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Decision Sciences and Management Information
Systems Graduates on the Rise at Mason

By Tami Dimock

The number of George Mason graduates in the decision sciences and management information systems (DESC/MIS) major increased dramatically over the past year. In 1998, a total of 276 students received the undergraduate degree, more than doubling the amount of DESC/MIS degrees conferred in 1997 and placing the discipline in the top five at Mason for the first time.

According to Timothy Sugrue, senior associate dean of the School of Management (SOM), this year's increase is only the beginning of what is yet to come. "The large group of MIS graduates this year is just the tip of the iceberg," he says, "because enrollment in the major has burgeoned in the past few years."

Indeed, enrollment has jumped from 251 students in fall 1995 to 789 students in spring 1998, numbers that indicate a rapid student response to a job market with thousands of vacant positions for people with the right skills.

Teresa Domzal, dean of SOM, has visited several area companies in order to find out what they look for in prospective employees. "Typically," she says, "they want a balanced triangle of knowledge and skills, with one side being technology, one side being business, and one side being change management." The ideal candidate possesses all three, and with many George Mason students landing high-paying jobs prior to graduation at companies such as EDS, Bell Atlantic, AMS, and Lockheed Martin, it seems DESC/ MIS graduates often fit into the "ideal" category.

With enrollment in the major continually on the rise, the SOM faces new challenges, such as finding enough space to accommodate students and hiring more faculty members to teach them. Just as DESC/ MIS graduates are in demand, so too are DESC/MIS professors. Domzal and Sugrue have been active in the process of recruiting new faculty¬a process that, because of the stiff competition involved, Sugrue compares to the NFL draft. They were fortunate enough, however, to have hired two new full-time faculty members this year, bringing the total up to eight for the fall 1998 semester.

Domzal says the SOM will continue its nationwide recruiting efforts and do all it can to accommodate more students. For now, though, the school has a long waiting list of DESC/MIS hopefuls.

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