Fall 2017 Black School of Business Management Information Systems (MIS) Newsletter

In this issue:

An MIS Welcome!

This semester has been busy and exciting. The Management Information Systems (MIS) major and minor continue to grow. We are offering courses in the Data Analytics track, and our newest faculty member, Dr. Babajide Osatuyi, assistant professor of MIS, is starting in the spring semester. Dr. Osatuyi will teach MIS 345 Introduction to Data Analytics and MIS 415 Social Media Analytics. He has extensive experience and research in the area of analytics and brings great expertise to our program.

The Oracle certificate, courses, and opportunities are growing, and our Oracle industry partnerships deepening. An Oracle Financials course is currently under development, and Dr. Matt Swinarski, associate professor of MIS, and Scott McAuley, lecturer in MIS, recently led our first Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG) Collegiate Forum. This forum provided students the opportunity to connect with professionals and learn the latest industry trends. We are also working with U.S. Steel to set up ongoing internship opportunities on campus for those students who have taken the Oracle courses and are interested in applying that knowledge in a real-world environment.

There are many interesting Innovation through Collaboration (ITC) projects available to our students who want the occasion to apply their skill set. One team is developing a comprehensive, data-driven website intended to grow well beyond the borders of Pennsylvania. Another will begin working on a cryptocurrency project. If you are interested in participating in an upcoming project, contact Dr. Kathleen Noce, associate teaching professor of MIS, at [email protected]. ITC projects are ongoing each semester.

Dr. Ash Deskmukh and Dr. Kathleen Noce

Dr. Ash Deskmukh, program chair for Accounting and MIS, and Dr. Kathleen Noce, disciplinary lead for MIS

Alumni Spotlights

Jeff Severance ’11

Jeff Severance

Jeff Severance majored in MIS and was on the Systems Analyst track. He graduated in 2011 with highest distinction. His minor was Operations and Supply Chain Management. Severance earned his SAP certification while at Behrend. He has also since become certified in Six Sigma and PeopleSoft. He has won innovation and leadership awards as an employee of Erie Insurance Group. Dr. Kathy Noce, associate teaching professor of MIS, stated, “I personally have found Jeff to be so technically knowledgeable with great ability to explain technical concepts very clearly and easily.”

What is your current position and where?

I’m a senior information technology analyst at Erie Insurance Group where I lead, design, and implement various technology solutions to support corporate strategy.

How did you find your current job?

This job was a continuation of my college internship experience at Erie Insurance.

What steps did you take while at Behrend to help you prepare for your current job?

I took a wide variety of classes on topics like web design, systems design, and C++ to gain practical and applied knowledge in the information technology field and become well rounded.

What do you like best about your job or your employer?

My job role not only allows for the application of technical and leadership skills, it also provides the opportunity to influence and educate others.

Are you going to pursue any further education or training?

I am looking to become an Amazon web services certified cloud architect and complete my Associate’s in General Insurance.

How has your minor/certifications helped you?

The Supply Chain Operations minor I earned at Behrend introduced to me to Lean and Six Sigma. These methodologies apply to processes in any industry.

What advice do you have for future graduates?

Do everything you can to gain knowledge and get practical experience. It will open doors for you in the future.

What would you tell your college self if you could go back in time?

Be true to your skills, passions, and abilities.

Nilesh Jethva ’12

Nilesh Jethva

What is your current position and where?

I am currently working as a senior solutions analyst at T. Rowe Price. I help support our Global Investment Solutions (GIS) ongoing strategy to expand coverage to international markets. My main role has been to lead the development, testing, and deployment of T. Rowe Price Institution multi-language sites to new countries and languages. The site is the first truly multi-lingual web experience for the firm.

What steps did you take while at Behrend to help you prepare for your current job?

I had an opportunity work for Dr. Kathy Noce, associate teaching professor of MIS, and Partnership Erie. I was tasked with leading a team to implement web solutions for nonprofit organizations in the area. In this role, I was able to work with multiple clients with different needs. These experiences allowed me to grow personally and professionally.

What do you like best about your job or your employer?

I get the opportunity to travel internationally and work with a lot of brilliant people.

What was the biggest takeaway from your experience?

Recognize and accept your weaknesses to turn them into strengths.

What advice do you have for future graduates?

Your social media presence matters. Corporate recruiters and employers view your social media presence as a part of their hiring decisions.

Be resourceful – use your network to find opportunities and learn more about the company culture.

Student Spotlights

Kaitlyn Peszel ’16, ’18 M.B.A.

Kaitlyn Peszel

Why did you choose the MIS major?

My undergraduate degree is in Management Information Systems (MIS). I tested a wide variety of majors including Psychology, Biology, and Nursing at first. Although they were all great majors, I never felt like I found my niche until I took computer science and MIS courses. I loved the range of different skills that I could gain with an MIS degree. I found the amount of options I had, especially when it came to different jobs and industries, very appealing. After receiving my bachelor’s degree and being offered a position as a graduate assistant, I decided that I wanted to get my M.B.A. I chose to earn my M.B.A. because, after doing research, I knew that it would help me not only find a job faster once in the workforce, but it would also help me when it came to career growth.

Do you have any certifications?

I have a certificate in Enterprise Resource Planning with Oracle.

What is your current/past position and where?

I am currently a graduate assistant for the Black School of Business. I specifically work for Dr. Noce, associate teaching professor of MIS. I have completed work as both a teaching and research assistant. I also am working currently on an Innovation through Collaboration (ITC) project that will connect nonprofit organizations to potential donors through a web portal.

What have you learned outside of class?

I learned how to elicit, analyze, and communicate scope and requirements and recommend solutions that meet business objectives and are aligned with enterprise strategies of a Fortune 500 company. I have learned how to network, as well as the importance of networking with those in the industry. I also learned about the importance of user buy-in, especially to an IT project. I learned how to develop a social media management program, including specialized plans for individual social media platforms.

Did you have an internship? What did you do and where?

Yes, I had two internships. My first internship was in the IT department at Erie Insurance. I spent my summer doing analyst work. Specifically, I worked on two projects. My first project was to find a way to streamline the IT hiring process. My other project was to analyze data and find out where there were resource gaps and create dashboards/visuals to display my findings. My second internship was at Seaway Manufacturing as a social media management intern. At Seaway, I created a social media management program for Seaway’s dealers to walk them through how to utilize social media, as well as social media analytics tools. I also completed analyses on Seaway, Seaway’s dealers, and its competitors, as well as created dashboards and visuals to display the data so that the president of the company could make decisions based off of it.

How did your classroom experience help you on your job?

Several different skills that I obtained in the classroom I was able to use on the job. For example, in MIS 415 Social Media Management, I learned how to utilize various analytics tools and how to complete a competitor analysis. I was able to take the skills I learned and apply them to the work I was doing at Seaway Manufacturing. I was also able to take the knowledge I gained in MIS 430 Systems Analysis and MIS 420 Business Process Management and to apply it to the work I did at Erie Insurance. For example, I utilized this knowledge to find where bottlenecks were in the IT hiring process and find the most efficient and effective way to streamline the system. I also was able to apply what I learned about conducting requirements-gathering meetings with the project sponsor to the work that I am currently doing in the ITC project.

What are your future career goals?

My first goal is to find a teaching position where I can share with students the knowledge I have gained through classroom and industry experience. I also want to help students find their niche, similar to how one of my professors helped me. Another goal I have is to increase my professional knowledge through research and training so that I can become an expert in my field. A final goal of mine is to obtain a leadership role in the organization I will work for once I finish my M.B.A.

Nan (Sandy) Jiang ’18

Nan (Sandy) Jiang

What got you interested in MIS?

Accounting and MIS both are popular majors in the world. It changes the point of view of when I combine business analytic skills and accounting performance together.

Are you pursuing any minor/certifications?

I am pursuing Oracle certification and SAP certification.

What is your current/past position and where, if any?

I am a financial manager at Jade Garden Restaurant. I will be applying to the MPAcc program.

What have you learned outside of class?

Getting hands-on training in an internship provides me to have a better job experience on applying skills and theories that I have learned from school. In addition, working in a team with professionals is a great opportunity for me to build a strong community relationship.

How did your classroom experience help with your internship?

Personal taxation, audit, and budgeting skills that I have learned through my accounting courses provide me good practice in my accounting internship. Developing quality websites for my clients by using tools that I have learned from MIS courses, like Dreamweaver and WordPress. 

What are your future career goals?

My future career goals are working in the U.S. Customs Department, filing personal taxes or corporate taxes, and opening a bar.

What advice would you give to those students just entering college?

My advice for students who are just entering college is to study what are the newest and most consistent career trends. I encourage them to know their strengths, weaknesses, and interests before signing up to any major. Lastly, there are many opportunities for students to find out if they want to work in the U.S. only or internationally.

Craig Miranda ’17

Craig Miranda

Why did you choose to pursue a degree in MIS?

I chose my MIS major because I see the world heading in that direction; today, all industries share a common base, namely technology. I look at trends within industries and see that everything is moving towards digitization. In order to innovate, improve, or evolve, the fundamental building block is technology.

Are you pursuing any minor/certifications?

Not through Behrend, but during the summer I obtained certificates towards cybersecurity solutions that are listed below:

  • Splunk Engineer
  • Palo Alto Networks Engineer
  • F5 Pre-Sales
  • Fortinet Network Security Associate

What is your current/past position and where?

Over the summer, I interned for a cybersecurity firm in Dubai. I worked under the security operations center, the managed security services department, as well as the analytical team. I learned about the multiple cybersecurity solutions the organization offered, as well as earned thirteen certificates while I was with the organization. I also played a part in a couple of coding projects and worked on policies and procedures in designing a framework.

What have you learned outside of class?

That good people and great organizations exist. Soft skills, like being able to communicate and interact with others, are just as important as your knowledge in a work place. In order to change things, you need to be an influencer of change rather than be susceptible to effects that are forced upon you. Balance is important, and all things have to be given appropriate attention, including family, work, personal growth, and fun.

How did your classroom experience help you on your job?

I gained the art of being receptive, being disciplined, and being relentless in the pursuit of my goals. I understood that the competition is not so much out there but rather within oneself and thus that has to be a perpetual intrinsic urge to strive and do better. I also experienced camaraderie and the importance of fellowship amongst workers, like in the classroom where being a source of encouragement is crucial. It’s sweet when I win, but it’s a lot sweeter when we all win.

What are your future career goals?

My career goal is to find my core, such that I can reach my potential to its fullest. I would like to possess a mix of both technical and leadership skills. This would mean that I am willing to give myself time to experience a diversity or breadth in the domain I am pursing, in order to focus and specialize at a later point in time.

What advice would you give to those students just entering college?

Take in all that you can, and remember to have fun. It’s essential to use college as a platform to create career goals. This would mean using college to help you align with your career ambitions. Be receptive to the overall experience of college life from the academics, to the atmosphere, to interpersonal skills, to the various activities, all of which will shape a person holistically. Learn today, knowing that you will create tomorrow.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Babajide Osatuyi

Dr. Babajide Osatuyi, Assistant Professor of MIS

Dr. Babajide Osatuyi will be joining us in spring 2018

Tell us about your background in MIS.

My undergraduate education was completed at the State University of New York College at Brockport with a dual degree in computer science and computational science. I then pursued a Ph.D. in information Systems at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.

Tell us about your family and interests.

I am married and we've got two wonderful boys, David, who is 18 months old, and James, who is 7 weeks old. I think I can safely say that I am an optimist, so I choose to see the good in situations. That perspective continues to influence my aspirations and critical decisions. I enjoy traveling, learning about new types of culture, people, and their way of life.

Why does teaching appeal to you?

I became a professor because I realize that it gives me a unique opportunity to directly influence current and future generations through my research, teaching, and mentorship. I am particularly enamored with the "Aha!" moments when my students finally gain insights into a project we are working on or when my students and I are fortunate to implement a working system for a client.

What made Behrend so interesting?

Behrend is a sweet spot for a number of reasons. The student body, faculty, and its proximity to three of my favorite places, which are Niagara Falls and Rochester, New York, and Cleveland, Ohio. I couldn't have picked a better place. I look forward to opportunities to work on several research and consulting projects with students.

What teaching styles do you embrace?

My style of imparting knowledge has shifted over the years from teaching to student learning, an approach that is student-oriented. My primary objective is to promote active and experiential learning so that students are engaged in the course material in a way that enables them to see the implications of what they are learning in a real world environment. I am already making connections with local firms that are excited to work with our students to create projects that could potentially lead to future internships and job opportunities.

What is your research focus?

My new favorite area of research and teaching centers on analytics. The large amount of data created in the wake of globalization in the form of digital footprints provides us with opportunities to make sense of these large datasets to understand past interactions to inform future decisions. I am working currently with a healthcare institution to examine the impact of their social media initiatives on certain patient performance outcomes.

What advice do you have for students?

Take advantage of the opportunities presented to you here at this great institution and learn away. Find time to acquire more skills and learn to use multiple tools to solve the same problem. Employers assume you know how to program because of your MIS degree, so it is best for you to equip yourself with some technical skills before you graduate. Actively participate in activities such as learning-by-doing opportunities, to learn how to solve real business problems. You will be assessed by future employers on your initiative to learn new skills to get the job done. We as educators can and will show you the door, but you'll have to walk through it.

OAUG Collegiate Forum

Do you know what it takes to be an Oracle technologist in today’s dynamic market? On October 18, the students from the college’s Management Information Systems, Computer Science, and Software Engineering programs were treated to a daylong colloquium sponsored by the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG). Students heard from trained Oracle professionals on hot topics, including interviewing (and how to wow them), what it’s like being a consultant, Oracle Cloud Apps, transitioning from college to the corporate work world, and more.


OAUG is the world’s largest user group, consisting of Oracle customers worldwide. They host many forums, workshops, and events across the globe, including Collaborate – one of the largest technology and applications conferences for the Oracle community. While OAUG does a great job of educating and connecting professionals currently working with Oracle products, James Hobbs, senior director of global programs, was looking for a way to reach out to the emerging leaders in ERP systems and educate students on the resources available to them now through OAUG. Hobbs explains that the project all started when “a contact at Oracle introduced us to the Black School of Business, as it has the largest installation of Oracle users at the college level, and we knew right away that we could develop a great partnership with the school.”


Planning this first-ever OAUG Collegiate Forum took several months to coordinate. The topics were suggested by the MIS Club with Dr. Matthew Swinarski, associate professor of MIS, and Scott McAuley, lecturer in MIS, leading the event planning and logistics efforts on campus. The Collegiate Forum, sponsored by OAUG in partnership with the Black School of Business through the Black Family Excellence and Opportunity Fund, was a free event for all registered students. The event included sessions on topics like “my life as an Oracle consultant,” “Oracle’s modern cloud computing,” “e-Business Suite R12 supply chain improvements,” and “enterprise integration with Oracle.” Students registered for the Collegiate Forum will also receive a one-year complimentary membership to OAUG, which gives students complete access to OUAG’s educational resources and opportunities.


Hobbs said, “This was a great chance for us to meet with students face-to-face and give them some insight into what it’s like to work in the Oracle ecosystem.” OAUG considers the forum a success and hopes to host more at Behrend and other colleges as well.

MIS Club Updates:

The Pittsburgh Chapter of Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) speaker presentation took place November 30, 2017, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. in 236 Burke. The event was hosted by the Accounting Club and MIS Club.