Specialty master's bridges gap between information technology and business

Zhe Li has had a varied, interdisciplinary career so far, and he is just getting started. He has analyzed historical data and summarized a method to improve work efficiency at the China Railway Taiyuan Group, co-founded and was the regional marketing director of Shanxi QuYe Education Consulting, and completed a data analyst internship with Chengdu PingGuo Technology.

"When I worked at the Railway company, I started to find some digital solutions to make my troubleshooting work more streamlined and effective," Li said. "Later when I worked on market development in a new field, I felt an urge to do more with my analytical skills. I realized that data analysis would become a necessary skill in any field in the future, and I discovered my limitations."

Li determined that he wanted a master's degree that included advanced data analysis, AI, machine learning, and technical knowledge from a top-tiered business school that was capable of bridging the gap between information technology and business. His search led him to the Rutgers Business School, Master of Information Technology and Analytics (MITA). Rutgers' proximity to New York City, its rankings, reputation, and return on investment convinced him to apply.

"The MITA program teaches hands-on and applicable tech courses such as business analytics programming, database management, and machine learning, etc., as well as project management from the MBA program," said Li. "Our MBA classmates were pursuing different concentrations and brought a range of perspectives and backgrounds to group projects. Not only did this help with problem-solving, but it also provided team management experience."

At Rutgers, Li discovered additional resources to advance his career goals. He enrolled in Professional Writing and the Job Market, taught by Mark Keitges, Ph.D., assistant teaching professor, through the Rutgers English Language Institute. Li said, "It was outside of my degree, but it was very beneficial to my career goals. Everyone at RELI was helpful and welcoming. Beyond the Intensive English courses, Keitges helped me with my résumé and cover letter."

Li said, "Professor Joann J. Ordille taught Advanced Database Systems, my last, most difficult and rewarding class in the MITA program. She is extremely knowledgeable and brought experience from her career at Bell Labs to her teaching." The final course project required each student to present their cloud-computing and database learning and application using free access to Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Amazon Cloud Platform, provided to students in this course as part of the AWS Academy Program (26-198-641: Advanced Database Systems, Fall 2022, Dr. Joann J. Ordille). Li spent considerable time working on his presentation skills, prepared detailed slides to demonstrate what he accomplished with AWS, and built a rapport with Dr. Ordille that continues.

Zhe Li wearing regaliaSince his graduation, Li has been applying his degree to a position with Formosa Plastics Corporation. "At monthly reporting presentations, the division head was used to looking at numbers and spreadsheets," he said. "Using data visualization techniques I learned in the MITA program, I was able to show the numbers in a more easily understandable part-to-whole relationship with a tree map and demonstrate how analytics could be predictive and contribute to efficiency."

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