Growing up in Libertyville, Illinois, Jeffrey Eckmann was schooled in business at an early age as he pitched in with his family’s manufacturing business. So it came as no surprise when Eckmann earned an undergraduate degree in finance and found work as an investment analyst, first at Deutsche Bank and then at Ilios Partners, where he covered the technology industry. That’s when his focus widened. “My mother kept hearing me talk about technology and she suggested I look into graduate programs,” says Eckmann. “I followed my heart into tech.”
Eckmann enrolled in Northwestern’s Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) program. “The curriculum helped me understand what’s moving the industry,” says Eckmann, who lives a few blocks from the Chicago campus and worked full time while completing the program. He has high praise for his MSIS professors. “Java was a challenge for me since I had no background in it, but Professor [Kayed] Akkawi was available to help all the time,” notes Eckmann. “I liked that so many professors work in the field and bring real-world experience to their teaching.” He cites a management class with Jeff Gott, an executive at Abbott Labs, as a favorite.
For his capstone project Eckmann worked with a team of classmates to formulate algorithms to create a conflict-free schedule for final exams. “It would have been impossible for one person to do it within the time frame,” he says. “It was a collective effort, with an emphasis on team-building and designating different roles. My concentration was management, so I took a project management role. The teamwork speaks to the program and to what happens in the workforce.” Eckmann, who is currently an analyst at Briefing, a boutique financial research company, says he is not likely to forget what he learned in the MSIS program: “I’m using it every day at work.”