Gray says MIS degree offers 'best of both worlds'

Jotham Gray has always had a drive for learning, earning two undergraduate degrees at Henderson State and aspiring to achieve postgraduate degrees.

“After my first graduation, I began to view the world differently. I saw that it was changing and technology was a driving force,” Gray said. “I told myself I needed to learn more about money and technology, and that was my motivation to pursue my Business Information Systems degree.”

Now called Management Information Systems (MIS), the degree program combines business and technology courses to prepare students for a wide variety of careers.

“The degree courses teach you the best of both worlds,” Gray said. “I was offered a variety of jobs in both fields after graduation. My degree prepared me with the right tools that I needed to be successful at my current job.”

Gray is a network/hardware technician at the Oaklawn Jockey Club in Hot Springs.

“I deal with anything that connects to the internet,” he said. “I build and maintain virtual computers, configure and maintain switches, and run Ethernet cable, among many other things. The job is very fun and challenging.”

An Arkadelphia native, Gray chose Henderson to be near his family. “I would be close to my support system, plus I was born to be a Reddie,” he said.

Gray has praise for Henderson’s MIS program.

“I would definitely recommend this program to a current or future student,” he said. “If you enjoy learning new things, this program is for you. Just don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Gray said one of the most interesting aspects of the MIS degree program is the hands-on approach to the computer courses.

“As a network/hardware technician, I realize now that my networking course helped me understand the structure and tools that go into a successful network,” he said.

Gray earned a general studies degree from Henderson in 2010 and became an Arkadelphia police officer. When he began working on his second degree, Gray joined Henderson State’s police department. He graduated in 2016 and began working at Oaklawn.

Gray plans to start working on his M.B.A. this fall, and open a small computer business when he graduates. Looking further into the future, Gray wants to teach at Henderson while pursuing his Ph.D. in business administration.

If he hadn’t chosen the business information systems path, Gray said he would have sought a degree in history/African American studies.

“History has always been my first love,” he said.