Gary Nickrand

This is a photo of a MAIA alumnus. This is a photo of a MAIA alumnus.

About Gary

Gary Nickrand is a 2014 University of Miami Master of Arts in International Administration graduate. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin American Studies at Miami University in Ohio. Gary also obtained a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Ohio Dominican University. While attending the Master of Arts in International Administration program at the University of Miami, Gary worked as an Intensive English Program instructor. Currently, Gary is working within the field of organizational change management and technology consulting. He works as a management consultant at Accenture. In his spare time, Gary enjoys snorkeling, fishing, reading, new restaurants and international development.

Q&A With Gary

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  • What made you decide to pursue a graduate education?

    I’ve always taken a pragmatic approach to education. I have a passion for (international) development work and supporting organizations in the nonprofit space. MAIA’s unique, hands-on balance between academic theory and hands-on application made it a strong candidate when I was applying for graduate school. The city of Miami was itself a factor as it’s an international mecca in so many ways and this holds true for IOs, too.  

  • How did you discover the MAIA program, and what factors influenced your decision to enroll in the MAIA program?

    I discovered MAIA as I researched top programs for students wanting to work with large, international organizations. I remember the website being helpful in clarifying the coursework and I was attracted to the cross-discipline nature of the program. I specialized in organizational management & global security during my time in the program and both have provided unique perspectives as I now help my clients walk through disruptive organizational change and tackle the ever-evolving opportunities & challenges that new technologies bring from a security perspective. The fact that I could teach at UM’s amazing Intensive English Program and still attend MAIA full-time sealed the deal for me when deciding which school was best. I also appreciated the opportunity to experience the many international cultures represented in Miami and it didn’t hurt that I was escaping Ohio winters as well.

  • What was your favorite thing about the MAIA program?

    My favorite thing was how students and faculty alike come with such varied backgrounds and experiences. You then spend an intense year-and-a-half studying, interning, and enjoying Miami together. It facilitates such close, lasting friendships and quickly builds a network of dedicated alums. Faculty such as Dr. McGuinn genuinely care for students and create a culture of collaboration & support that is rare in a competitive graduate program.

  • How has your MAIA degree played a role in your career?

    Graduating from MAIA was the catalyst I needed to move from higher education into the change management & technology consulting space. I love that I get to support large, international projects for organizations such as the UN, Gates Foundation, DoD., etc. I’m currently supporting an HR Transformation for the Ohio State University under the Enterprise Project, completely evolving the employee & student experience, an opportunity I would have never been afforded if I hadn’t graduated from MAIA. My firm, Accenture, also has a strong corporate citizenship program so I’m heavily involved with our support of our nonprofit partners and foundations. It’s become a perfect marriage between my education, professional background, and passion for supporting nonprofits My MAIA degree made that transition possible.

  • What advice would you give to a student considering the MAIA program?

    MAIA is such a wonderful program as it prepares you for a wide variety of organizations regardless of size and area of global impact. I encourage any student to dive 100% your coursework and classmates when, not if, you join a MAIA cohort. Lastly, I’d encourage everyone to incorporate a course on how emerging technologies (i.e., AI, blockchain, RPA, etc.) as they are creating massive change & disruption across all industries including nonprofits, governments, and higher education. On a more pragmatic note, I also recommend having full-time employment lined up as Miami a fun, but expensive, city. I only have fond memories of MAIA, Miami, and the many friends I made through the program; I highly recommend taking the leap into MAIA.