When Yuting Shen worked for an advertising company, she was responsible for data-intensive work in digital marketing, market research, and consumer analytics. As a result, she realised that she needed stronger skills in managing and analysing data. This expertise would allow her to better formulate and implement strategies for creating digital technology solutions.
“Organisations today aim to capture new markets and innovate business models as well as boost efficiency and cut costs,” Shen says. “These efforts require leveraging support systems, digital channels, and intelligent operations platforms. Professionals who are prepared to benefit their employers in these key areas are in high demand.”
In pursuit of this goal, Shen enrolled in the MS in Information Management (MSIM) programme at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Offered under its School of Information Sciences (iSchool) — a top destination for information professionals — this STEM-designated programme prepares students to use information resources to address organisational and social challenges. The programme is offered by the #1 graduate school for library and information studies, according to US News & World Report rankings.
MSIM students can personalise their curriculum to match their career goals. Three required courses lay the foundation for the 40-credit-hour programme, and the remaining courses are selected to best meet a student’s learning objectives. This flexibility allows students like Shen to develop the advanced skills needed to excel in various roles.
“To develop strong data insight skills, I have taken classes such as Data, Statistical Models, and Information (IS 507), Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence (IS 525), Database Design and Prototyping (IS 455), and Theory and Practice of Data Cleaning (IS 537),” says Shen.
The MSIM also offers two optional, career-focused pathways to prepare students for success. Data Science and Analytics focuses on the technical aspects of data through courses in data visualisation, data science storytelling, text mining, and more. Knowledge Management and Information Consulting trains students to develop information-based solutions through courses such as applied business research, business analytics, and competitive intelligence.
According to Shen, the MSIM has equipped her to achieve her professional goals. “My studies have enabled me to secure advanced knowledge and skills in data analytics, systems analysis concepts, programming language, Internet and web technologies, and the administration of information systems,” she says.
Underpinning the programme’s excellence is the leadership, expertise, and reputation of its faculty. With a focus on real-world, interdisciplinary problem-solving, the faculty lead thought-provoking discussions and provide crucial insights from their research and industry experience.
“The lectures and assigned readings are enlightening and instrumental in developing substantive knowledge of business intelligence,” Shen says. “I’m grateful to my iSchool professors for their enthusiasm in teaching and unwavering support for every student.”
The iSchool is not just an educational hub; it’s a place for personal and professional growth. Every student receives personalised, one-on-one guidance from programme advisors as well as support from a dedicated career services team — with the goal of ensuring that they can excel in the job market.
Shen is a beneficiary of the advising and career support offered by the iSchool. She regularly receives updates on career-focused workshops as well as valuable assistance in revising her resume and preparing for job interviews. This support ensures she is thoroughly equipped for the job search before graduation.
“iSchool also offers a networking and career fair, which includes participation by a number of companies. This opportunity allows me to meet representatives and learn about internships and jobs before graduation,” Shen says.
The result? A striking 90% of survey respondents secured full-time employment within six months following graduation with an average salary of US$104,019. Job titles held by MSIM graduates include data scientist, AI engineer, decision analytics consultant, and business and technology associate.
After graduation, Shen aspires to become a digital product manager, leveraging her skills in business analysis, data solutions, and corporate strategy. With the expertise and confidence that she is developing at the iSchool, she is certain to succeed.