Alumni Profile: Rodger Devine

Rodger Devine (MSI ’11) has worked for the University of Michigan in a variety of capacities since 2002, when he obtained his undergraduate degree. But it’s his post-MSI position at U-M’s Ross School of Business that feels like it was made for him.

Rodger describes his work as Director of Information, Analytics and Annual Giving at Ross in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations as a unique combination of his higher education and work in corporate consulting. A Development Leadership Team member, he manages all information, analysis and reports related to fundraising at Ross. “My role is to make sure our team of 20-plus staff readily has access to the highest quality information possible to meet our strategic objectives,” he said.

While his previous work experience was in IT operations, accounting systems, and business process improvement, Rodger’s graduate studies prepared him for a professional role in information and analytics.

“SI doesn’t teach specific technologies, but provides students with a broader platform of skills – learning how to be a critical thinker and contextual problem solver,” Rodger said. “I feel like my SI training has prepared me well for a diverse career in data and analytics. It’s the wake up moment of ‘it’s not just about what you do, but also how you present your ideas.’ You’re building your own brand as a worker.”

While obtaining his MSI as a part-time student from 2008-2011, he worked full-time at U-M in Information and Technology Services. “After having worked for six years full-time in IT operations geared toward instructional technology and accounting systems integration, I was ready for new challenges and opportunities,” Rodger said.

With a BA in Spanish and Japanese from U-M and a strong background in computer programming, Rodger thought the MSI Information Analysis and Retrieval program description as a “career path for language engineers” was a natural fit. “Those were key words I really had a connection to,” Rodger said. “As a first generation son of a Korean mother and Irish-American father, I grew up bilingual and had to navigate divergent cultural lines. All of our interactions are mediated and negotiated through language, which is one of the most powerful tools we have.”

Rodger shared his love of learning at UMSI as Founding President of the Student Organization for Information, Analysis & Retrieval. The group started in 2010 with five students in the specialization and now has over 100 members. “When I looked at other student organizations, I was concerned about the lack of presence of that specialization,” he said. “I wanted to create more opportunities for career engagement through job postings, day-in-the-life-of panels, and recruiting activities. You can’t just have a degree and not know what jobs are out there. It feels great to have been part of paving a meaningful pathway through outreach and connecting to SI resources.”

UMSI has provided Rodger with invaluable experience. “The future of the workforce is interdisciplinary,” Rodger said. “What I learned in SI is if you want something and you don’t see it, it’s your job to consult with the experts or find creative ways to make things happen. There are always opportunities to learn and grow if you are willing to look closely.”