After deciding to pursue another school’s master of business administration (MBA) program with a technology emphasis, state technologist Chris Henderson soon realized he had another decision to make.
“What I failed to realize was how much the social learning component meant to me,” he says. “Selecting a graduate program is not just about the academics, but also about the network of people and faculty that you work with, and the program that I selected was not ideal for my needs.”
When he learned about Ball State’s online master of science in information and communication sciences (ICS)—and its interdisciplinary blend of technology, business, leadership, and communications—Chris says what to do next “was an easy decision to make.”
Works Between Technology, Partner Agencies
Bearing the title of what he calls “a word salad,” Chris is deputy chief technology officer for enterprise architecture and relationship management for the State of Indiana, through the Indiana Office of Technology.
“My role is to help facilitate and steward the collaboration between the centralized technology support agency and the 75-plus partner agencies we serve,” he says.
Chris has worked for four state agencies over the last 20 years and says he “‘grew up’ working in the Indiana State Park system, starting my public service at 20 years old.”
“Serving Hoosiers is Powerful Motivator”
“The mission-focused work and reward of serving Hoosiers has been a powerful motivator for me since joining the State,” says Chris. “Many of the folks I have worked with over the years have been incredibly smart, diligent workers, and truly passionate about what they do.”
That passion is infectious, he says.
“There is a very good chance that I will end up hiring ICS alumni to join us at the Indiana Office of Technology,” says Chris.
The flexibility of the online MS in ICS program enabled him to go part-time across six semesters and substitute a course that supported his career plans instead of a core requirement. He graduated with his master’s in 2021.
Immersive Learning Taught in Every Course
“The immersive learning opportunities and real-world issues were true in nearly every course for me with some specific examples including conducting competitive analysis for a pre-startup company, writing machine learning algorithms for facial recognition, and producing research and recommendations for cloud architecture for a consulting company,” says Chris of the program’s course work.
The program’s social learning components provided him the network of professionals and alumni he wanted.
Life’s Possibilities Inspired by Alumni Network
“These folks were honestly world class and offered perspectives and insights that are invaluable to those considering careers or roles in specific segments of the industry,” he says. “Numerous conversations with faculty and alumni have both inspired me and expanded my view of what is possible in my life.”
Being able to bounce ideas off classmates in roles like his has been a great resource, he adds.
“The course work was engaging, practical, and incredibly relevant to innovation and emerging technologies,” says Chris. “The program isn’t easy, but I had a great deal of fun along the way taking on that challenge and met a stellar network of students, faculty, and alumni.”