Alumni Q&A: Ashley Hillman, MSIS'15

Kelley School of Business alumna Ashley Hillman, MSIS’15 is an eager advocate for the MS in Information Systems Program, convincing friends and strangers alike of its value. “It opens doors you didn’t even realize you wanted to walk through,” says Hillman. For Hillman, the unexpected twists and turns that rerouted her career opened up a whole new world of career opportunities.

Ashley Hillman, MSIS'15
As an undergraduate at Indiana University, Hillman pursued a major in psychology and a business minor. “Originally, I had planned on pursuing a PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, which is essentially psychology of the business.”

One day after one of her minor classes in the Kelley School of Business, the professor called Hillman aside and told her to look into Kelley’s MS in Information Systems.

“I always had an interest in technology, but I had not heard of the MSIS program before,” explained Hillman. “But after talking to Bipin Prabhakar (Chair of the Information Systems Graduate Program), other faculty, and current MSIS students, I fell in love with MSIS.”

Because she didn’t come from an IT background, Hillman was a little nervous about her transition into a technology-centered program like MSIS. “I remember sitting in class on the first day thinking that everyone was going to find out pretty quick that I don’t belong here, that I’m an imposter,” said Hillman. “That feeling went away very quickly because everyone in the MSIS Program was so supportive.”

For Hillman, the transition was made even easier because the curriculum is designed to mentor students from various majors outside of IT. “Even though the program is a blend of business and technology, the MSIS Program looks for students from non-traditional majors and experiences, students like me.”

After graduating, Hillman was recruited by Cisco to work as a business and technology consultant. She quickly climbed up the ranks in the company to the position of Strategic Engagement Manager. Hillman attributes her quick advancement to her MSIS training “My level of experience in cybersecurity and maturity to be a leader in program management separated me from my colleagues," she said.

Looking back, Hillman realizes her journey enabled her to achieve so much more than a successful career. “My MSIS degree gave me the confidence to take risks, both professionally and personally,” says Hillman. “You just have to be willing to learn and try something new.”  

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