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“All you will ever need is inside you. You can be anything you want, but you have to be willing to work for it. This is the most important lesson I have learned from Robert Morris University and beyond.”
The journey of completing a higher education degree involves a lot of persistence and determination, but reaching its end comes with numerous rewards. Robert Morris University alumnus, Erik Miller, embarked on this journey with a goal to complete his education aspirations in a timely and effective manner. Miller completed his Associates Degree in Business Administration at the Aurora campus and went on to the Chicago campus to complete his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, as well as a MBA with a concentration in Management. Miller then went on to complete his MSIS at Northwestern University. Currently, Miller holds the role of User Experience Designer at Fjord – Design and Innovation from Accenture Interactive and also at Jammber, a Chicago based start-up.
While at RMU, Miller gained valuable skills which have helped him in both furthering his education and career. Some of the skills that he views as having been most useful include how to conduct research, the capability to formulate opinions, the ability to form multiple perspectives, and the application of learning to better the world. “The ability to think critically, do research, and understand issues objectively is something that you can use throughout your career and more importantly, life,” he shares.
Extracurricular involvement plays a vital role in defining a student’s college experience. While working on his MBA, Miller had the opportunity to take a trip to the Extreme Seal Experience. Although this was something that Miller had always dreamed of doing, he had to find a balance between his schoolwork and being absent from classes for two weeks. The idea of spending two weeks with Navy SEALS was exciting, but the amount of work to accomplish prior to departure caused Miller to feel anxious about the experience. Miller spent time working with one of RMU’s dedicated professors, Dr. Meier, to finish all the assignments prior to departure. “Upon my return, Dr. Meier allowed me to present on the enlightening experience and apply many of the struggles I encountered outside of the classroom to my leadership class. I will always be grateful for Dr. Meier’s leadership and guidance,” he shares.
RMU’s accelerated program allows students the opportunity to complete a degree much quicker than at a traditional university. Miller took advantage of this as he attended school year round and completed his first Master’s degree at the age of 21, which he views as his biggest accomplishment in education. Finishing his education in five years was challenging, but he believes it speaks much more about him than his degrees. In his current roles, Miller continues to apply the valuable lessons he learned during his time at RMU. “Everything I do has the DNA of RMU built into it. Organizing thoughts, communicating thoughts, and delivering pragmatic solutions are all skills I learned at RMU,” he says.
Since graduating RMU, Miller has continued to be involved in both the RMU and local communities. He has participated in multiple mentoring events at RMU and recently had the opportunity to speak on a panel during Professional Development Week. Miller is also a board member and president of the Technology Club at the Illinois Technology Foundation, where he helps align over forty board members to objectives that will best prepare students and other professionals for a career in technology. The club provides mentoring, online webinars, and networking events to introduce students to industry concepts and IT leaders. “I am extremely passionate about informing students about what to expect after graduation and how to find the career they want,” Miller states.
As Miller continues to grow in his profession, he plans to continue applying his education to his everyday tasks and future goals. Within the next five years, he sees himself as a thought leader on User Experience Design and a key player in cementing the Illinois Technology Foundation as the premier organization for helping students reach their career goals in and out of college.
Miller is a successful professional in the tech industry, whose vast experience allows him to share important advice to current and aspiring students. Miller urges students to look for internships, even the ones that are free, because experience is key and it is important to get involved. In his career, Miller believes that mastering the ability to organize and communicate thoughts in a succinct way is one of the best ways to excel forward. “All you will ever need is inside you. You can be anything you want, but you have to be willing to work for it. This is the most important lesson I have learned from Robert Morris University and beyond.”