A Reflection: OPIM Student & Alumni Networking Dinner

On Thursday, March 7th, the UConn Operations & Information Management (OPIM) Department held its third annual OPIM Alumni & Student Networking Dinner. The event, held at the UConn Graduate Business Learning Center, was attended by 12 alumni, 8 faculty, and 22 students, all with a background in management information systems (MIS), business data analytics (BDA), and/or business technology (BT). During the dinner, students table-hopped after each course of the meal (three in total) and networked with professionals from a variety of fields. The event was meant to promote professional development by placing students in an environment where they could network with UConn alums, receive advice, and develop valuable professional relationships.

As a senior MIS student, myself, attending the networking dinner gave me insight as to how altruistic UConn MIS, BDA, and BT alumni are. Many of the students who attended the dinner were underclassmen, but their initial anxieties and insecurities regarding networking were assuaged by the encouragement of the professionals around them. Many UConn alumni who have graduated with an OPIM background now have full-time positions at companies like Travelers and Cigna, yet they spoke to students as if they were reliving their own undergraduate experiences. Alumni like giving back because they have been in our shoes, before, a theme that was recurrent throughout the event. “I like informing students of the different opportunities available at the company I work for and informing students of the different career paths they can take as an MIS major,” said Anuj Desai, a Performance Data Engineering Scrum Master at Cigna. “As an MIS student, I didn’t really know what the corporate organization looked like, so it’s always good to have events like these.”

As for the perspective of current students, many MIS majors who attended the dinner left with a greater understanding of the information technology industry, the skills desired by certain companies, and interview advice. “The event really helped with my networking skills,” said Andrew Taylor (MIS ’21), a statement that resonated with many of the other students I spoke with. “They gave me a lot of insightful information on what companies are looking for in someone who has an MIS background,” added Andrew Eastman (MIS ’20). “A lot of the people I talked to were like, ‘Yes, this is the super hot thing! This is the skill to know right now!'”

During the networking dinner, Jonathan Moore, the MIS Program Director of the OPIM Department, thanked attending alumni for their continued contribution to the MIS major. As adjunct professors, mentors, and points of contact for current MIS students, we appreciate you! Thank you for coming to the dinner! We hope to see you again, next year!