Alabama Tailgating Cookbook Shane HillBriefly describe yourself.  Who are you, and what do you do?

A chef want-to-be trapped in an analytical IT body.  My day job is working for BBVA in the Retail Credit Risk department managing our decision technology.  By night I cater from time to time, run and host 100 of my best friends at each Alabama home game.  Roll Tide.

How did you end up at IEM?

My wife graduated from one of the early classes (#3 I think).  So I had known about the program for some time.  I also worked for a start up here in town that had some ties back to IEM.  Ultimately, my GI Bill money was about to expire so I decided to take advantage of that money and IEM seemed like a great fit at the time.

How did IEM affect your career? 

It has had a great impact.  Since graduating I have really been able to leverage my skills, sell myself and move into an area of the bank that is really allowing me to challenge myself and grow.  It has also allowed me to see that I can have some additional income following my passion.

What's a memory you have of IEM that you'll never forget?

Honestly, it was finishing.  I was not a very good undergraduate student on paper.  I had been successful and in leadership roles since I finished undergrad, but the sense of accomplishment in earning a Masters degree actually ended up meaning more to me than I thought.

What advice do you have for others traveling the same road you've taken?

Slow down.  If you enter the IEM program there always seems to be a feeling that you will change jobs.  IEM is a great networking tool, and one you should take advantage of for sure.  But, I found by taking a deep breath and finishing the program really led to some great internal opportunities in my existing company.

What book are you reading right now?

Outliers and Million Dollar Consulting

One fun fact about yourself. (Favorite movie, animal, talent..)

.       I am one of the few programmers that really does not like math.

For people visiting Birmingham, what’s the one hot spot they simply must see before they leave here?

Sloss Furnace, so much history of how Birmingham came to be the city it is today.