This is an open letter to my fellow colleagues embarking on this journey to become a Master of Science in Information and Communication Sciences.
CICS. The Center for Information and Communication Sciences at Ball State University. If you asked me a year ago what CICS was, I would say, “I have no idea.” Now I am here, and if you ask me what something unfamiliar is now, I would say, “I will research it.” That is just one of the ways in which I have changed as a person and how I communicate since starting CICS just a few months ago. There is no program like CICS in the USA today, and that is a fact, just try googling “information and communication sciences” and try to find another scholarly program in the USA with the same concentration. I’ll wait…
Looking at the CICS BSU website, the words on the screen have a deeper meaning to me now than they did when I applied.
“Through industry-driven courses and career-placement and mentoring, you will be prepared in just 11 months to lead others to success.”
These industry-driven courses are the cornerstone to our futures. What other program can you gain the knowledge of systems and applications that companies actually use, such as CISCO or Interactive Intelligence software? Does any other university teach hands-on consulting with established and highly successful CICS Alumni and Sales Expert Michelle Shaw? What about the ability to solve a real life consulting problem for a Fortune 500 company as we do in the Accenture Challenge? The courses are invaluable experiences and unique to our program.
Career-placement and mentoring. The social learning activities provided are above any other. I could not sail, or tell you what kind of wine to order at a business dinner, nor had I ever hit a golf ball in my life before joining this program. These events and others such as career exploration day and career development day have polished me into a shining professional. I can see the potential in my peers and I’m watching them change and succeed everyday. You should be proud of yourselves, I know I am. The mentoring that students receive from the faculty is second to none. At 28 years old, I had never written down a career strategy for myself, can you believe that? I have learned a lot from that professor and all of the professors here. The knowledge and resources that our mentors teach us will stick with us as we trudge our way through our own path many years after we leave.
You will be prepared in 11 months. As we enter into week 12, I ask that you reflect on everything you’ve learned in the last 3 months. I’ll wait…
It’s amazing isn’t it? In just 3 months I’ve learned how to draft an RFP, how to build a cable, developed my own theory of human communication, research methodologies, and so much more.
To lead others to success. The outcome of our education at CICS will allow us to not only succeed in our careers, but to motivate and develop others. I’ve seen my classmates prosper and lead their projects. I’ve seen others taking time to help others understand technology. I’ve heard encouraging words every single day being said to lift someone up or help them through a tough moment.
All of these soft skills are in balance with the technology and management practices we’re learning on a daily basis. It’s not enough to only know how to manage, or only know technology. We need to apply both to become excellent at solving problems, and we need to be professional doing it.
CICS has changed my life, it has brought opportunities I would have never thought about or considered possible. If you asked me what consulting was a year ago, I would not have a lot of information to give you. Now, it is the career path I have chosen to pursue. I want to fix issues within businesses by using technology. I hope you will take time to reflect on the CICS program that champions a field not studied anywhere else in our country the same way.
Center for Information and Communication Sceiences. 2016. Retrieved from http://cms.bsu.edu/academics/collegesanddepartments/cics