UConn senior, Katie Cavanaugh is pursuing a dual degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) and Political Science. Although, when she began her college career, she only had one major: Political Science. It was through her work in social science research that Katie discovered her interest in information systems.
“At the time, I had no technical knowledge of how any of this worked: I was essentially just following directions with little ability to understand why a result was the way it was. I became interested in learning more about the ‘why,'” Katie said.
In her research, Katie worked extensively using databases, performing data management and cleaning functions, and conducting data analysis. Because of this, Katie said she was intrigued to learn more about technology, particularly in data management and analytics, and she saw the MIS major as the perfect way to do so.
On campus, Katie is involved as a project leader for the UConn Consulting Group and representing the student voice in the School of Business Undergraduate Curriculum Revision Task Force.
In information technology, Katie is interested in exploring how businesses can align unique products or services with the use of technology to succeed. The dynamic of business processes has completely shifted because technology is so available and financially obtainable, she said.
“I firmly believe the most pressing strategy question facing any business today is how to leverage technology, specifically data, to gain a competitive advantage,” Katie said.
This past summer, Katie worked as a Data Analytics BLP-Intern for Synchrony Financial at their Innovation Station in Chicago. Katie said this real-world job experience allowed her to take the technical skills she has learned in classes and apply them at the next level.
“Working in the Innovation Station influenced me to really think of technology as a driving force for innovation within an organization, instead of the support function it once was,” Katie said of her experience.
After graduation, Katie will be working as a Management Consulting Analyst for Accenture’s Strategy division in Hartford. She said that she is very excited to begin her work in the field and to gain an even greater understanding of how technology affects different organizations. Additionally, Katie said she hopes to get involved in the startup community because it is where the majority of new technology development and application is happening.
As for her ultimate goal in the field, Katie hopes to pursue an advanced degree down the line and become a professor. She said, “I’m not joking when I say I love college and never want to leave!”
She encourages younger MIS students to take advantage of internship opportunities to build skills and get hands-on experience in different areas of the field. MIS is unique in that it offers students a chance to build technical skills in a variety of areas, which is great, she said.
“I would suggest looking at internships as a chance to explore these different areas in depth and, ultimately, discover which area interests you most in terms of your long-term career goals,” Katie said.
Katie attributes much of her success to UConn. She said it has uniquely prepared her for her career in ways that no other university would have.
“The realities and, at times, challenges of navigating a large, research institution have prepared me to face my career with the same grit and passion I see on campus every day,” Katie said.
Over the past four years, UConn has given Katie many one-of-a-kind opportunities, such as – taking part in a multidisciplinary academic program to build an uncommon skill set, working with a diverse group of students as a student leader, and connecting with dedicated alumni who she believes have been instrumental in shaping her career path. Katie is looking forward to her life as a UConn alum and bringing the skills she’s learned at the university into her professional life.