***Prior to reading this blog, the reader should know the following: Any reference to Dr. Hale is a reference to Dr. David Hale; The survey was an anonymous survey, conducted informally through small talk with 15 other MIS 295 students over the course of two class days.***
During an informal survey of MIS 295 students, I found that Dr. Hale’s intent of demonstrating to us MIS-newcomers how ambiguous the business world can be, to this point, has been a great success. With the exception of three group projects that will (according to MIS legend) test the very fibers of our human existence, the majority of the students I surveyed were still unclear on what exactly Business Analysis and Project Management. In MTH 121 Business Calculus, you find derivatives, and solve complex functions; in MIS 120 Business Programming, you evaluate a problem and create solutions using C++ programming, in MIS 295 you learn Business Analysis and Project management, but what is that? How do you quantify subjects so broad and far reaching? To this point, my best attempt to quantify the course would be: Analyzing business processes in order to effectively identify and/or solve a problem through analytical decision making. A skill set, I daresay, the solid majority of the MIS 295 cohort is lacking…for now.
Returning to the topic of projects, we students know that any day now one of the three massive group projects (whose reputations are notorious among MIS students) will be assigned to us. Every day, as students enter the lecture hall, we wonder: “Is today the day? Am I going to walk in here and get figuratively kicked in the head with a monstrous group project that will literally drain the lifeblood from my veins…Or will today be a lecture?” The suspense is almost palpable in the quiet moments before Dr. Hale begins speaking. One can only wonder how much calm is left before this storm.
The data from my survey also established that a large portion of the sampled students (including myself) could not clearly define Management Information Systems as a degree field, or why our skill sets (to be acquired over the course of the MIS program) are in such high demand. Dr. Hale has explained it to us very well: We identify shortcomings, problems, and inefficiencies in business and design, develop, present, and implement solutions. MIS majors from the University of Alabama make business better, faster, cheaper. The group discussions, lectures, and real life examples from Dr. Hale have left a profound desire to learn and excel in his students. MIS 295, to this point has been one of the most interesting and engaging courses I have taken to date. Every day when my classmates and I walk out of the lecture hall, we are measurably more excited to be in the University of Alabama Management Information Systems program. We MIS 295’ers find ourselves anxious to get to work, ready to grab the figurative bull (295 projects) by the horns and see if we have what it takes to be prosperous in a top notch MIS program.