CSM Graduate 2011-2012
"Much more than I expected"
Since graduating in 2014, Dheeraj has held a number of positions within the Cyber Security sector. Initially, he was a Cyber Security Research Assistant at the U.S Department of Homeland Security. Currently, he is working as a Senior Advisory Consultant - Cyber Risk Services for Deloitte in Chicago.
When we first talked to Dheeraj, we asked him to talk about his time at WMG, and his experience of studying for an MSc in Cyber Security and Management.
Dheeraj came to Warwick in 2011, having gained his first degree in Computer Science and Engineering at the Maharaj Vijayaram Gajapathi Raj College of Engineering in Vizianagaram, India. While he was there, he founded a cyber-security consulting company, working with a range of commercial and government clients. He was also part of the Microsoft Student Partners programme.
So what made him decide to study for an MSc? “I wanted to gain a professional qualification and develop my knowledge of current cyber security developments, as well as build my management skills,” he explained. “A number of people I spoke to in India recommended WMG and of course, the University’s ranking speaks for itself. The programme itself looked very interesting, particularly the way it focuses not just on technology, but how it fits within the broader global business context.”
After an induction helped Dheeraj to settle in and find his way around the campus, he began his course. Like most students, he found it very challenging at first, with each module comprising a week of intensive study, followed by six weeks to complete the assignment.
“It works very well though,” he said, “and I soon saw the advantages of studying this way. I gained an in-depth knowledge of the technical aspects of the course, while exposure to real-world situations showed me how to apply the theory in actual business situations. It was great that we had industry leaders talking to us too. Everything we did was focused on the practical application of what we were learning.
“The programme gave me exposure to a wide range of information security concepts - from management practices, threats, compliance and business continuity through to IT governance, cloud security, disaster recovery and mobile device security.”
Dheeraj also enjoyed the simulation exercises he worked on as part of a group. “They were excellent and I learned a lot through them. All in all, the course really transformed me. I developed new critical thinking skills and began to see people and organisations in a fresh light. It was definitely a lot more than I expected – and helped me to discover myself as a person.”
For his dissertation project, Dheeraj worked with Hewlett Packard Cloud and Security labs, building a tool which formed the initial basis for their project on automating compliance for cloud computing services. “It was a great project to work on,” he commented. “I was working with researchers at HP and once again, it was all about putting what I had learned to work in a practical way for a real business.”
During his time at Warwick, Dheeraj was invited to join the Cyber Forensic Lab at Purdue University in Indiana USA, once he had finished his MSc. “It was a terrific opportunity and I jumped at it. As a Research Scholar, I’m particularly focusing on Cyber Forensics. This is helping me to build my understanding still further. I have always seen myself as an entrepreneur though, and I’m planning to start my own business in the next few years.”
Before we finished, Dheeraj was keen to point out that life at Warwick isn’t just about study. “There are so many groups and things to do around the campus, I would advise anybody who studies there to explore everything and make the most of it. For example, I really enjoyed being a member of the WMG Society and the Warwick Entrepreneurs Society. Being involved in activities around campus can also present opportunities; at the Warwick Entrepreneurs Society, I met fellow Warwick student Ankita Purohit from Warwick Business School and we’re now working together to found ‘Letmespark’, a non-profit global social entrepreneurship development organisation. We’re planning to launch it globally in a couple of month’s time and hope that it will help in making a real difference to rural economies around the world.”