Irina Gaziyeva, Administrative Assistant at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Program: Project and Program Management MS
Graduation: May 2022

Obtaining a Master’s degree was always in my mind, but I never knew what I wanted to pursue. In 2019, I decided to make some personal changes, focus on growth and self-improvement, enhance my self-awareness, and develop a new sense of direction and motivation. I knew that investing in education would boost my confidence and would allow me to make new connections and expand my knowledge. In the fall of that year, reflecting on my work and life experience, I decided that I wanted to pursue a project management degree. After extensive research, I stumbled upon the Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies program- it was a perfect fit for me. 

I found a program (Project and Program Management) that I was interested in, and I could still have a full-time job and have time to take classes. My life is like a project itself, and I am its manager. Like on a project, I set goals for myself and execute them. I consider all aspects and sometimes have to take risks to achieve a goal. I am not afraid to face my fears or the unknown because I will either grow through the process or become more resilient no matter what the outcome is. My desired result is to absorb all the possible information and knowledge from this program and apply them to my personal and professional goals. I will never stop challenging myself because it helps me become more assertive and wiser. I believe in my potential and my ability to turn that potential into success.

The past two years have been challenging for all of us. Pandemic, social injustice, and elections, to name a few. The pandemic has forced us to adapt to the new norm. I had to adjust to working from home and continue to take my classes and, at the same time, maintain sanity during these difficult times. I am grateful that I was in school during these two years because it allowed me to stay focused, self-motivated, and accountable. 

All ten courses that I had to take taught me so much, and I enjoyed every class, especially our weekly class discussions. They were engaging and full of compelling and unique ideas—the interactive dialogues among peers and the instructor. Every classmate brought their individual life and work experience to these discussions, and each instructor challenged us to think outside the box. I have met some fantastic people along the way and learned so much about the program and myself. 

My plan after graduation is to apply my newly gained knowledge in my career. I currently work in higher education and would like to continue working in academia to help students grow. My goal is to impact their lives and ensure that they are going to succeed in the real world. 

My advice to incoming students is not to be afraid to take chances, be open-minded and develop practical time management tips and strategies to balance life, work, and school.

Irina is the 2022 Rabb School diploma ceremony student speaker

For more information on the Project and Program Management MS or other online master’s degrees available at GPS, please visit brandeis.edu/gps.