Vernon Rowland is an IT consultant with Boom Lab in Minneapolis.
Vernon Rowland spent about 10 years in education. When his school, Broadway High School, was closed, he said, “I felt that I was up against the wall [in] my career. Working in an incredible environment and seeing it decimated was a pretty big blow. I just lost that drive to stay in education.”
Rowland decided to go into business, pursuing the interest in technology that had been part of his role both in creating online learning and in running his own video production company. “I’ve always had an interest in business, and I’ve always had an interest in technology. Coming from my childhood, it’s difficult to see yourself in a professional setting. I knew I had to do something different; I wanted to do something more. Losing my job was the change I needed to make the transition.”
Rowland learned about the Outreach Scholarship opportunities in the University of St. Thomas full-time MBA program. “There’s something about those buildings on 11th and LaSalle that attracted me,” he said. “There was a mystique — tradition and history. It was an incredible privilege to do that program.”
Although his goal was always to become a project manager in information technology, he needed business credentials to balance his technology experience. “Granted, I ran my own business — I was kind of a consultant doing video consulting. But I had no idea what business was. In an MBA program, you learn the language of business. That’s important. The credentials are important — they open up doors. I don’t know if I’d have the opportunity I have today without an MBA. I may have, but coming from my background I can’t see myself with these kinds of opportunities.”
What is your current role?
I am a consultant with BoomLab, a subsidiary of 3Bridge Consulting. Their focus is on junior consultants. They give a lot of training and support to their consultants. That’s why I was attracted to them. I wanted to be in a supportive environment. I wanted the training they provided.
What are your responsibilities?
I’m in a PM role, but my title is IT Project Lead. I’m on the cutover team — what we’re doing is the largest-ever implementation of a particular application for the client company. We create the plan for the cutover and then manage the plan as we go from the legacy systems to the new system.
What’s the most exciting thing about the job?
I’m learning a lot. It’s incredibly technical. These projects are enormous. We are about to set up an eight-country deployment. The technical team is in India, the business team is in Latin America, the process team is in St. Paul. We coordinate all those teams to execute the plan. I’m being exposed to all business processes within a great organization.
What’s the biggest challenge?
It’s been humbling. This is a huge transition for me. There are 24-year-olds on the team with more IT experience than me. I have to be willing to learn from folks.
Why did you choose consulting?
One of the things I’m excited about is the breadth of experience. You get on a contract, and you immerse yourself in the work, and you learn a great deal. When that contract is up, you go to another site with different issues, learning a whole other set of skills. I’m interested in exposure to a breadth of areas to see where I want to land.
Photo Credit: Tom Witta