Thanks to Cornell Information Science’s early admit option for the Master of Professional Studies program, students like Shea Belsky can chip away at a master’s degree while finishing up their undergraduate studies. Now, mere months after attaining a BS degree in Information Science, Shea – a past president of the Information Science Student Association – leaves Cornell with a master’s degree in-hand. Next stop: Wayfair, to work as a front-end developer.

You got your undergrad at Cornell Info Sci, yes? I graduated in May 2018 with my BS in Information Science from CALS!

Where are you from? I grew up and went to high school in Mahopac, NY, in the Hudson Valley. Ithaca is familiar to me in a lot of ways: it feels suburban, the weather is pretty similar, and the culture and overall vibe is amazing.

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Shea Belsky received his BS in Information Science in May 2018 and will graduate from Info Sci's MPS program in December 2018.
Shea Belsky (Info Sci '18, MPS '18)
Why did you decide to enroll in the MPS program? I wanted the opportunity to take some classes that I didn’t have time to take as an undergraduate. Further, the DTI (Digital Technology Immersion) collaboration with the Johnson school was an exciting opportunity that I wanted to take advantage of. Getting to work with MBAs is rare. Being in a team with them throughout an entire semester, and also being able to take other MBA classes, was also something exciting that I really wanted to do.

What class(es) did you find most relevant, and why? “Sensemaking” is a class I am taking this semester that I really happen to enjoy. It’s about examining how to make sense of information in the real world, digital world, and other experimental areas. We’ve examined and discussed topics from the past two decades: some of the things people were proposing were pretty far out there. Others are strikingly close to the reality we have now, and what is currently on the verge of getting big. I find the exploration of methods to make sense of information in the world, and making sense of data that we already have, to be a fascinating area of study, especially as we generate more and more data every single day. 

What company did you work with on the MPS project? What did you and your team design? My MPS project, through the Digital Technology Immersion program in the Johnson school, was a startup amongst myself and other MBA students (with overlap in NBA 5640: Entrepreneurship and Business Ownership). We explored the problem of students and job candidates trying to network with employers and recruiters, and what could be technologically possible to digitally connect people that meet physically. I conducted research on prior solutions – including academic research and patents by other companies – and possible steps toward a solution, and ultimately created a prototype based on user and market research.

You will join Wayfair after graduation. What will your job be? I will be a front-end developer for Wayfair, working on their online storefront.

What skills did you learn within the MPS program that proved essential in landing your job? Getting to work with people from outside my department was a significant benefit to being in the MPS program. During my undergrad, most of my classes saw me work with other Information Science (or Computer Science) students. Rarely did I get the chance to work with someone outside those two departments. But over the course of my time as an MPS student, I’ve had the chance to work with people as varied as architecture students, chemical engineers, fine arts students, MBAs, and more. It’s been amazing to hear their perspectives, get to learn from them, and collaborate to make awesome things.