Alumni Profile: Amy Falkin
Amy Falkin, Class of 2018, grew up visiting Maine every summer with her family. This Georgia native focused on Business Information Systems during her career at the Maine Business School and is now working as a Senior Systems Analyst for Chick-fil-A, Inc. back in her home state.
Why did you decide to attend the University of Maine?
The main reason was to play on the UMaine women’s soccer team. When I visited Coach Atherley, I fell in love with the campus and knew it was the perfect fit.
Why did you decide to study business?
I knew there was so much opportunity to find a job with a business degree. I started at UMaine as a business undeclared student. After taking some classes, I narrowed down what I was passionate about and what I could see myself doing as a career.
What classes or professors stand out in your memory?
My BUA 235 (Introduction to MIS) with Dr. Matt Graham impacted me during my first semester at UMaine. Dr. Graham took time during the class to explain precisely what MIS is and how it can be applied to every business in every industry. He showed me how incredibly valuable the skills learned in the MIS classes are after graduation. I asked him if he could be my mentor and advisor in making sure I was taking the right classes while gaining useful experience for my resume. Business Information Systems became my concentration because of Dr. Graham. I attribute finding my passion in IT to his class.
You work as a systems analyst at Chick-fil-A. Tell us about what you do in this role:
I work as a Senior Systems Analyst in our Digital Transformation and Technology (IT) department at Chick-fil-A. In my current role, I am more on the technical side of the location domain. I support the core location systems and the core location database, which feeds all our internal and customer-facing systems with location data. For example, when opening the Chick-fil-A app on your phone, the store’s address, nearby locations, store hours, etcetera, all come from the systems I maintain. My responsibility is to ensure that the location data at CFA flows to all necessary systems correctly and that all core location systems are working as expected. My role as the owner of the location domain is to keep our location systems running, healthy, and secure.
I have always been primarily focused on supporting location data and location systems at Chick-fil-A. When I first started at CFA a little more than three-and-a-half years ago, I was a Business Analyst on our Restaurant Development Solutions team. I supported the functional aspects of the Restaurant Development and Real Estate departments.
What do you like about your job? What do you find are the biggest challenges?
I love how many other teams and departments with which I get the opportunity to partner. The nature of my role has given me the chance to build relationships across the organization. This has contributed to a deep understanding of the flow of location data at Chick-fil-A. I have found a passion for working with Restaurant Development and Real Estate. Understanding their business processes allows me to make strategic decisions on the IT systems side confidently. Since location data is so interdependent across the organization, it is sometimes a challenge to meet end users’ growing wants and needs.
How did your degree from the Maine Business School prepare you for your current career?
I apply the technical and functional skills my degree taught me on a daily basis. My database management classes with Dr. Matt Graham and Dr. Nory Jones taught me valuable skills, such as SQL, and understanding the underlying connections of databases. I also learned many soft skills at UMaine, such as how to interact with a company’s business side while balancing the technical needs and specifications. UMaine gave me the skills to understand both the business and technology sides at Chick-fil-A.
What advice would you give to current business school students?
My biggest piece of advice is to find a skill you are passionate about to apply to your everyday work. When looking at job descriptions for a career after college, do not stress if you do not meet all of the qualifications – APPLY! Most of the specific system knowledge you will need for a job, especially in IT, is learned on the job and aligned with the general skills learned in college.