Driven to Become a Cybersecurity Expert, MOT Alumna Returns to TLI for Degree in MSST
What kind of career development do our M.S. in Security Technologies (MSST) students get? Meredith Storrie (née Blank), a student in the 2019 cohort, shares what brought her to TLI — twice!
Where are you from and what was your undergraduate degree?
I’m from Wayzata, Minnesota. I received my undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire where I majored in Economics and minored in Chinese.
- What brought you to TLI?
I’m currently pursuing the M.S. in Security Technologies program with a minor in cyber security, which will be my second degree from TLI!
I initially was drawn to the M.S. in Management of Technology (MOT) program, given that my undergraduate focus was not in a technical field and I was looking for a master’s program that would strengthen both technical and business skills. The MOT program was a great blend of courses that would be normally found in an MBA program, but with the technology focus that I was looking for.
After graduating from the MOT program in 2016 and through additional career experience, my interest in the field of cyber security grew. I think it is important for all current and future technology leaders to have a solid understanding of cyber security. The MSST program seemed to be a great way to deepen my expertise in this area.
In what field and for what company do you work?
Before transitioning into IT, I worked in finance at ESPN in New York and as a consultant for the Department of Defense (DOD) with Booz Allen Hamilton in Washington, D.C. Now, I work as a senior IT manager for nVent, which is a global electrical company that separated from Pentair in 2018. I’m responsible for a few areas within IT, including our project management office, enterprise architecture, and audit and compliance coordination functions. I managed all technology related work streams for the separation of Pentair into Pentair & nVent, and have had significant IT related M&A experience while at Pentair. Being involved with the “standing up” of a new publicly-traded company has been a challenging and highly rewarding experience.
What are you learning in the program? How has it helped you advance your skills and career, and what do you anticipate will be the result after you earn your degree?
While I was in the MOT program, I significantly improved my communication and presentation skills, and this has served me tremendously over the last few years. With the MSST program, my biggest area of personal growth has been in my level of technical understanding of cybersecurity fundamentals. The cybersecurity minor specifically has filled in knowledge and skill gaps, and I’ve really enjoyed the wide breadth of expertise the MSST faculty bring. I’ve noticed a lot of overlap between what I’m learning in MSST and areas of need in my work life. For instance, cyber security is a top enterprise risk for all organizations, and I’ve been able to bring risk management content and resources from class directly back to my organization. I believe I’ll be a more dynamic IT professional and a more confident technology leader after I finish the MSST program. I have no doubt that my new degree will help accelerate my career and open doors to new opportunities.
Are there faculty or classmates that have inspired you?
A huge benefit of the MSST program has been the cohort’s diversity in backgrounds and experience/expertise. We’ve all been able to benefit from each other, as each person brings a unique skill set to the table that they’re willing to share with others. The same is true for the level of diversity/range of skill sets that MSST faculty bring as both academic and industry leaders. As students, we really benefit from learning from the different experiences that the professors have had.
What about the program has surprised you?
I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the level and amount of industry connections the MSST program, faculty, and students have. If you’re looking to network with cybersecurity professionals, this program can really help with that. While I wasn’t able to take advantage of it given my work schedule, the internship offered through the MSST program is another powerful way to connect with cybersecurity professionals in many organizations.
What are some of your short-term goals? And in the long-term?
In the short term, I’m excited to complete the MSST program and give birth shortly after. I was pregnant with my first child while in MOT and I’m due with my second this summer after MSST ends! I’m also looking forward to applying the content I’m learning as much as possible in my current job and to continue building my network of cybersecurity and tech professionals.
In the long term, I hope to continue to mature as a technology leader and to focus on deploying the skills I have accumulated through education and work to benefit my organization.
Where do you think your industry is headed? What skills do you think will be important and how has your program helped?
Cyber security will only become more relevant for all organizations. However, there is currently a shortage of people who are studying it, as well as a lack of awareness on the topic at all levels of most organizations. It is critical to be able to effectively communicate cyber risks to a business audience in order to articulate the value of cyber security and to build a strong cybersecurity capability for your organization.
To whom would you recommend your program and why?
I would recommend MSST to anyone interested in gaining a deeper level of understanding of cyber security, looking to expand their network of technology professionals, or interested in growing as a technology leader.
What message do you want to send to potential students?
A key lesson that I remember from my undergraduate study of economics is that, given a fixed level of inputs and resources, technology and education are the two things that can increase the quantity of output produced. This is what attracted me personally to technology, and I strongly believe in the power of education. If you’re like me, I suggest digging into how MSST can give you a competitive advantage.
To learn more about the M.S. in Security Technologies (MSST), request information now or sign up to attend an upcoming information session, where you'll get a chance to meet the program director and find out how MSST can help your career.