Victor Ajibesin credits the well-rounded ITI program for his nearly twenty-year career as an IT manager
As a student at the University of Minnesota in the early 1990s, Victor Ajibesin was studying to be a chemical engineer. When he realized that this wasn’t the right fit for him, he pressed the pause button on his education to explore other options. Nearly a decade later, after discovering a passion for information technology while working at an IT help desk, he headed back to school.
“It was the '90s, IT was getting huge, and the internet was taking off. I decided it was a great time to get into IT,” Victor says.
As he searched for the right program, he knew one thing for sure: he wanted a well-rounded degree from a respected institution. He took courses from a number of universities, including the University of Phoenix and the University of Massachusetts Lowell, before flipping through a University of Minnesota course catalog and finding what he considered an ideal combination of infrastructure and security training in the Information Technology Infrastructure Bachelor’s Degree program. Since he’d attended the U previously, and both his father and sister were U of M alums, it felt like a good match.
That was twenty years ago. Since graduating in 2006, Victor has managed multiple IT departments at organizations large and small and operated his own consulting company. The first role, which he started while finishing up the ITI program, was in a branch of the Banta Corporation that he says he landed as a direct result of his education. “The things I learned—not just the technical stuff, but the skills like leadership and accounting—those kinds of things taught me how to lead my team as well as make a budget and plan for resources. I was applying what I learned at the U in real-time.”
Next, Victor moved to RELS, a joint venture between Wells Fargo and Core Logic. There he led the IT team, focusing on security. Victor's next role was heading up the IT infrastructure department at Milestone AV Technologies. The company had been outsourcing most of their infrastructure and security and he was tasked with bringing those services in-house. When his position was eliminated, he realized he had gained enough contacts to start his own consulting firm.
After a few years of working with small businesses around the Twin Cities—a law firm, an engineering company, a mortgage auditor, a manufacturer of magnetic components—on their infrastructure, cloud technologies, and security, Victor decided to make a change. “I realized I didn’t want to scale it up to something I would do for the rest of my life. I wanted to get into a company where I could grow,” he says. He took a position leading an IT infrastructure team with Service 800, which designs customer experience surveys, and now heads the entire IT department for the company.
Through it all, Victor says the robust training he received in the ITI program gave him the skills and confidence to flourish. “The degree gave me a very good foundation,” he says. “If I had decided I wanted to be a developer, what I learned in the degree would have taken me forward. It really starts you from scratch and gives you a deep foundation to build on.”
What advice would he give students considering entering the program today? “Be prepared to be challenged. When I saw the name of the program, I thought it would be just about infrastructure. So I thought we’d be doing servers and networking. But it was a lot more challenging than that because you’re also learning about the business aspects, like accounting and statistics. It covers a lot of different areas.”
Reflecting on his career so far, Victor says he made the right choice to pursue the U’s ITI degree. “I was really happy about how well-rounded it was. I’m happy that I’m still using what I learned in that program all these years later. I’m grateful for that.”
Visit the Information Technology Infrastructure Bachelor’s Degree website for more information.