The Brandeis GPS blog

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

Tag: Information Technology Management (page 1 of 2)

Finding the confidence to go from innovator to entrepreneur

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.

On the light of reason and being bold

This is the time of year where we begin to wonder how everything is moving so fast. You may notice more sunlight, warmer temperatures and start to realize that winter is finally retreating. Spring is on the way and with it comes new opportunities, adventures, challenges and milestones. As we all hurdle through the beginning of 2016 and take on our goals for the year, we tend to forget what is waiting at the turn of each new season. For nearly 100 GPS students, the beginning of summer marks an incredibly important, personal milestone: completing their graduate programs.

We are nearly two months away from our 2016 commencement ceremony on May 22. It’s hard to believe that nearly a year has passed since the Brandeis GPS class of 2015 took to the stage to accept their diplomas. We were lucky to have commencement speaker and Brandeis alum Curtis H. Tearte, who took us on a journey through his life and left us with the resonating reminder to always expect the unexpected.

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Curtis Tearte is a leader in business transformation and technology. He joined IBM in 1979 and rapidly progressed through four consecutive levels as director, vice president and general manager. He is responsible for multiple sectors across the key revenue-generating areas of the company. Mr. Tearte also served on the IBM Worldwide Management Committee, which is composed of the top 60 IBM executives. In his final position, he spearheaded the company’s single largest infrastructure IT transformation, designed as a model for U.S. state and allied foreign governments.

Mr. Tearte took the time to speak to all of us and lend his expertise. He expressed how proud he was of every GPS student who returned to school despite the many challenges that arise when juggling multiple commitments. It was truly an honor to hear him speak with such passion and vigor.

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As we reflect on our most recent commencement ceremony, we look forward to what is to come this May. We are already so proud of all our students and wish them nothing but the best. We hope you are as excited for Commencement 2016 as everyone here at GPS.

Read more about our 2015 commencement, or watch the video here.

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#WhatsYourWhy Wednesday with Heather Ryder

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.

GraduDadnMe-169x300ate Professional Studies: I’m here with Heather Ryder, a student in our Master of Science in Information Technology Management program. Congratulations on winning our first “What’s Your Why” scholarship! Go ahead and introduce yourself.

Heather Ryder: Thank you! My name is Heather Ryder. I’m originally from Freeport, Maine, and I currently live in Newton, Massachusetts.

GPS: Tell me a little about your day job.

HR: I work at HubSpot, a marketing and sales software company in Cambridge. I’ve been here for almost five years, and I manage our help desk team. We have a team of six people here in the U.S., and we support our employees all over the globe. I also do some system administration, and act as a liaison between different departments on projects involving IT.

GPS: Great. Let’s switch gears a bit and talk more about why you decided to go back to school.

HR: I kind of went back and forth with the decision for a while. I wanted to continue learning outside of the workplace, and I had just moved into a managerial role at work — that was something very new to me so I wanted to build my skillsets in that area. No one in my family has attended graduate school and I have a huge family (my dad is one of five, my mom is one of six).

GPS: What made you choose Brandeis over some of the other schools you looked at?

HR: I was really looking for a program that supported online learning, it’s so much easier for my schedule. Sometimes I work really long hours depending on what we’re doing, or I have nightly calls with Sydney, Singapore and some of our offices on the other side of the world. I was looking for classes that supported those types of hours.

Brandeis stuck out because Janice, my student advisor, was just so incredible with helping me through the registration process. And the fact that I could take a course prior to actually applying to see if it was a good fit for me was awesome. I’m only taking two classes per year right now, just because of work and everything, and Janice has been great about making sure I don’t miss my required courses and setting me up for success. That was something really important to me because I’m going on this journey that nobody in my family has gone on before, and it’s so valuable to have someone give me advice on being a working professional who is also in school. Her advice is so hands on point and I absolutely love that.

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

HR: As I mentioned, HubSpot has international offices that we’ve opened over the course of the past three years. This is a huge area of growth for us, we really want to go global as a company. No one on our team has a lot of experience when it comes to taking an IT team global. How do you handle communications, organizational structure changes, management and leadership? I realized there’s so much expertise that I don’t have, so many things I’m going up against that I have never experienced before. A lot of the courses in my program specifically tackle these challenges. I’m really excited about all these changes on my team, but I know that I could really benefit from talking to other professionals who have gone through a similar process.

GPS: Do you have anything to expand on in terms of personal goals or how you think this degree will fit into your life outside of the office?

HR: When I first started at HubSpot I was incredibly shy. Now that I’m in a management role and help motivate people on my team, that’s like a new world for me. Just working with other professionals in my classes has helped me come out of my shell. They’ve really helped me figure out how to balance my personality versus the personalities of other individuals. This is helpful not only at work, but with personal relationships, too. I also want to show the young women in my family (my cousins who are much younger than me), that the option of getting a master’s degree is available to them. And show them that they can really do anything: they can go to grad school or undergraduate school, and work, and start a family.

GPS: Why do you think that you’re going to be successful in completing this program?

HR: Hands down, it’s because of the program’s flexibility. As I mentioned, my advisor has been great about keeping me on track with my courses. And because we have five years to finish the program, I know I don’t have to worry if something major comes up at work or in my personal life. Right now, I’m planning my wedding for this fall, so I know that I can skip a term if I need to.

GPS: Can you think of an example of any course assignments that have directly impacted anything that you’re doing at work?

HR: Absolutely! In one of my most recent classes, Strategic Information Technologies, we wrote a paper about the pros and cons of software that we want to implement into our work environment. I used the format covered in my paper to look at six different processes we’re currently using at HubSpot, I measured the benefits of each technology, and evaluated the benefits of each one. That helped us move from six knowledge-based software that we were using to three.

GPS: Tell me more about your hobbies outside of school or work.

HR: I have a six-year-old stepdaughter that I enjoy spending my weekends with. I’m also learning Russian kind of on my own. I love to write and to read, and I play board games and video games to decompress. I also really like to bake and cook, and I love watching baking and cooking shows. So a lot of different options when I have free time!

 

SPOTLIGHT ON JOBS: New Dimensions in Technology Recruiting

spotlight-CHANGED-300x200SPOTLIGHT 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: This position is with a confidential company in Cambridge, MA. Applicants interested in the position will work with the New Dimensions in Technology Recruiting Agency.

New Dimensions in Technology (NDT) continues to be on the forefront of change. Our experienced Recruiting Team has seen industry trends come and go. NDT Recruiters have developed keen insight into companies that are most likely to grow and prosper. NDT also offers a proven track record of successful matching of candidates with client companies by understanding our candidates career goals and knowing the needs of our client companies and their corporate cultures. We have partnered with start-up companies to staff and grow their businesses into FORTUNE 500 companies; we have assisted our mid-size and large client companies in recruiting the most sought after superstars. No matter what the global economic conditions, NDT consistently delivers value to both new and long-time client companies and candidates.

Position: Head of Engineering Operations

The engineering team is looking for a results-oriented person to establish our Engineering Operations capability. The ideal candidate will thrive in a fast-paced environment, have strong project management and organizational skills, be experienced with modern software development process and tracking tools including data analysis and reporting functions, be familiar with agile software development processes, and strong communications and people skills.  The Head of Engineering Operations reports to the SVP Engineering, and is a project management and reporting service resource to the individual development teams and the engineering department as a whole.

Required Skills and Experience:

  • 5+ years of industry experience as software project manager.
  • Experience with Agile Methods (Scrum), especially as it relates to project-level information and reporting.
  • Strong organizational skills and comfort with detailed information, including financial, technical tasks and workstreams, and deliverables/action items.
  • Self-motivated, driven, and results-oriented.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • BS or BA in Management, Business, Computer Science or equivalent. 

Great to have Skills and Experience:

  • High-tech software company experience, especially databases.
  • Experience with specific development environment tools experience:
    • JIRA
    • Confluence (Wiki)
    • Bamboo

Click here to view further details on this opportunity!

To receive full consideration for this position, candidates are asked to submit a Resume/CV and Cover Letter through the recruiting agency’s online portal here.

Please make sure to reference seeing these positions through the Brandeis GPS job spotlight post.

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Mission Accomplished

Gary Smith is a recent graduate of the M.S. in Information Technology Management program at Brandeis GPS. He is currently a Manager Symm Software Customer Service at EMC Corporation.

“Having recently graduatedgary1 from Brandeis GPS with my Master’s in Information Technology Management, I can confidently say that GPS helped me to achieve the goals and objectives I had when beginning this program. I have always enjoyed managing and coaching, and coming into Brandeis GPS I had hoped that a Master of Science in Information Technology Management would help me to progress my IT management career at Egary2MC.

I have learned a great deal about leading and managing in the IT world. My courses at GPS taught me differing perspectives on IT management, operational and organizational strategies, project management methodologies, and managing in a virtual worldwide environment. Classes like “Negotiating and Conflict Resolution” have improved my ability to negotiate with customers, management, and employees, all of gary3which have been very useful to my profession.

The courses I have taken at Brandeis GPS have helped me to communicate technical issues through various mediums both internally at my office  and to our customers and partners. I now have a wider viewpoint of the IT industry outside of my current employer’s perspective. Through Brandeis GPS I have become a more effective, ethical leader and have added valuable skills to my repertoire.”

 

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Brandeis GPS Commencement Wrap-Up

Written by: Kelsey Whitaker, A Senior at Brandeis University

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Amyntrah Maxwell & Rabb VP Karen Muncaster

On May 17th, to the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance”, the Rabb School of Graduate Professional Studies‘ class of 2015 donned their caps and gowns and received their diplomas. The ceremony awarded Master’s degrees in various fields  including: Bioinformatics, Health and Medical Informatics, Information SecurityIT ManagementProject & Program Management and Software Engineering. Students sat proudly and  enjoyed the student and main commencement speaker’s words of wisdom for their future.   As working professionals in their respective fields, each degree recipient juggled work, school, and personal  matters in order to earn their master’s degree.

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Student speaker, Louis Rosa III

The student speaker for the day was Louis Rosa III, who earned his Doctor of Medicine from Georgetown University’s School of Medicine and has over 30 years of experience in the fields of neurosurgery and radiation therapy. However, the day of commencement Rosa walked out with a newly earned diploma in Health and Medical Informatics. After all of his experience, why did Rosa pursue his degree from Brandeis GPS? “No matter how many patients I saw, I couldn’t have enough of an impact,” Rosa explained. Rosa went on to explain the impact his new degree would have on his career and his life.

The main Commencement speaker, Curtis H. Tearte, is a 1973 Brandeis graduate and also a  current Board of Trustees member. Tearte has vast experience in technology and business as former director, vice president and general manager of IBM “My experience at Brandeis exponentially changed the arc of my life,” he explained to the graduates. Tearte is also the founder of Tearte Associates, a firm dedicated to seeking out students with academic potential to become Tearte Scholars through his Family Foundation. His advice to the graduates was, “Keep putting out good and it will come back to us tenfold in unexpected ways.”

Commencement speaker, Curtis H. Tearte

In addition to the speakers, the Outstanding Teacher Award Recipient was presented to Leanne Bateman. Teaching at Brandeis since 2007, Bateman serves as Academic Program Chair and a faculty member for Project and Program Management and Strategic Analytics. Congrats, Leanne!

Congratulations to the 2015 graduates! You did it! Good luck in all your future plans and endeavors.

Want to see the live stream of commencement? You’re in luck! Watch it here.

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Inside Boston’s Ed-Tech Ecosystem: 8 Players to Watch

written by: Caroline Lyle, BostInno

To learn about our brand new Masters of Science in Online Instructional Design and Technology degree program, register for the next Virtual Open House this Wednesday, July 23rd at 7pm.  

The world doesn’t function as it did a decade ago. Everything from how we communicate, read articles, watch television, even how how we date, has been transformed by technology. It shouldn’t shock, then, that in this hyperconnected world where we walk around with encyclopedias in our pocket, how we learn is also evolving.

In recent years, online education has exploded, not only for the convenience it provides, but for the tremendous potential it presents. As a global source of knowledge and hub of connections, the web opens numerous opportunities to enhance learning. Emerging online programs and platforms have introduced new models for connecting teachers, students, and other stakeholders to optimize the learning experience.

The innovation is only beginning. Educational technology presents a goldmine of opportunity for both academics and entrepreneurs. For telltale evidence of ed-tech’s promising future, one need look no further than the astounding amount of capital being poured into the space. In just the last three months alone, investors have contributed more than $559 million into the ed-tech industry, and this past quarter, investments reached a record-breaking high.

“Investments exceeded $1.25 billion, marking the second straight year the ed-tech sector crossed the billion-dollar line,” BostInno reported.

Leading the ed-tech revolution is Boston. The city’s booming tech scene and renowned institutions of higher education have made Boston an incubator for ed-tech startups, many of which have expanded to reach students and teachers around the globe.

Go inside Boston’s ed-tech ecosystem and meet some of the most influential disruptors born here in the Hub. Some are fledgling startups; others established companies, but all are agents of change, leveraging technology to transform education as we know it.

1. edX

edX

Founded by Harvard and MIT ,edX is a massive online learning platform striving to increase access to education for everyone, everywhere. EdX makes Ivy League learning available to all by partnering with 32 higher education institutions including Stanford, Wellesley, UC Berkeley, and several schools outside the United States. Most recently, the company partnered with Facebook for the new initiative SocialEDU, bringing online education to the unconnected world starting with Rwanda. EdX also expanded the platform to Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

2. Boundless

Boundless

Most students are all too familiar with the exorbitant price of textbooks. Quite often, it’s an expense many simply can’t afford. Boundless believes the materials needed to learn should never be a luxury. In 2011, Boundless launched to democratize education by making textbooks affordable for all. Originally offering online textbooks, Boundless has expanded to offer a vast suite of cloud-powered educational resources for both teachers and students. A recent partnership will integrate Boundless’ content library into Top Hat’s cutting-edge, collaborative teaching platform, allowing teachers to edit and curate content in real-time. The company has raised a total of $10 million in venture funding and reaches more than 3 million students and educators.

3. LearnLaunch

LearnLaunch

LearnLaunch is a key catalyst driving Boston’s booming ed-tech scene. The nonprofit strives to support local ed-tech startups in New England, mostly through their accelerator program,LearnLaunchX, which graduated a fresh class of ed-tech startups in May. When visiting LearnLaunchX, Mayor Marty Walsh commented,”the future really is here in this room.”

4. Lexia Learning

While Boston’s edLexia Learning-tech boom is only a couple years old, one company was a pioneer in educational technology decades before the recent wave of startups. Headquartered in Concord, Massachusetts,Lexia Learning is a globally renowned reading technology company focused on improving students’ literacy. Since it was founded 29 years ago with private funding and grants obtained from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Lexia Learning has continually evolved, innovating the most cutting-edge ways to use technology to build students’ reading skills. In 2008, Lexia earned the EdNet Impact Award for outstanding contributions in education industry. In 2013, it was acquired by Rosetta Stone.

5. Panorama Education

Panorama Education leverages the power of Big Data to help schPanorama Educationools address pressing problems. Panorama provides a survey and analytics platform to conduct surveys either online or on paper and collect constructive feedback. Over 4,000 school districts, charter networks, and state governments use the platform to solve such issues as parent involvement, bullying prevention, school safety and student engagement. Last October, Panorama received $4 million from Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s organization Startup:Education and is using the funds to grow their team.

6. EverTrueEverTrue

EverTrue provides a better way for the educational community to connect. Their mobile platform not only serves as an alumni networking hub, but also enables institutions to tap into donor databases and easily fundraise. Following EverTrue’s graduation from Boston Techstars, the company raised $1.3 million, plus an additional $5.25 million in March of 2013. The growing company set up shop in a new office in the Seaport at the end of last year, and continues to show promising growth.

7. peerTransfer

peerTransfer is one of the fastest-growing companies in the Hub. The company saw 400 percent growth last year, expects 200 percent growth in 2014, and has raised a total of $21.2 million.

peerTransfer is on a mission topeerTransfer fix the unfair and broken international tuition payments system. Using peerTransfer, students can simply and securely pay for tuition and fees using their home currency. With so many students getting ripped off, peerTransfer fulfills an urgent need for both students and schools. The company now works with over 350 schools and is on track to process $1 billion this year.

8. Flashnotes

Flashnotes is an online peer-to-peer marketplace for buying and selling class study materials. After raising $1.5 million last year, Flashnotes has Flashnotesexpanded to include live video tutorials, offering another medium for students to improve their grades and/or make money. In the past year, the company has acquired Moolguides, NoteUtopia, and raised an additional $3.6 million. Over 200 schools are on Flashnotes platform and the company continues to experience high growth month after month

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Helping Your Teams Grow Through Coaching

By: Phil Holberton, Adjunct faculty at Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies

Originally from: http://holberton.com/helping-your-teams-grow-through-coaching/

As team leaders, we evaluate our team members and expect them to do the job up to our standards. Sometimes our standards are out of sync with their ability or training. After all, coachingthese individuals have not traveled in the same shoes as we have and may not have the skills or cognitive preparation to achieve what we expect. Therefore coaching becomes an integral part of helping teams grow to the next level.

In my experience, the most effective leaders shine when they are helping others day in and day out. This is where coaching enters the picture. Those team leaders who are really performing up to their capability (in a leadership capacity) are consistently coaching their colleagues (and not trying to micro-manage their activities). Individuals don’t appreciate being managed. But, they are more open to coaching if the coach immediately establishes his or her desire to help the individual meet their established goals.

The first and most important coaching skill is to be in the moment, not distracted by six different things on your mind. Coaching is about How-To-Minimize-Distractionsrespect for each other. There is no more predictable way to show lack of respect as not being “present” or “engaged” during a conversation. I once had a boss whose eyes would become “fish eyes” during our conversations. Do you think I was being heard? Do you think I respected him?

Secondly, a good coach (team leader) will seek to understand by asking open-ended, empowering questions. It is very difficult to understand what is going on in someone else’s head if we ask simple yes/no questions. Questions need to be open-ended so we fully understand the complexity of an individual’s state of mind.

A third critical skill is the need for the coach to suspend judgment and remain reflective and objective. Being contemplative shows that you understand the thoughts or feelings in the conversation. These first three skills will help develop understanding, balance, and respect—all very important ingredients in a successful coaching relationship.

0x600-636x310The fourth critical skill is affirming the conversation. This action brings into focus the individual’s desire to move ahead, whether it’s an improvement in performance or learning new skills and growing as a professional or human being.
These skills, when practiced and used daily, will help you become the most effective leader imaginable.

Help your team grow. Be a coach not a just a team leader or boss.

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My Student Experience

Danita Sutton is a recent graduate of Brandeis GPS’ Master of Science in Information Technology Management  Program. She is also a Senior Business Operations Analyst at EMC. Below is her account of her educational journey at Brandeis GPS.

IMG_1293“I was very nervous taking an online course let alone pursuing my Master degree in a 100% virtual environment. The first day I opened Latte I was full of anxiety and overwhelmed because this was so new to me.  This feeling of anxiety was quickly removed as I read through the professors instructions and read the responses from my fellow classmates, I was not in this alone and I had a community of people who were willing to help me out.  This community of fellow classmates set the tone for the amazing experience I would have as I moved through the GPS program.

The strength in this program is the experience of the Professors, I was impressed with their knowledge in the course they were teaching and they were willing to share that knowledge with us to help us improve and build on the course material and apply it to our personal and professional life experiences.

The material was relevant and dealt with current issues we face with virtual teams, how to communicate and negotiate with them, how to manage projects and the software that we are using now, and organizational and operational strategies. program-hero-itm1

Finally, I don’t know what I would have done without my student advisor, Janice Steinberg, who kept in touch with me, answered me promptly every time I had a question (and I had a lot of questions), and was a great support system.  The Brandeis GPS program has forever changed my life and I am very grateful that I was able to be a part of such an incredible and wonderful program and community of people.”

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