NETWORKING NIGHT 2022: CONNECT ALUMNI SUCCESS STORIES

January 18, 2022 | Abigail Villegas


Check out some feature articles spotlighting MIS alumni who have forged their own definition of success as they share their experiences, challenges and advice for our MIS undergraduates.

 

MELISSA DEWI TAVERA

Year of Graduation: 2004

Current Job Position: PM lead and consultant, Project Management trainer, and lecturer in Ateneo

What is your favorite college memory? 

It’s been a while since college. What I remember whenever I think about college is the friends I have gained from that period. We are still very close and strongly connected after 20 years. I guess one particular memory that I have was when my project team rolled out our MIS final project. It was a successful day, and one of the biggest moments of college life that made me feel good about myself, and proud of my team.

 

Why MIS? Was it your first choice going into college?

Yes, MIS was a relatively new course at that time, and it was promoted as both an IT and Management course, which I wanted, since I liked a bit of programming in High School, and wanted to also take up management courses. I actually was in the top 15% in the ACET so I had my choice of courses. MIS had already met their quota of students by the time I made my confirmation as a student, but because of my ACET scores, they allowed one extra person to enroll in the course. 

 

How has your career been like ever since graduation? 

I’ve taken on different leadership roles, not just as a Project Manager. However, there have been times when I felt things were slow, other times when I felt that I had not had enough time to accomplish things. I’ve had to learn to be dynamic to adapt to the demands of the job. I have also had a lot of opportunities to travel to other countries and to live abroad for work. Overall it’s been, and continues to be an exciting journey. 

 

Is this the career you envisioned for yourself after college? 

After having professional experience for more than 15 years, I realize that my perception of being an IT professional was too narrow minded then. In short, no, I do not completely see my career in line with what I had envisioned in college. But, don’t get me wrong, I love where and who I am right now. The ‘me’ today, has a much more meaningful life than I ever could imagine in college.

 

What was your greatest achievement in work? 

I have great memories of successful roll outs, managing big teams, etc., but I think my favorite memory was when someone asked me to become her mentor because she wanted to be a Project Manager. Today, she is another great PM, and I feel proud to have made someone else meet a goal they had.

 

Did the things you learned from Ateneo, specifically in this course, help you get to where you are now? 

Yes, it definitely helped a lot. Ateneo helped shape my values and morals that I brought with me beyond Loyola. AMDG and Magis continue to be my motivation for always striving to do better. Philosophy subjects also helped me to think smarter. Orgs like MISA and REGCOM helped me with discipline and leadership in an organization. Being an MIS student as well, laid a very good foundation to knowing the basics of what I needed to eventually move forward with in my career.

 

What is your definition of success? 

Success is personal. And I think when one achieves success, they will be able to sleep happily at night. 

 

Do you have any advice for the current MIS students?

I say this in general, not just to MIS students. ‘Stay focused on what you really want. Everything else can be chaotic, like this ongoing pandemic. But, if you keep your eyes on the goal, you will be able to achieve it.’

 

 

CHELSEA HOPE SENGA

Year of Graduation: 2019

Current Job Position: Business Analyst at Prosperna Philippines Inc.

What is your favorite college memory?

All my best memories in college are with the people I hold dear – my close friends and my MISA friends. Specifically, I am especially fond of my memories of staying in RLAB as it continuously evolved throughout the years. Seeing the morning sun at Matteo Up when I stayed overnight with my friend for a project comes as a close second. While thesis, even though it tested my time management, is also a fun experience to look back on.

 

Why MIS? Was it your first choice going into college?

Actually yes, first choice ko yung MIS. Initially, I chose MIS because I was very interested in technology since it is an industry that would not be obsolete or die any time soon. But, it was an article on Steve Jobs speaking on the issue of gender gap in tech that really propelled me to challenge myself to become one of the women in tech who would fill that minority. Now as a response to “Why MIS?”, it is simply because I believe MIS is the greatest combination of business and tech. You understand the logic behind the business processes and also understand the limits and capabilities of the technology that support it.

 

How has your career been like ever since graduation?

To be honest, it was tough going outside of Ateneo. I was literally baptized into a new sense of reality. Regardless, my career so far has been great in terms of growth and learning. I have learned a lot of things, things the university couldn’t really teach me. It was critical for me to learn on the go, absorb as much as I could, and adapt quickly.

 

Is this the career you envisioned for yourself after college?

To be honest, no. This is totally a different route. It is a complete 180 degree turn. I envisioned myself in this certain company, spending at least 3-5 years there, and then climbing up the corporate ladder. But here I am, working in a startup whose mission I resonate with so much that it drives me to work harder.

 

What was your greatest achievement in work?

It isn’t an award per se but seeing the new process and new documentation formatting that I have proposed being used and absorbed well by the development team gives me a sense of fulfillment. It makes me happy that my work is being put to use and I get to help the development team in terms of documenting the new enhancements and features that need to be developed and implemented.

 

Did the things you learned from Ateneo, specifically in this course, help you get to where you are now?

SAD and PM definitely help me with my work now as a business analyst with the knowledge of their frameworks, concepts and templates. Org Life prepared me as well in terms of soft skills like communication and practical skills such as producing documentation.

 

What is your definition of success?

If I was asked before, I would have said that success for me was in terms of monetary value. But since I’ve matured and gained an outlook on life beyond that of a student, I realized that success means that I am in a role or job that I am passionate about, I am in a company whose mission resonates with me, and I am being paid fairly for my completed work. Sometimes, it is in the simplest of wins that success can be seen. 

 

Do you have any advice for the current MIS students?

There are three things that I would like to share with the undergraduates:

1. There is no 100% human being

No one is truly ready for anything that comes their way. The feelings of being lost, confused, and also being not completely ready are perfectly normal and alright. It is what comes after that feeling that matters and what you do to lessen that feeling.

2. Don’t dwell on what ifs or things that are uncertain

If you are in a situation, it always helps to list down the things that caused the situation to happen. Cross out the things that you cannot change and encircle those items that you can work on.

3. Be fluid as water

The things you have planned for your life in the future can change. You must be as fluid as water and be flexible to adapt to the changes.

 

 

CHUCKS GAZA

Year of Graduation: 2008

Current Job Position: COE Projects and Operations Manager at Zoom Video Communications

What is your favorite college memory?

Of course, there is never just one. Even as you look back, I think it would always be a collection. For me it all ties to the location or the spot where all the good memories started or happened. This is especially true sa group of friends ko na naging tambayan yung likod ng Faura. All my good memories of college are tied to that place and the people I hung out with. Everytime we come back to Ateneo, we would always visit that spot and take the time to reminisce. 

 

Why MIS? Was it your first choice going into college?

Initially, it was my second choice going into Ateneo. As I was reading the booklet and the descriptions of the different degrees, what really caught my eye at first was admittedly another course. But, then I came across the description for MIS and it clicked for me that this was what I wanted moving forward – a perfect mix of business and IT. So at the last minute, I changed my application with MIS as the first choice. 

 

How has your career been like ever since graduation?

Overall, it has gone as expected from the perspective of an MIS student. I progressed from a business analyst, to a project manager, to an agile coach, and eventually a people leader. All these experiences eventually led to me joining Zoom as an operations manager overseeing Philippines and Malaysia. 

 

Is this the career you envisioned for yourself after college?

For the first 11 years, definitely yes. I worked for a multinational company with a great culture, good compensation and benefits, and I got the opportunity to fully grow into my profession and build a career. I surprised myself by joining Zoom in a totally different role and capacity, but really happy with my decision and having the opportunity to continue building my career while delivering happiness to our customers and our teammates.

 

What was your greatest achievement in work?

I’ve had a lot of great experiences at work. I’m especially proud of being one of the proponents of agile thinking and growth mindset in my previous company. I’ve always found joy in teaching and mentoring others as an Agile coach. 

 

Did the things you learned from Ateneo, specifically in this course, help you get to where you are now?

Definitely. SAD, PM and even MSYS 101 were core concepts that really helped me progress through my career. I’ve actively applied and practiced in my career. The curriculum being continuously updated helps with the fact that these are still applicable years after college.. Don’t underestimate the soft skills as well from doing all the project defenses and oral exams in Philo and Theo that teach you how to make your thinking visible. 

 

What is your definition of success?

Success for me is the ability to work towards a set of small, time-boxed goals that eventually lead you to bigger and more progressive ones. I don’t focus on one big goal that I’ll need 10, 20 years to meet. I want to focus on the next immediate step, then the step after that, and so on.

 

Do you have any advice for the current MIS students?

Try to squeeze everything you can out of the college experience, whether face to face or online. You only go through this unique experience once (hopefully). Don’t be afraid to try things and fail at it. Kadalasan talaga mauuna mong madiskubre yung mga hindi mo gusto o kung saan ka hindi magaling, bago mo malaman yung dapat mong gawin sa buhay.


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