Class of 2021: Management Information Systems major finds purpose through community outreach

Class of 2021: Management Information Systems major finds purpose through community outreach

W hen Dean Crawford was about to graduate high school, he knew what he wanted to major in. Crawford recalls that he wanted to go into finance after graduating from college. 

"That’s what my older brother did at UGA, and it worked out for him so I figured I would do it as well, " he said.

Dean Crawford
Dean Crawford
There was one problem, Georgia College doesn't offer a major in finance. Crawford quickly had to figure out an alternative.

"Somebody at the college told me about MIS (Management Information Systems) being a field of study that integrated both business and technology, giving you a comprehensive view of how organizations and corporations work from a variety of different angles. I had an interest in both business and tech, so I figured that MIS was going to my best option for what I was going to study throughout college," said Crawford.

Since then, Crawford hasn't looked back. 

"One of the cool things about MIS is that it makes you the perfect medium between the business- focused side of an organization and the information technology and information systems side. It really puts you in a position to have the unique acumen to effectively communicate with different areas of a business in their own style, language, and terminology – no other course of study prepares you to really do that. MIS is the only major that integrates business management, economics, corporate finance, accounting, marketing, supply chain, and logistics into the curriculum for a single major. It really is a great field to give you a competitive and comprehensive range of knowledge and skillsets," he said.

The logo for Dean Crawford's business, Finding Your Next Steps
The logo for Dean Crawford's business, Finding Your Next Steps
And Crawford took those skills and ran with them. Throughout his time at Georgia College, the graduating senior was able to participate in four different internships with companies such as KPMG and UPS Capital by working with many different areas that ranged from refugee students to developing a real time peer-to-peer mobile delivery application in under 48 hours. One of the things Crawford noticed throughout the years though was the difficulty students from smaller institutions had when it came to the job market. This led the MIS major to create Finding Your Next Steps.

"I’ve learned a lot throughout all of my internships and experiences. I’ve worked alongside students at bigger 'target' schools, and I’ve even been in the same spaces as students at Ivy Leagues," said Crawford. "If anything, I’ve learned that Georgia College does have students of similar caliber and potential, we just have to do certain things a little differently. That actually led me to start my own business, Finding Your Next Steps, this past school year. I provide career prep, interview, and LinkedIn coaching for college students."

Crawford's faith plays an important part in his life which has led him to find ways to give back to the local community such as Horse Dreams Youth Ranch and Young Life. 

"My freshman year I went to a volunteer fair that was held by the GC Give Center because I was looking for ways to get involved in the greater Milledgeville community. I made sure to go to every booth, included the booth for “Horse Dreams Youth Ranch”, which was something that seemed completely foreign to me at the time. I picked up a brochure, and I did not end up looking at the brochure again until the first semester of my sophomore year. I had never been around horses or any ranches, but one day I decided to go, and the rest was history. I kept going back because of the atmosphere of the ranch. It’s only 5 or so minutes away from campus, and you cant see it from the road. But once you drive down the dirt road you get to sort of a magical place – 47 acres of stunning land on a ranch that is marked by horses, ponies, ponds, and green pastures," he said.

What Crawford didn't know is how important the ranch would become. In September 2019, he shattered his femur after hitting a concrete block sticking up out of the ground during a fundraising game. Crawford went into emergency surgery and had a titanium rod inserted through the right femur bone from the hip to the knee. Since he couldn't go back to his home in Atlanta or his residence in Milledgeville, Horse Dreams Youth Ranch took him in.

I love people and being able to acknowledge the unique strengths that each individual has.
– Dean Crawford

"Because of the relationship I had with Paula and Max, the owners of the ranch, I knew that I would be able to stay with them. They both came down to Macon to pick me up from the hospital, and for the next seven days they took care of me as if I was part of their family. They made me every meal, and they got me every supply I needed, he said."

Crawford's motivation for overcoming the accident was the GC community and the overwhelming amount of love and support from friends, family, and people across the university. Thanks to community support, Crawford was able to finish the trying semester with straight A's. Now the graduating senior is looking forward to his next challenge. In the summer, Crawford will be working in Yellowstone National Park through an organization called, A Christian Ministry in the National Parks before starting as an associate consultant for Slalom Consulting in September. Yet, Crawford dreams of owning his own ranch one day.

"I love people and being able to acknowledge the unique strengths that each individual has," he said. "I think it’d be my dream to own a ranch one day, where I would host retreats for both team coaching, marriage counseling, and also provide a space for Christian ministry and outreach organizations to use as well."