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MIS ice cream social

Get acquainted with MIS Program at Ice Cream Social

November 4, 2014
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Professor Diane Strong

Students who like ice cream sundaes and are interested in learning about the benefits of a degree in Management Information Systems from WPI—ranked #1 by BusinessWeek—are invited to attend an informal information session with faculty members and MIS majors from the Robert A. Foisie School of Business. The sundae social will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 4 to 5 p.m. in Washburn 229.

Business professor Diane Strong says the event helps call attention to the major, one that students often overlook when exploring technology careers, simply because they are not aware of it.

“When students come [to WPI], they’re often thinking about computer science or electrical engineering degrees,” she says. But another option is MIS—how to apply computers to business—where opportunities for jobs that pay well are growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT jobs in the U.S. are expected to grow more than twice as fast as other occupations and Computerworld reports that salaries in the field are rising.

A major reason for this growth, says Strong, is the new—and overwhelming—world of big data.

“Businesses don’t need that much data. They [just] need what they need today to do their job. And companies are realizing if they made better use of their data, they could be more profitable,” she says.

That’s where MIS graduates come in.

“The advantage of the MIS major is that you also take the business core,” says Strong. These classes help students apply computing to what they will need to do in a business setting, she adds.

MIS majors learn how to design computing applications to fit business problems and how to design a database that allows people to do their jobs efficiently, from inventory to accounting systems, or anything else in business that requires computer design applications, says Strong.

The business school’s project-based courses also help computer students develop their speaking and presentation skills, she says. “Every technology solution needs a business story to go with it. You need to be able to convince someone to fund it.”

Graduates with a combined business and technology major often have a financial advantage, Strong says; five years out of college, they are likely to be making more money than graduates with just a business degree. The MIS degree also applies to virtually any industry, from small businesses to major corporations, so there is no limit to where graduates can find jobs, she adds.

Despite the advantages, the MIS degree is not for everyone, says Strong. “This major has to fit the student,” she says. “You have to be someone who is very interested in technology, but also interested in helping people. If you like computers but think, ‘How could I use them to help an industry do a better job?’ then MIS is the right thing for you.”

For more information about the event, contact Marge Gribouski: 508-831-5843 or margeg@wpi.edu.

– BY CATE PRATO