University of Chicago Masters Program in Computer Science alumni push boundaries and innovate across many facets of industry. Whether it’s developing seamless UX interfaces, engineering software at fortune 500 companies, working in big data or keeping networks secure; our esteemed alumni use their applied skills education from MPCS to problem-solve, create, and elevate the computer science field. Learn from their stories and discover how a CS background can prepare you for cutting edge careers and leadership roles.
Melissa Sondheimer Dallek, Class of 2015, is a Marketing Analytics Manager at Walgreens. Melissa shares what motivated her to join the MPCS and reflects on how her MPCS education has impacted her marketing career at Walgreens.
Did you come to MPCS with a computer science background?
No. I had only programmed in SQL for a year prior to starting the program.
What motivated you to join the MPCS?
I always knew there was a more efficient way to complete tasks from a technical standpoint and I wanted to learn how. I also love problem-solving, which is what computer science is all about.
What was your favorite MPCS course? Why?
Java programming, it gave me the fundamentals to learn other languages I use in my career. A nice bonus was that class allowed the students to be extremely creative in the work we delivered. Our final project was to build an "asteroids" game which was so out of my comfort zone and brought out the creative side in me.
What is your favorite memory from your time spent as an MPCS student?
As part of the Healthcare Management Analytics Lab course at Booth, I was able to work on a data-driven analytics project for a hospital. At the end of the quarter, our team got to present our findings to the executives of the hospital and the results were very well received.
How has your MPCS education impacted your career?
MPCS has given me the ability to be technically adept in every work situation I've been placed into. It's made me very agile and I've been able to learn and/or apply technology throughout my career.
What does a great day at work look like for you?
I manage the marketing analytics efforts across Walgreen's Pharmacy campaigns. I love that every day is quite different for me! For each campaign I work on the design, setting appropriate KPI's, extracting data from our database and using different statistical methods to analyze the results. Some days I'm only using my technical skills, other days I'm building relationships and am in meetings.
What do you enjoy most about your profession?
I enjoy being able to apply my technical skills and people skills within one job.
Would you recommend MPCS to others? If so, why?
Yes, the MPCS provided me with a great mix of fundamental computer science skills combined with professional growth opportunities.
What is a piece of advice you’d give someone considering applying to UChicago’s Masters Program in Computer Science?
If you're interested, do it! Have an idea of what area you of computer science you want to pursue first.