Old School IS Master’s Degree
It was 2003 when Erik Lamb’s name was first called in the Marriott Center. Fully suited in his cap and gown, he accepted his diploma and thought his time at BYU was complete.
Thirteen years, four kids, two companies, one startup, and multiple VP positions later, Lamb—at the age of thirty-seven—took that same walk after completing his master’s degree of information systems management.
“People hear this story and think I’m insane,” says Lamb who received his MISM in 2015. “I’ll be honest, it was weird walking around campus as an older person, but I think in a lot of ways it was really beneficial and a really rich experience because I built great relationships with people.”
Lamb’s decision to come back to BYU was inspired by his daughter. After telling his kids that they needed PhDs she responded, “Dad, you can’t tell me to get a PhD if you don’t even have a master’s degree.” So Lamb put his own words into action.
“I was going to take a job in Silicon Valley, but last minute I decided I should go to school,” he says. “It happened really fast; we sold our house and moved our family to Provo.”
While in school, Lamb created lasting relationships with students and faculty. These relationships live on today as Lamb still works with IS professors James Gaskin and Mark Keith on projects, including a product that tracks and analyzes an animal’s health and migration behavior in real time.
“I can’t say enough about the professors at BYU,” Lamb says. “They know their craft so well and teach it so well that when you go out and work in a company you can have a coherent and educate conversation with any level businessperson. The professionalism of the professors is second to none and every experience I had with a teacher was amazing.”
Working with students who had hardly any work experience more than a decade younger than Lamb was another growth opportunity for both Lamb and his classmates.
“It was a good experience for me because my career was built in a hyper-growth environment where I learned and was paid to be very critical,” Lamb says. “Coming back to school it was helpful to step back for a second and think, ‘You know what, maybe we don’t have to be so critical about every idea.’”
Post-graduation, Lamb continues to cultivate relationships with his fellow students. He is currently working on four separate companies he helped start with other students while in school. He also recently relocated to Boston to accept the position of VP of product development and design at Interactions, a tech company.
“I have one singular career goal, and, actually, making money isn’t part of it,” Lamb says. “I just want to leave a legacy for my kids. I don’t want anyone to ever say to my children, ‘I worked for or with your dad, and he was a terrible person.’ That’s my worse fear in life, and if I can avoid that I think I can do a lot of great things in business.”