The Right Choice

Worldwide alumna Alyssa DeCarlis (‘22) reviewed an extensive list of graduate programs before deciding that Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was the right choice to further her education.

Worldwide alumna with a graduate degree in Project Management Alyssa DeCarlis ('22) with her dog. (Photo: Alyssa DeCarlis)
Worldwide alumna with a graduate degree in Project Management Alyssa DeCarlis ('22) with her dog. (Photo: Alyssa DeCarlis)

“I decided Embry-Riddle would be the best fit for me in regard to working full time, getting a degree from a well-known school and choosing a program that would help me excel in my career,” she said.

As a senior cyber engineering planner at Lockheed Martin, DeCarlis employs her project management skills gained in the M.S. in Project Management program to manage contracts, support resource management and planning, create cost estimates and manage risk and opportunities.

“Overall, I really enjoy my job, and I feel like it was all possible through the education I obtained through my master’s program.“ She added, “The program is well known in the aeronautics and defense industry, and it was an easy decision overall.“

In 2019, DeCarlis changed careers from corporate retail management to aerospace and defense and knew she needed a professional boost from a reputable master’s program.

“I knew immediately that I wanted to get into program/project management in the defense world based on the nature of the industry and job,” she said. “I loved that program management was ever-changing, fast-paced, high profile and rewarding if successful. I knew that getting my master’s in Project Management from Embry-Riddle would make me extremely competitive against other candidates that had more industry experience.”

DeCarlis enjoyed the ease of online classes and access to materials, which made it easier to balance being a full-time student and employee with her hectic schedule. She found exceptional value in the courses she took, one of which allowed students to build a hypothetical business from the ground up, and she applies what she learned to her current job.

“I learned a ton about launching new ideas, how to properly target different markets, strategizing in areas like resource management, supply chain management, financial management and human resources management,” she explained. “That simulation really put things into perspective for me. I still use those concepts to this day.“

Upon graduation, DeCarlis took her Project Management Professional (PMP) exam and passed with ease, which granted her new opportunities at Lockheed Martin.

“This made me feel like a true ‘master of the trade,’ as the PMP pass rate on the first try is around 30%,” she explained. “I have also been able to secure a sizeable promotion along with getting further opportunities within my organization.“

What is DeCarlis’ advice for those on the fence about pursuing a master’s education?

“Getting started is the hardest part,” she said. “I always told myself that I will never regret getting my master’s; however, there’s a high chance that I will regret not getting my master’s.”