Kenny Duong does not recommend rushing your education, but says if you know what you want to do, and where you want to be, the Charlton College of Business's 4+1 Accelerated Degree program a no-brainer to save time and money.
Duong, who's spent the last three years working full-time in clinical technology at Milford Regional Medical Center, wanted to build leadership and management skills before entering the professional industry.
What made you want to pursue a Master's in Technology Management?
"After nearly three years working in clinical technology, and also finishing my undergraduate management information systems degree, I realized that I was a leader among my peers and in my workplace. I wanted to tap into that skillset but concentrate in a field that I was comfortable in, and I found that the Master's of Science in Technology Management (MSTM) program fit my goals perfectly."
How does the 4+1 program work?
"The accelerated program allowed me to take three graduate courses that counted for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. This allowed me to move through my classes quicker and gave me much more time to plan out my future. I don't think rushing education is ever the answer, but knowing what I wanted to do, the accelerated program got me to where I wanted to be in life quicker."
How does graduate-level coursework differ from undergraduate classes?
"You tend to ponder and think about the coursework rather than just doing it. I find myself often researching on-the-side on things I have been asked to review. A lot of what I have received, work-wise, required knowledge from different majors, fields, and practices, which helps you to manage a team."
What should undergraduates interested in MSTM know about the program?
"The program prepares you to be a leader on the technical end. The MSTM program is unique, as it focuses on refining technical terminology and also your technical skills. Anyone that wishes to lead a team but also assist on high-end projects, should look into a degree in MSTM."
Has a master's degree expanded your opportunities?
"Taking graduate courses has definitely brought different perspectives to my future career, and opened up more opportunities for me. Not only am I focusing on my own discipline, I am starting to understand different fields and sub-fields. I've quickly realized where my strengths are and that I am not limited to 'one specific role.' These courses really test me with what I can do and with what I know. I feel more prepared and comfortable for when I enter the workforce."
How have your jobs and internships helped enhance your experience?
"First things first, the money is nice! It allows me to fund my high-end computers, components, and other equipment, so that studying, researching, and programming is easier. Also, I built a very extensive network where people know me for who I am, instead of what I do."
What types of out-of-classroom experiences would you recommend to a freshman?
"Get involved in different things. Try out clubs, sports, be involved in student leadership, volunteer for the community, help those in need, but also show that you are a caring member of the community. More importantly, have fun. Go explore the area, make friends, and pick up new hobbies. Personal development isn’t always just professional, it also can be recreational!"
What are you most proud of accomplishing over the last five years?
"Being formally named a student leader, by former Vice Chancellor Shannon Finning. I never intended to become a leader, but by connecting with students, faculty, and staff, involving myself with clubs, activities, and programs, she recognized me for something I am, and thought I'd make a great advisor on campus, which was a very proud moment of mine."
What’s your favorite thing about UMass Dartmouth?
"The people – there are so many different lifestyles, backgrounds, and origin stories, from students, faculty, alumni, and staff. Coming from a small town, we all had very similar stories and backgrounds. Coming to UMassD, I realized how much bigger the world is, and how dynamic the people are. Things are different and different is good – which is something I just adore."
Do you have a job lined up after you graduate?
"I will be working for MEDITECH as a Technical Account Manager for Implementation (Software and Cloud Computing). After spending nearly three years in the Clinical Technology sector, I decided it was time for me to take up a development role and try to assist the industry from a leadership position, where I am able to lead a team and progress my career in my own favor."
How prepared do you feel to graduate and enter the workforce?
"I feel very prepared. In fact, I feel as if I've practically started my career. I'm constantly communicating with my recruiters and future team members. I feel as if I have prepared myself enough that once I begin my job, I’ll be happy!"