M.S. in the Management of IT Blog

Revolutionizing Government Services with Digital Transformation

How can digital transformation reshape government services? Dante Bostic (M.S. in MIT '24) and his cohort explored innovative possibilities during Module 3 of the McIntire School's M.S. in MIT Program, in which they covered digital transformation.

UVA McIntire M.S. in MIT graduate student ambassador, Dante Bostic.

By Marcy Bernabei, Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions & Recruiting

Student ambassador Dante Bostic brings over 22 years of government IT management experience to the M.S. in the Management of IT Program. He chose the program to complement his undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems and values the program’s diverse curriculum, which offers exposure to various IT concepts. We caught up with him after Module 3: Digital Transformation to hear about his experience so far.

Which module has been your favorite thus far?

Module 3 was my favorite so far, due to the digital innovation project. It was both challenging and enjoyable, offering us the freedom to think creatively without limits. My team and I embraced this opportunity. The project encouraged us to think outside the box, asking “what if?” and fueling our creativity. It was an exhilarating experience that left me inspired and excited about the endless possibilities for innovation in the digital world.

What was your Module 3 project on?

Our Module 3 project was called “E-pass Now,” and it aimed to revolutionize the passport issuance and renewal process, ultimately enhancing the overall travel experience. Traditionally, obtaining or renewing a passport involved visiting the State Department’s website, filling out forms, printing them, and then visiting a passport authority.

With E-pass Now, we proposed a streamlined process in which individuals could create a profile on their mobile device, log in, fill out forms, take a picture, and submit everything online. The State Department would handle the verification process on the back end, contacting applicants for verification via video call.

Our innovation significantly reduced the waiting time for passport processing. We envisioned expanding this concept beyond passport services to include other aspects of travel. Once users created a profile, they could opt into TSA precheck, CLEAR, airline rewards programs, and rental car programs, and even connect their profile to their local DMV for streamlined processes.

A key aspect of our project was the idea of a digital passport, where a QR code would replace the traditional passport book. This innovation could simplify travel procedures, although it would require further iterations and acceptance by various countries.

Overall, our project aimed to make passport issuance and travel experiences more efficient and accessible to all Americans, potentially encouraging more people to engage in international travel.

A whiteboard with brainstorming ideas from Dante and his team during Module 3: Digital Transformation of the M.S. in MIT Program at UVA.

Dante and team’s whiteboard of ideas for “E-pass Now” during Module 3: Digital Transformation.

How was Module 3 different than any of the other modules?

Module 3 was a game-changer for me, introducing entirely new concepts like data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). Coming from a government background, where these topics are just emerging, I found diving into them was both exciting and challenging. While Modules 1 and 2 built on my existing knowledge and introduced me to new ideas like Google Sprint design, it was Module 3 that truly expanded my horizons. Learning something completely fresh and considering its application in my workplace was invaluable. Overall, Module 3 was transformative, challenging me and inspiring me to embrace innovation in my professional journey.

What does teamwork look like? This is the third team you have worked with, how is it going?

Teamwork in this program is by open communication, active participation, and mutual respect for everyone’s ideas and contributions. It’s about sharing ideas, listening to each other, and valuing diverse perspectives. Personally, I’ve had a fantastic experience with teamwork in this program.

Working with my Module 3 team was truly awesome. We took collaboration to the next level by getting together in person at a local library. Being in the same physical space allowed us to brainstorm freely, bouncing ideas off each other, drawing diagrams, and mapping out our project on whiteboards. The creative energy was flowing, and as we worked through our ideas, everyone felt confident that we were on the right track. By the time we wrapped up our session, we had a clear direction and a shared vision for our project.

In this program, teamwork creates a space where collaboration thrives, ideas blossom, and innovative solutions come to life. It’s all about the power of working together toward a shared goal.

Editor’s note: During the second Module 3 residency, students meet with C-suite level executives to propose a digital innovation for a company or organization that is familiar to them. This day is called Executives on Grounds Day (EOG).

What were you expecting from the Executives on Grounds Day? How is it different than you were expecting?

Executives on Grounds Day was quite an experience, and it was different from what I had expected in some ways. Interestingly, despite my years of experience, I found myself getting nervous when meeting with the executives. I wanted to make a good impression and demonstrate my expertise, but the nerves kicked in. However, once I started sharing my ideas and engaging in the discussion, the nervousness faded away, and I found the experience to be quite rewarding. It was a unique opportunity to interact with executives outside of the government sphere and gain a different perspective on things. Overall, the feedback received during EOG Day was incredibly helpful, and the experience was a positive one.

What stands out to you about your experience?

The standout aspect of the program for me has been the professors. The professors in this program bring a level of expertise and experience to the table that I think sets the M.S. in MIT apart from other programs. It’s incredible to learn from individuals who have not only studied the topics, but have also contributed significantly to their respective fields, whether through writing articles or books. This depth of knowledge and personal connection to the material have made a huge difference in my learning journey. It’s like having someone who’s done the legwork right there in the classroom, sharing their insights and expertise directly with us.

Looking ahead, how do you envision applying what you’ve learned in the program to your future career aspirations or goals?

Looking ahead, I’m thrilled to put the knowledge and skills I’ve gained from the program into action in my upcoming role as Division Chief for the installation services branch. My goal is to not only lead effectively but also improve my overall management abilities.

Module 4 has caught my attention, as it focuses on strategy. This presents a great chance to sharpen my strategic thinking skills, which will be vital in my new role overseeing a team of 20 full-time employees and more than 90 contractors. We’ll be managing all installations, including crucial services like Wi-Fi and telephone for embassies and consulates worldwide and domestic offices.

I’m planning to dive deep into data analytics to use numbers effectively in decision-making. Modules 3 and 4 will be key in giving me the tools and insights needed to tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead.

This program has not only broadened my knowledge but also provided a roadmap for success in my future career. I’m grateful for this opportunity and eager to apply what I’ve learned as I embark on this new journey.

What are you most excited for in Module 4?

I’m most excited for Module 4 because it presents an opportunity to enhance my strategic outlook. While I’m confident in my ability to handle operations, I recognize the importance of stepping back and viewing things from a strategic perspective. Module 4 will challenge me to develop skills in designing and implementing governance and policy, which are crucial for effective leadership. I anticipate that it will be a challenging journey, but I’m eager to absorb valuable insights that I can immediately apply in my workplace.


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