Don’t Get Lazy, and Learn for Life

I am enrolled in Drexel‘s MSIS, and have only a few classes to go. Currently, I’m finishing up my pre-req courses to finish the Masters of Science in Information Systems (MSIS). Before this, I completed my MSLIS (MS Library and Information Science), also at Drexel.

Both programs I completed online; part of my work’s benefits includes a hearty stipend for education. Working full-time doesn’t leave a lot of time for attending courses at the actual campus, even though theoretically I’m about 3 blocks from the iSchool‘s building. There isn’t anything more or less challenging about online graduate school, except that the coursework needs to be attended to on a different schedule, and the connections that I’ve made in the online programs are perhaps a little less solid. There’s something to be said for face to face contact with your professional and academic colleagues.

Drexel’s iSchool is highly rated (#3 in IS, #9 in LIS), for what it’s worth. The school is in the Top 100 for national universities, and it is also a major research institution. Compared to the University of Pennsylvania, there’s a distinct lack of that Ivy League absolute passion – I work with Penn grads, and am married to a Penn grad. I can tell you that Penn deserves it’s #5 ranking. Drexel graduate students are excellent, but I’m unsure of the undergrads; within both of the MSIS and MSLIS programs, students have pushed and been pushed to succeed.

Drexel’s reputation is definitely oriented towards IT, IS, and Comp. Sci. When I applied to graduate school the first time, I looked at six programs – Wisconsin, Drexel, and a few others. Part of my goal was to find a quality distance program. The hard part isn’t getting into a program, but finishing it. If you’re applying to graduate school, find out the matriculation rates for the program you’re thinking about entering into – that’s a helpful piece of advice. Drexel accepts about 20% of the MSIS applicants for their Master’s program, and (as of a few years ago), had about 400 applicants a year. Thus, they have an annual class of 80 for the MSIS. Within most PhD programs, things are much more selective – I know that the University of Washington put their numbers out there for the entering classes for both UW’s MSLIS and PhD programs a few years back. I’m always vaguely curious about the snapshots of scholastic competitiveness.

What can you do with a MSIS? Well, Drexel’s program includes a chunk of management courses (budgeting, software analysis, etc.) I’m looking into developing my career more towards data modeling and application architecture, for which the MSIS is well suited – and since my work will continue to pay for education, I’m also going to explore Syracuse University and Boston University’s certificate programs.

“Don’t get lazy” is a good motto to live by. Syracuse has a Data Mining certificate, and Boston has an Advanced Databases certificate – both are just for intellectual advancement: “Learn for life” is another good mental dictum. I get immensely frustrated with professors and their academic gibberish, but any good university still retains faculty with a breadth of knowledge about their domain(s). Wading through the academic muck is annoying, but the opportunity to learn and achieve is paramount.

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