Fall 2015 Black School of Business Management Information Systems (MIS) Newsletter

Fall 2015 Black School of Business Management Information Systems (MIS) Newsletter

Fall 2015 Management Information Systems (MIS) Newsletter
The Black School of Business, Penn State Behrend


In this Issue

Alumni and Friends

Faculty Spotlight

The Impact of Involvement


News from the MIS Major

We have had quite an exciting and busy semester so far. IBM Day was a great success and students learned about many opportunities in the area of data analytics. Dr. Amit Deokar, who has developed the MIS analytics track, coordinated this event.

U.S. Steel continues to be an ongoing partner interested in providing our students with valuable internships and career opportunities. We look forwardAsh Deshmukh to collaborating with U.S. Steel for one of our upcoming Innovating through Collaboration (ITC) projects. U.S. Steel has also developed a summer internship program for our students and three students participated last summer. They continue to seek students who have taken Oracle courses. The Oracle certificate is a great opportunity for you to obtain such experience. Mrs. Janice Totleben has been able to obtain a dedicated server for Oracle which gives students greater opportunity to experience a real world Oracle environment. She has created that environment quite successfully. MIS 404 has been added as one of the approved courses toward obtaining the Oracle Certificate. Students can take any three courses of the four offered which include MIS 404, 405, 406 or 407.

Many of the ITC projects require the talents of students majoring in MIS. If you are interested in applying to be a member of an upcoming ITC project team, please contact Dr. Kathleen Noce for an application. There are many exciting projects that allow students to apply what they have learned to solve real industry problems as well as the opportunity to gain valuable experience.

Dr. Ido Millet recently compiled data about employment and salaries for recent graduates in the Black School of Business. That data will be available in January. Students will be pleased to see that Management Information Systems students have many opportunities for lucrative high paying jobs. Check out any MIS faculty door for details.

For those students who need MIS 430 which is currently full, you may substitute the new course MIS 420 Business Process Management (which will be offered for the first time) for MIS 430 in the spring semester. You may contact Dr. Noce with any questions.Kathy Noce


Message from the MIS Disciplinary Leader, Dr. Kathleen Noce

“Providing technology-based solutions with the right amount of technical and business knowledge–that’s MIS! The Black School of Business MIS degree offers three tracks: business process management, systems design and development, and data analytics. Graduates with MIS skills are the candidates most often selected to lead an organization’s large system development and implementation projects or run its information technology functional unit.”


Alumni & Friends


Ryan Barninger, IT Director at Howard IndustriesRyan Barninger

What year did you graduate and what was your major, minor and certificates (if any)?
I graduated in the fall of 2005 with a degree in Management Information Systems.

What do you like most about Behrend? What was your favorite class at Behrend?
The professors were knowledgeable and the subjects taught were technologically relevant and useful. My favorite class was Management Reporting Systems (MISDB 445) taught by Dr. Ido Millet. 

What is your current position? What do you do in your position?
My current position is IT director. In addition to managing the IT department, I do the majority of the programming for our internal systems, databases and websites. We use a variety of Microsoft technologies, including Windows Server. In the past, I also handled user support for hardware and software, but as our department has grown, that has mostly been passed to others.

How did you find your current job?
The job was posted on Penn State Behrend’s Academic and Career Planning Center listserv. I had already completed my required MIS internship with another company and still had two semesters to complete, so I started at Howard Industries part-time during school and became full-time once I graduated.

What activities helped you the most once you graduated?
The experience gained during my internship class directly allowed me to work at Howard Industries, as they were looking for the specific skill developed during that internship.

If you could go back and change anything about your time at Behrend what would it be?
I would probably go for a minor or certification. The certifications offered by Behrend were just getting started when I graduated, however.

What advice do you have for current students majoring in MIS?
I would encourage them to take as many advanced programming courses as they can and are available. There are many programming jobs available and programming skills would help them stand out in the market.

Do you have anything else you would like everyone reading this to know?
The integrated business and computer focus of a Penn State MIS degree really is beneficial. This is especially true in a smaller business where the IT staff are expected to fulfill many roles.


Derek PolishenDerek Polishen, Oracle Consultant at Centric Consulting

What year did you graduate and what was your major, minor and certificates?
I graduated in the spring of 2015 with a major in MIS and a minor in Operations & Supply Chain Management. I also received both the SAP and Oracle Certificates. 

What is your current position? What do you do in your position?
I’m currently working as an Oracle consultant at Centric Consulting. I’ve had a variety of different roles since I first started. My first project consisted of developing and migrating old Oracle reports into a new reporting tool. My future roles will include data extraction and business intelligence report development.

How did you find your current job?
I found my current job while searching career sites the Internet.

What activities helped you the most once you graduated?
Being a student athlete helped me the most after I graduated because it encouraged me to have excellent time management skills.

What further education or training have you do you intend to pursue?
I’m currently working on training tutorials using Oracle Data Integrator and OBIEE, Oracle’s Business Intelligence Suite. In my free time I’ve been learning Ruby and Ruby on Rails, popular web applications.

If you could go back and change anything about your time at Behrend what would it be? 
If I could go back and change one thing, I would have been more involved during my freshman and sophomore years.

How has your certificate(s) help you since you graduated?
My Oracle certificate is one of the main reasons I have my current job. I had hands-on experience and that was something that none of the other applicants offered.

What advice do you have for current students majoring in MIS?
Try and figure out what you want to do as early as possible. I’d also recommend that to start applying for jobs as early as possible as well.

What do you like most about Behrend?
What was your favorite class? I liked the course sizes and the professors the most at Behrend. The help was always there when I needed it. My favorite class at Behrend was MIS 445 with Dr. Millet. I found it to be the most beneficial course that I had taken.


Matt DidianoMatt DiDiano, IT Analyst at Bayer Business Services

What year did you graduate and what was your major, minor and certificates?
I graduated in 2015 with a B.S. in Management Information Systems (Business Analyst Option), a B.S. in Project and Supply Chain Management, and an SAP ERP Certificate

What is your current position? What do you do in your position?
I am an IT Analyst at Bayer Business Technology Services in Pittsburgh. Currently I am responsible for Oracle 11g support and am often building, upgrading, patching, and decommissioning databases on various servers. I also work to produce reports documenting backup failures using Oracle RMAN (Recovery Manager).

How did you find your current job?
I networked pretty extensively, going to multiple job fairs and applying on multiple job sites including the Nittany Lion Career Network, LinkedIn and Indeed.com. I got an internship offer from Bayer in the summer of 2014 and that ultimately led to a job offer the following winter.

What activities helped you the most once you graduated?
Participating in extracurricular activities like the MIS Club and Delta Sigma Pi helped me to polish my time management skills as well as my public speaking ability. Playing on the Behrend Baseball team taught me to harness my competitive nature in a constructive way. All these activities have given me the tools I needed to not only get a job but also to become valuable in my current position.

What further education or training have you do you intend to pursue?
I plan to get my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in the upcoming years and ultimately my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification to move into a career in project management.

If you could go back and change anything about your time at Behrend what would it be?
I would use the tools that I had at my disposal more than I did, specifically the Adobe Suite for graphic design and website development. Use everything the school has to offer you because gaining skills in multiple areas will only make you more valuable to employers. Also, save your notes. Your notes from school will come in handy way more often than you think.

How has your certificate (s) help you since you graduated?
I was able to help another member of the College New Hire Program at Bayer recently because of what I learned during those SAP classes which bring me great satisfaction.

What advice do you have for current students majoring in MIS?
Learn everything you can and be able to apply it. When the interview process comes up, being able to recall what you did is not as valuable as being able to provide potential solutions to theoretical problems. More often than not I was asked questions about how I could use what I learned to solve something.

What do you like most about Behrend? What was your favorite class?
I liked the small classes because I was able to have a personal relationship with most of my professors, many of whom were willing to write me letters of recommendation and help me during the interview process. My favorite class was Dr. Ido Millet’s business intelligence class. I felt that during my time in his class I was using strategies that I learned to solve relevant problems. Often times student struggle to find the practicality of some of the material they are exposed to in the classroom.

Do you have anything else you would like everyone reading this to know?
Put the time in during school and realize that a degree has intangible value, but what really matters is what you do with it.


Richard LewisRichard Lewis, MIS And Project and Supply Chain Management Senior

What is your current position?
I am currently serving as a business analyst intern at Paradigm Infotech (GE Transportation)

What is a typical workday for you?
A typical workday consists of creating business flow diagrams and business requirements for current ERP and Legacy systems within General Electric.

What do you like the most about your position?
I enjoy having the ability to use skills obtained within the MIS curriculum to solve needs of others.

What advice do you have for current students?
Ask questions in class when unsure about a certain task or concept because the same scenario can happen in the business world.

How did you find your internship?
I found out about this position when a faculty member emailed me information about the position.

What were some of your favorite job duties?
Some of my favorite job duties include processing flow diagrams, analyzing and documenting information about routings and work centers, decode programs, and create current business requirements for future implementations.

What is one thing you learned from working that you would not have learned from classes?
I learned how certain processes of one department can effect multiple departments in a company in great detail.

What would you recommend to other students looking for internships or starting an internship?
I would recommend that other students demonstrate to an employer an ambition to contribute ample time to meeting the needs of the position and company. This proves that you are a motivated person who wishes to succeed within their business.

What was the biggest takeaway from the experience?
Working for a large company brings many aspects to what a company does and why they do it. This opens up the mind to what other departments are doing and how working as a whole each section of the business benefits the others in multiple ways.


Morgan KramerMorgan Kramer, MIS And Project and Supply Chain Management Senior

What is your current job/positions?
I am currently serving as an IT business analyst intern at Erie Insurance.

What is a typical workday for you?
My typical workday consists of creating print mockups and requirements for our new application as well as collecting quote documents for our newly implemented workers compensation commercial coverage.

What did you like the most?
I like how my tasks generally change every day along with the work place environment.

What advice do you have for current students?
I would recommend doing more than one internship if possible!

How did you find your internship?
I found this position by attending a recent Penn State Behrend Career Fair

What is one thing you learned from working that you would not have learned from classes? 
I learned how to actively work on an agile project, which focuses on delivering a quality product through structured organization and technological process management.

What would you recommend to other students looking for internships or starting an internship?
I would recommend to always keep your options open and always look to learn new opportunities because most employers know that you might not be adequately trained and they have the resources to teach you.

What was the biggest takeaway from the experience?
Obtaining real-world experience from a Fortune 500 company is something that you really can’t get from taking a class. I was able to network with many of the employees and experience the IT project life cycle which enriched the experience.


Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Kathleen Noce

Kathy Noce

Dr. Kathleen Noce has been teaching in at Penn State Behrend for 15 years. She teaches in the Black School of Business, lecturing in all levels of Management Information Systems and various other business classes. Noce developed the Visual Basic and the Web Design courses when she first arrived at Penn State Behrend. Through her dedication and research in Management Information Systems, she was able to start Partnership Erie, an Outreach Center. By utilizing her MIS 387 class, Website Design and Administration, Partnership Erie provides nonprofit organizations in Pennsylvania the opportunity to launch an online presence without the significant expense of hiring and IT staff technical consultation. The outreach program of the Black School of Business at Penn State Behrend was able to establish and provide complimentary web planning, development, hosting, and maintenance services to the nonprofit community. Students in her MIS 387 are assigned to web development teams where they meet with the client and they are able to learn about the various organizations and the specific requirements of the project. This program gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge to real world situations.

In addition to her teaching, Noce spends a great deal of time in the community. She is the co-chair of the Innovation through Collaboration (ITC) Committee along with Dr. Ken Louie, associate professor of economics. Noce and Louie have uncovered industry projects, faculty champions, as well as graduate and undergrad students to aid in the committee’s objective. Students from different majors work with faculty and look at different problems to find ways to solve them. Currently students and faculty members are working with five different companies with a vast array of technological needs. Such needs include a database and website application for sales purposes along with an application for tracking upcoming events around Erie.

Noce’s style of teaching allows students to use technical skills and theory to apply them to the real world. Learn by doing, one of the three distinct components within the vision of the Black School of Business, remains her model. During her classes, she uses real world examples and projects. She gives students exposure to the needs of the community so that they can apply it now and in the future. Noce has always loved learning new things and she is eager to share her enthusiasm and desire with her students.

Her commitment to quality research and continued service aims to help students develop a social responsibility and service learning through Information Technology. She believes that engaging students through research and hands-on teaching will help students prepare and understand how to become more adaptable.

“Although Behrend is part of a large university, it provides opportunity for students and faculty to get to know each other,” Noce says. She enjoys getting to know her students and building strong relationships. Through her industry contacts she is able to inform students about key internship and job opportunities. Noce is always willing to spend time with students and is often a reference for job and graduate school opportunities.

When she is not teaching or working in the community, Noce enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, hiking, canoeing, gardening, watching sports which include soccer, football, and basketball. She has two adult children who are both alumni of Penn State Behrend.


Impact of Involvement


IBM Visits Campus to speak about opportunities!

IBM LogoThe Sam and Irene Black School of Business, in collaboration with IBM and the School of Engineering, organized IBM Day which took place on the Behrend Campus on September 29. The event was coordinated by Professor Amit Deokar and MIS Club participated in the coordination with volunteer help. The event attracted visitors from IBM and Erie Insurance, which is one of IBM’s prominent clients in the Erie area. IBM’s Distinguished Engineers, Richard Prewitt, Jr. and Elisabeth Stahl, represented IBM, while Mary Jo Ingalls and Karen Forcht represented Erie Insurance. Assistant professor of MIS, Amit Deokar and associate professor of computer science and software engineering, Meng Su represented Behrend's School of Business and School of Engineering respectively. During the morning session, IBM team talked about opportunities in IBM's current focus areas including analytics and cognitive computing. This included discussion surrounding several different opportunities for students and faculty, including IBM Academic Initiative, Students for a Smarter Planet Program, and student internship and job opportunities. The Erie team also talked about their internship program and their collaboration with IBM. A panel discussion concluded this session with an interactive discussion centered on the future of analytics and cognitive computing. The Penn State team gave students a preview of the new course offerings at Penn State Behrend in these areas. This session was followed by IBM’s open booth for discussing opportunities with students. In the afternoon session, the IBM team interacted with the student and diversity groups on campus and shared opportunities for engagement at the student club levels. Elisabeth Stahl gave an inspiring talk about the importance and strength in diversity, reflecting on her own experiences. The day concluded with the evening session summarizing the discussion around student grant awards and career opportunities. The event was very well attended with an estimated 125 students participating throughout the day.


Students Participating in SAS Global Forum 2016 Student Symposium

SAS LogoPenn State Behrend is participating in the new annual student symposium event, as part of the SAS Global Forum 2016. We have an interdisciplinary team of four undergraduate students majoring or minoring in MIS who will be showcasing their analytics skills by applying SAS Analytics tools to big data. The team consists of Vincent Trost, Ricky Grullon, Lisa Giancoli, and Shihab Hassan with Professor Amit Deokar as the team’s faculty advisor. The team will be competing against teams from other accredited academic institutions in analyzing a big data source using SAS software. The team is currently choosing a big data source from eight such data sources provided by SAS, and will then be performing analyses on that data, and will finally be submitting their paper with the problem and proposed solution. Top eight teams from this competition will get an opportunity to travel to SAS Global Forum 2016 in Las Vegas in April to present their project. Among these teams, the top three teams will be selected based on their presentations at the SAS Global Forum. MIS Club is facilitating and encouraging participation in this and such competitions. 

For more information on the student symposium, visit the SAS website.


MIS Club Visits Howard Industries

Students at Howard Industries

Students at Howard Industries On Thursday, October 8, the MIS Club visited Howard Industries in Fairview, Pennsylvania. Howard Industries, celebrating its eighty-seventh anniversary this year, is an architectural signage manufacturer, designing both modular and custom signs. The purpose, for the trip, was to expose MIS club members to real-world MIS experiences and insights.

During the visit, MIS club members met with Director of IT, Ryan Barninger, as well as MIS staff Phillip Marucci and Derek Hayes. Baringer and Marucci have earned degrees from Penn State Behrend in MIS. The visit began with an overview of Howard Industries’ main IT applications, including an extensive review of Howard’s Data Management System (DMS). The DMS is a homegrown, integrated information system, similar to an Enterprise Resource planning system (ERP). Howard Industries is currently in the process of upgrading the DMS, and MIS club members were provided an overview of the upgrade process, including insights into development challenges.Students at Howard Industries

MIS Club members toured Howard Industries’ office area. During this stop, Barninger reviewed all office area IT resources, and spoke about the IT investments in the office, including efforts to increase production and collaboration. This portion of the trip also included a thorough review of the MIS department, including the daily tasks for MIS staff, and the particular hardware and software in use at Howard Industries.

The trip concluded with a tour of Howard’s manufacturing operations. MIS club members were provided insight into Howard’s manufacturing processes, as well as how Howard uses technology to help increase efficiencies. Highlights from the manufacturing tour included viewing manufacturing machines like the state-of-the-art laser printing machine on site.

Before departing Howard Industries, MIS club members met with Stephen Rosen, HR training specialist. Rosen reviewed general best practices for social media and resumes, and also discussed an available MIS internship position at Howard Industries.

The MIS Club plans to take at least one trip similar to this each semester. For more information on Howard Industries, please visit their website.


MIS Club Hosts General Electric Information Technology Leadership Program Members

Tim MelhurishThe MIS Club hosted its first guest speaker of the year on October 22. Tim Melhuish, GE’s information technology leadership program member was present to help engage students. Tim spoke about internship and full-time information technology opportunities at General Electric. He also explained the nature of the rotational program at GE, the new direction of the business as they move to become a more advanced digital company, and the skills that one gains during the program. Finally, he demonstrated how to apply for these great opportunities. This is just one of the valuable networking and possible job opportunities that the MIS Club plans on hosting throughout the year. If you would like to join the MIS Club please sign up on BehrendSync to get email notifications for our upcoming events or email Club President Nick Smith.


MIS Club Information

The Penn State Behrend Association for Information Systems (AIS) Student Chapter, commonly referred to as the Management of Information (MIS) Club on campus, is a vibrant new club on campus that is full of rich opportunities for student interested in information technology. The club holds monthly meetings that include guest speakers and student presentations, along with the chance for fellow and faculty to get to better know one another. Having a student chapter of the AIS brings many more opportunities to the club. These opportunities include attending conferences with student chapters across the nation, information systems competitions, and many more that benefit club members. If you would like to learn more about the club or attend any of our events please sign up on BehrendSync or get in contact with MIS Club President Nick Smith.


Get Involved:

Attending just one (or 10) club event(s) per semester can change your path and perceptions for a lifetime. Previous event attendees have used the knowledge they gained from one conversation to earn their first interview, get a job, change their concept of a specific job, or open their eyes to a world of possibilities. Take a deep breath, and walk through the door. You are welcome here.