Monique Atkinson poses for a photo in a graduation cap and gown in the Swamp. Text behind her reads This is...The Swamp.

How a Master of Science in Management broadened this advertising student’s skill set

Monique Atkinson recently completed her Master of Science in Management (MSM) from the University of Florida. Atkinson (MSM ’20) is now working for General Dynamics Information Technology in Acquisition Compliance. We spoke with her about her MSM journey and how the program helped her broaden her skill set.

Monique Atkinson

Q: Tell us about yourself

Atkinson: “Hello! My name is Monique Atkinson. I am originally from Miami, Florida, was raised by a huge family, and am proudly a first-generation graduate. I recently graduated from University of Florida with a Master of Science in Management degree. This was my second degree from UF, as my first was a Bachelor of Science in Advertising. Previous undergraduate professional experience included internships within advertising, construction and a financial institution. Currently, I am grateful to say I work full-time in acquisition compliance for General Dynamics Information Technology.”

Q: Why did you choose the MSM program?

Atkinson: “I wanted to avoid complacency. While I enjoyed collecting research and segmenting markets, I lacked in financial and managerial competencies. During undergrad, I analyzed the strategies, sales performance and product positioning of successful businesses. However, my perspective was external and my desire to analyze was replaced with practicing. I enrolled in the MSM program to enhance my understanding of the corporate world and to learn the managerial practices and tools crucial to a business’s competitive advantage.”

Q:  What was the best part of the MSM program?

Atkinson: “The best part of the MSM program is the faculty and staff. MSM administration and the Business Career Services team work extremely hard to understand you and tailor your experience to personal career goals. The professors are also amazing and adapt their teaching to individual needs. I am truly grateful for every individual I met while pursuing my master’s, as each of them has contributed to the opportunities available to me today.”

Q: Tell us about what you are doing after graduation.

Atkinson: “The middle of September marks three months working for General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) in Acquisition Compliance. Although I never thought to pursue a career in procurement, I am glad I did. I have the opportunity to interact with a variety of departments within GDIT, as well as external suppliers. Even when I first started, I was given respect and was encouraged to voice my recommendations. Working for a company that supports women, veterans and encourages disability inclusion is also something I am really proud of.

Monique Atkinson poses in front of the Hogwartz Castle at Harry Potter World at Universal Orlando. She wears a blue Florida Gators shirt and holds a butter beer. While I love my job, I probably wouldn’t have applied without the help of Business Career Services (BCS). I was not even aware of government procurement, or this position, until the company hosted an information session at UF. Therefore, I am asking MSM students to be open to opportunities. Those who are job hunting, please work with a career coach to discover your strengths and weaknesses and apply it to hiring positions. In addition, make sure to attend BCS events, such as coffee chats, information sessions and career fairs. Employers come to these events to hire! Once you have the amazing opportunity to interview, please schedule a mock interview with your career coach. Although you may be nervous and may prefer to practice on your own, it is hard to notice your own mistakes or know how to fix them. Please trust and interact with the BCS team, they are experienced and will help you as they have done for me.”

Q:  What is your advice to incoming MSM students?

Atkinson: “Incoming students, get ready to grow. You have the opportunity to broaden your education with challenging and rewarding classes that teach you the lessons required in the present workforce. In addition, you will be improving your skill set. Time management, resource management, and networking are pivotal professional skills that will be practiced and honed during this program. Get excited to meet a diverse group of classmates who you may call your future friends, co-workers and potential business partners. Enjoy the investment you have made to better your future.”

Q:  Tell us three fun facts about you.

Atkinson: “1. I was born on Friday the 13th, yet I have never seen the movie. I am actually terrified of scary movies. 2. I am blessed to say I was a Machen Florida Opportunity Scholar while pursuing my bachelor’s. I had the opportunity to mentor two groups of first-generation students throughout their first year. One of my long-term goals is to fund a first-generation student’s first year of college though this program. 3. I often use my Starbucks reusable cup when I go to Dunkin’ Donuts. Starbucks sells cheaper cups; Dunkin offers cheaper iced coffee. However, I still go to Starbucks for specialty drinks.”