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The daughter of a longtime information technology professional, Rebecca Bennett became intrigued with computers early on.
And when she arrived at Oregon State, she learned that for her, the truly fascinating part was how they pertained to the business world.
That led Bennett, a senior IT project manager with Nike, to pivot toward the College of Business, where she majored in Management Information Systems, the precursor of the Business Information Systems degree the college now offers.
“I am so thankful for the education I received at Oregon State COB; I would not be where I am today without it,” the 2006 COB graduate said. “I started in computer science, but it was not what I was expecting. It was all about coding, technical types of math and things of that sort, and I knew I didn’t want to be an engineer or developer. I transferred to the College of Business when I found out about the MIS track – it was still computer related and more up my alley. And what solidified my actual career was when I took the project management class.”
Bennett did a project management internship with Symantec Corporation her last two terms at OSU and then went to work for the company. Two and a half years later, she was outsourced from Symantec to EDS Group, which was subsequently acquired by HP Enterprise Services, a Hewlett-Packard subsidiary.
Sandwiched between project manager roles with FusionStorm and InstantAction was a six-month assistant project manager contract position with Nike.
“It was always my goal to come back to Nike and be a full-time employee, and then once I was a full-time employee, to work there the rest of my life,” she said. “The Nike culture is fantastic. It’s very work/life balanced; you’re part of this really big family, and what we do is important and valuable. Once you’ve worked there, it’s ingrained in your DNA. You love to come to work every day.”
The projects Bennett manages involve software and system upgrades, “keeping overall platforms and applications up to date from a compliance and support perspective,” she said. “What I love most about project management is managing an entity of work from beginning to end as a team. I love the day-to-day details and day-to-day challenges and the accountability of delivery."
“MIS is very specialized from a tech perspective, and that’s really helped me in the tech industry,” Bennett said. “When I work with engineers, I know how they do it and why they do it. All that BIS offers is a solid background for technology.”