Internships for business students rarely offer an opportunity to work with an archeological firm to preserve artifacts, but for Ricki Sidorov, MSM ’17, that’s exactly what happened.
Sidorov planned on pursuing an MBA degree, but when she found that George Mason University offered a Masters in Management degree that she could complete in less than one year, she jumped on the opportunity. Sidorov says her internship experience was one of the most rewarding aspects of her MS in Management degree program.
Sidorov interned with the Cultural Commonwealth Resource Group, an archaeological firm working on a contract for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for processing and archiving an archaeological collection from Polk, Dallas, and Boone County, Iowa. “We worked closely with the Veterans Curation Program in Alexandria, Virginia to digitize and curate the collection in preparation for long term storage at a controlled facility,” says Sidorov.
Not only was the experience unique and amazing, she says that the material covered in her project management course was directly applicable to how the company managed projects and broke down tasks. “My manager gave me a great deal of freedom to manage the project as I saw fit while providing specific guidelines of what was expected based on the contract. She trusted me to manage the team and provide metrics every week on our progress.”
Sidorov says, “I would not have traded the experience for anything.”
In addition to her internship, she says challenging courses and the comradery that was built with her classmates in those courses, created friendships (and a network) to last a lifetime.
“Our class came together and began holding study sessions after work in the evenings and on the weekends. I was incredibly surprised at how close we became. Our study sessions transformed to lunches, dinners, and sports on the weekends. By working together, everyone succeeded in the program,” says Sidorov.
Sidorov’s goal upon graduating with her undergraduate degree in applied information technology from Mason was to return to school to learn management tools that would enable her to be a better supervisor and manager of projects, both while in the military and later when she transitions to a civilian career.
Sidorov says she never wanted to stop learning. “I knew that a graduate degree would be required for career advancement in my profession. I chose George Mason University because I was aware of the school’s reputation from when I attended the undergraduate program and knew the level of professionalism I could expect.”
Immediately after graduating from the Masters in Management program, Sidorov was commissioned into the U.S. Air Force. She says, “The MSM program prepared me for my role as a cyber officer though the knowledge I gained, the presentations and team projects I worked on, and the global residency we participated in.”