In Pursuit of Career Advancement

Patrick Armand, M.S., CISSP
Pursuit of Career Advancement


Patrick graduated with a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Chicago. 

He joined JP Morgan Chase Bank as an Internal Auditor and quickly developed an interest in auditing computer systems.  He later joined the bank’s internet banking program as Product Manager and helped launch one of the first fully functional internet banking applications. 

Eventually, he left Chase to work in information security consulting before finally deciding to attend graduate school. 

DECIDING ON A COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE
Patrick had always worked with information systems throughout his career but never received a formal information systems education.  Consequently, he did not know certain areas of computing well (such as databases) and was eager to obtain a well-rounded, quality computer science degree. 

At that point in his career, he was beginning to manage highly technical individuals and needed the right knowledge to succeed.  He knew that in order to continue to advance his career in information security, he needed to fully understand certain intricacies behind databases, networks, operating systems and more.  

He believed the right computer science degree would be instrumental to his success.

DECIDING ON THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
Patrick chose to attend the University of Chicago because of its solid reputation as a world-class academic institution.  

In addition, the intensive Immersion Phase, offered prior to the start of the program, allowed him to quickly get up to speed in computer science since his undergraduate degree was in business.

Patrick believes the greatest strength of the curriculum of the Masters in Computer Science degree is its focus on key theoretical concepts of computing.  Unlike some other university programs which focus on learning what is currently in vogue in the technology industry, the CSSP provides a solid grounding in fundamental and lasting computing concepts. 

Another key advantage of the program for Patrick was its flexibility. He had the option to pursue a general computer science education which focused on broad concepts or to learn advanced skills and specialize in specific areas of computing. Furthermore, the opportunity to attend classes at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business also helped Patrick tailor the right curriculum for his career.

For Patrick, another advantage of the degree was the opportunity to apply classroom learning directly in the workplace. 

AFTER THE MASTERS PROGRAM
Patrick’s first job out of graduate school was head of Information Security for MidAmerica Bank, which was the second largest Chicago-based bank at the time.

Currently, Patrick is responsible for the development and management of PepsiCo’s International IT Security program.  He manages PepsiCo’s international information security group, which has staff based in Latin America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa.   He is responsible for all aspects of international IT security, including strategy, policy, risk and vulnerability assessments, operations, access control and the deployment and management of security monitoring tools.

“My graduate degree was instrumental in advancing my career.  It provided me with the right skillset to become an IT executive and the right knowledge to tackle the extremely challenging task of managing information security at a multinational corporation with net revenue of $66 billion and a presence in over 200 countries and territories.”

PATRICK’S ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS
“If you are looking to obtain a solid foundation in computer science, one that will stand the test of time and provide you with the necessary skills to excel in the workplace, then this program is for you.

I would also recommend to brush up on your math skills prior to entering the program and to be prepared to study hard.  If you can afford it, the full-time option is preferable.”