MSST Alumnus Gives Back by Teaching Others about Information Security | Technological Leadership Institute

Posted on
April 10, 2016
Mat Wilcek

Mat Wilcek’s résumé boasts an impressive list of titles, including information security manager at Best Buy, founder of Matia Inc., an information security and risk management consulting company, and president of the Upper Midwest Security Alliance.

After earning an A.A. in computer management systems and a B.A. in information systems security, Wilcek says he pursued a master’s degree to increase his opportunities for sharing his knowledge with others.

“I wanted to teach at the bachelor’s degree level. Teaching is more of a hobby of mine than a full-time career, and I want to be able to teach the real-world examples from my personal experience,” he explains.

Wilcek, who is an alumnus of the M.S. in Security Technologies (MSST) degree program, chose to continue his education at the University of Minnesota Technological Leadership Institute (TLI) because it offered an on-campus program tailored to working professionals.

“The fact that MSST is a 14-month program, versus two, three or four years, was a big draw for me. Also, classes were offered at night, so I could continue working full time.”

Wilcek graduated from TLI in 2012, and says one of the key takeaways from his time in the MSST degree program was how to give executive briefings. MSST students learn these essential skills as part of the degree program’s core curriculum, in the Communication of Risk and Security course.

“Being able to communicate in a short and concise manner, and making a quick pitch in talking to executives to get a point across is really valuable,” says Wilcek.

In addition to using his acquired skills in the corporate world, Wilcek has served as a faculty member at two local colleges. Like the instructors in the MSST program, Wilcek uses a real-world approach to teaching his students about security.

“I enjoy giving back to the community and teaching industry knowledge, versus just book knowledge,” he says.

Another way Wilcek gives back is through his role as president of the Upper Midwest Security Alliance (UMSA), which is the organization that presents Secure360, a conference for security and risk management professionals. Secure360 had more than one thousand attendees in 2015.

“UMSA is a way to get the security community in Minnesota together. It’s like a reunion for all of us in the information security world,” Wilcek explains.

That reunion is about to get bigger. As the security field continues to grow, Wilcek says UMSA is looking to expand to Iowa and Wisconsin in the fall of 2016. The Bureau Labor of Statistics predicts information security jobs to increase 18 percent by the year 2024, and Wilcek recommends MSST for anyone interested in gaining expertise in all areas of security.

“The program is a good value for how much we learned in the short amount of time. It exposed me to other variations of risk management, supply chain and chemical risks out there. We also learned a lot about power grid.”

No matter what their specific areas of interest, the Master of Science in Security Technologies degree program has enhanced the security careers of Wilcek and hundreds of other TLI graduates. Attend an information session to find out if MSST is right for you.

The fact that MSST is a 14-month program, versus two, three or four years, was a big draw for me. Also, classes were offered at night, so I could continue working full time.

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