Deloitte's Traci Coker Kambies Discusses IS
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
AIS Executive Director Pete Tinsley met Tracie Coker Kambies, Principal at Deloitte Consulting, at the Georgia Tech memorial for Sandy Slaughter, former AIS Region 1 Representative, late last year. It was a serendipitous meeting: it led to a conversation about the important work that Tracie is doing and her thoughts on the field of information systems.
Q: Can you tell us how you met Sandra Slaughter?
A: Sandy was, of course, very well respected in the IS community, and was extremely involved in the field in Atlanta once she settled into her role at GA Tech. One of the things that she became tremendously involved with was the development of the university’s MBA business analytics certificate and analytics graduate degree. When I found out that they wanted to get the program started, I reached out to the university and they put me in touch with Sandy directly. We had a total of seven face-to-face hours, and many more on the phone as we exchanged ideas to build this program.
Q: What helped you decide to pursue a degree in information systems (IS)?
A: Pharmacy and medical field graduates were in high demand after I graduate high school, so I thought I would see where it would take me. However, after starting my core class and spending time with my grandfather,I began to change my mind. I bounced from pharmacy to accounting as it was highly math-oriented, too, but I figured out that I preferred the relational and logic driven world of information systems. My first computer engineering class and an information session helped to clarify what my degree would be at the end of four years, and I knew that it was a fit for me.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of a career in IS?
A: The most rewarding part of a career in information systems is the fact that I am helping people, and affecting change in business through problem solving. Additionally, I love the plethora of opportunities that I have in this field. You can go deep into exploratory technology and engineering, go broad in applying technology solutions to business challenges, and flex your math and science muscles in a combination of solving problems with analytics all while collaborating with others.
Q: If you could do it all over (with regards to your career), what would you do differently?
A: I don’t think I would do anything differently. All the challenges I have faced along the way have allowed me to grow my skills both technically and in my industry. It hasn’t been an easy road. Figuring out if I should stay or change the course is part of the beauty of growing as a person and as a professional. Plus, I have never been in this career alone; I have surrounded myself with people much smarter than I am, mentors that I admire and trust, and built a network for which I can lean on at any time.
Q: How important is an advanced college degree for those pursuing a career in IS?
A: Historically, I would say it was not mandatory to have an advanced degree as the job market was providing experiences and skills at a reasonable pace to support career development. Advanced degree programs can help you expand your capabilities in communications while learning how to apply technology to business challenges. Given the changing pace of business and technology today, advanced degree programs along with internships and externships centered on information systems, computer engineering, and applied analytics are great career boosters and can really accelerate the growth potential of your career, of course that means you must apply those skills you acquire through school and continually be willing to grow.