April Dawn Kester graduated from the School of Information with a Master’s in Information Management and Systems in 2016. She currently works at PwC as a Mergers and Acquisitions Director. Prior to the I School, April completed a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and Economics and a Bachelor of Science in Technology Information Management both from UC Santa Cruz.
Why did you choose the I School?
When I decided to pursue a graduate degree, I wanted to find a program that fit with my background in social science, business, and technology.
I was having a difficult time deciding between a traditional MBA program or a combined degree with computer science. I needed the connections and resources of a professional degree program, but I wanted to differentiate myself from other business school students. The Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS) program at UC Berkeley was the perfect fit!
What sets the I School apart?
The I School not only has the Berkeley reputation but also a large alumni network in the technology sector and connections in Silicon Valley that I honestly don’t think I would have had with any other program.
Being an interdisciplinary graduate degree program, I had the opportunity to meet and work with students from all over the world with varying experiences and educational backgrounds. This diversity created an environment abundant with creativity and innovative ideas.
Another thing that sets the I School apart from other graduate programs is the focus on social implications of technology. I’m passionate about new technologies and innovations, and I am constantly amazed by what humans are able to achieve and learn about the world. Yet every new innovation comes with a price, and many times we don’t know that cost until we’ve already paid it. It was important to continue my education where people understand the necessity of policy and ethics in this dynamic industry.
What do you like about the I School’s curriculum?
Studying information systems is about so much more than just helping businesses make the best use of computer technology and information. Information systems are an integral part of everything we do, from managing traffic flow to creating an online knowledge base, from curating historical documents to calculating supply and demand for energy resources. The study of information systems involves the creation, collection, filtration and use of data as well as incorporating the observation and understanding of complex social patterns and individual human behavior.
What are you doing now?
Prior to coming to the I School, I had originally thought I wanted to transition into product management, but I found consulting to be much more appealing. I enjoy the aspect of project management but loathe the prospect of being tied to a single product.
As a consultant, I can focus on “big picture” strategies, and process improvements required to solve complex problems involving technology and people. I have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects implementing cutting-edge technologies.
I’m very excited to be working for a consultancy driven by disruption, leading in digital innovation.