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Choosing the Best Information Technology Graduate School

My name is Dinesh Challa. I am in my second semester of graduate school to obtain my Master’s in Information Management here at the iSchool.

How did I get here? How did I get to freezing Syracuse, New York after being born and raised Hyderabad, India? I chose Syracuse University for a few important reasons. I researched all the schools on my list thoroughly, and my research helped me to choose the best place.

After completing my first semester, I realized many students miss key factors that help them determine the best graduate school. From a current student to prospective students, here are six things to consider:

1. Diverse and Flexible Curriculum

What is the importance of a flexible curriculum? What is a flexible curriculum?

A flexible curriculum means less structure in your choice of classes. Here at the iSchool, I only have to take three mandatory classes, then choose what track I want to pursue.

The flexible curriculum allows one to choose subjects based on interests and industry requirements. The available tracks are data science, risk management, human-computer interaction (HCI), and security.

If you go through the curriculum you will realize its diversity. You get to create your destiny while still building a strong foundation. Plus, there are Certificates of Advance Study in Data Science and Information Security. On top of getting a Master’s degree, you get to have a certificate with a relevant focus.

You can find yourself in the other top-notch schools of Syracuse University. If you have a specific interest in media studies, one can take electives at the Newhouse School of Public Communications. Want to know more about business management? Take an elective at the Whitman School of Management! The iSchool offers you the opportunity to take electives in any of the 11 colleges at Syracuse.

Students meeting with iSchool professor Yang Wang in Hinds Hall.

2. Career Services

Will my school ensure that I have professional training and employment opportunities?

Most of the international students pursue their master’s degree to find a job and apply what they’ve learned. What you want is a career services office that supports you throughout your master’s journey.

The Career Services office at the iSchool is specifically tailored according to the interests of all students. The team helps to support graduate students to figure out the target employer list and find out where the passion lies. They assist in building your resume, cover letters, and skills needed to network.

You can also get advice through peer-to-peer mentorship! Learn from the failures and success of the seniors as you get one-on-one mentorship throughout your studies at iSchool.

Lastly, there is a strong preparation for certifications such as ITIL, CAPM, and PMP. Making sure that students thrive and are ready for exams are at the absolute top of the iSchool’s priority list.

3. Hands-on Learning Opportunities

Will my school help me get hands-on experience?

Here at iSchool, there are plenty of hands-on learning opportunities such as the NEXIS Lab, iConsult, BITS lab, and CENT Lab. That’s just a few of them!

If you have received an admission offer from the iSchool, you should seek more Information about the labs and also the experiential learning opportunities for a chance to learn off-campus. You can get in touch with a team that helps you with information before you even arrive in Syracuse.

There are also opportunities outside the iSchool. There’s the Blackstone Launchpad for Entrepreneurship and Orange Orators and Toastmasters International for public speaking. 

iSchool Ph.D. student Sarah Bratt delivers a guest lecture in Professor Jeff Hemsley’s class.

4. Research Facilities

Will professors share and encourage my interests?

iSchool professors come from diverse backgrounds and conduct a wide variety of research. Research in blockchain, the gig economy, machine learning and artificial intelligence occurs regularly.

If you check out the iSchool faculty pages before arriving, you can just see how experienced they are in their chosen fields. 

5. Alumni Support

How can I leverage my school’s alumni network to gain opportunities?

The alumni network forever keeps you in touch with successful people in the industry. Our alumni bleed Orange. They are always ready to help you. Whether you connect with alumni over social media or meet them in person, alumni are eager to use their professional resources to connect you.

Furthermore, the iSchool also hosts an alumni lecture series called HINDSights where prestigious alumni visit the campus. These people give current students a true glimpse into working in the field.

6. Networking Events

Will the school help me network with professionals and make connections with companies?

In the present-day competitive world, networking plays a key role to stay on the top of the job search. Syracuse University and the iSchool provide opportunities to network with employers through career fairs and tabling events.

Also, there are alumni meet-ups that happen in every major city. Likewise, during school breaks, one can go on deep immersion trips that introduce you to alumni and to great companies. These trips happen in places like New York City, Silicon Valley, and even Ireland.

Am I missing any information? If you don’t want to go Orange yet, let me make one more point. The iSchool is pro-entrepreneurial! We are just a bus trip away from New York City, Boston, Washington D.C., Toronto, and Baltimore. You can do a lot of things here, and your potential will be limitless.

Need to know more?

If you want more information about the graduate programs, contact us at igrad@syr.edu to learn about more potential opportunities!

Dinesh Challa

Dinesh Challa

Dinesh is a first-year graduate student in the M.S. in Information Management program at the iSchool where he also works as a Graduate Program Assistant in the office of Enrollment Management. Dinesh has a strong passion for product development, user research, customer experience, and data analysis.

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