine how the IT Management program has prepared me to start my own business. The flexible course structures, the relatable material, and the dynamic classroom environment merge together to fashion a transformative learning experience, one that gives any young innovator the confidence to become a successful entrepreneur.

Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Find more Faces of GPS stories here.