My experience with clubs as an MIS student

Written by: Utsav Haldar, MS MIS ‘22 

A full-time MIS student must complete 37 credits in two semesters. One credit will count towards an internship or certification while the remaining will account for your courses. With 18 credits (roughly 6 subjects) a semester, you are juggling between classes, assignments, group projects, team meetings and submissions. Many students take jobs on campus. Sounds overwhelming? Did I mention exams?  

For many graduate students in the MIS program, the notion of investing time in a non-curriculum activity may seem too much or unnecessary. Clearly any free time is worthy of some food, drinks, and parties. And to that I say, “I agree.” But can we still do more and yet feel relaxed? 

Student clubs are ways in which one can learn, have fun, and enjoy a graduate experience. There are 559 student organizations listed on UBLinked, out of which 22 are School of Management (SOM) clubs. They cover cultural, social, professional and a wide range of interests. They conduct regular gathering and events where you can participate, meet new people, make new friends from all over the world and have some fun. Quite often they come with free food and goodies. 

UB Rowing Club 

As I was planning to return to campus this Fall, I was looking for groups to play sports (not much of a gym guy here). I stumbled upon an Instagram post by the Student Association that the Rowing club of UB was accepting student members. I jumped on that opportunity and wrote to the coach. Sense my excitement here, I always wanted to row! Coach Liz responded and asked me to join the day Fall-term began, and I was there.  

I have had an incredible time with UB Rowing. I was getting up at 5 am, sharing a ride to the UB Boathouse, working together to get us out on the water quickly, teaming up and rowing as instructed. Our coaches were available to guide us all the time. My time at the club taught me that learning takes time and effort. Every day can be different, and we must continue to adapt to move forward. It is not just about us but our team. Identify your role and do your best. 

As part of the UB Rowing team, my team and I raced at the Head of the Buffalo Regatta and won the first place in the novice category. I was steering the boat and coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers as the Coxswain. The medal signifies more than just winning but the possibility of students like me to be a part of something bigger and to have the discipline to learn and shine in the face of adversity. 

PUB (Product at UB) Club 

My goal at UB was to learn and grow my Product Management portfolio through the right combination of technology and management courses. While I found the right courses, I was looking for similar interest groups on campus to work outside of classrooms, talk about industry trends and bridge some of my unaddressed skills. When I couldn’t find the right fit, I was motivated to start a product community at UB that could help me and others with similar interests. I was connected to Melissa Ruggiero and Christopher Salem, who encouraged me to gauge the interest among the larger student community before I went ahead with it. Some of my peers at the MIS program were equally passionate about this field and we decided to work together to bring this to life.  

By summer we were convinced that we had a great deal of interest in the current and incoming group of students. Our first initiative, Product Confluence, was a success. Soon after, my team and I formalized the mission, objectives, necessary paperwork and put together an ambitious calendar of events for the fall semester. We were determined to bring value to our community through experiential learning and networking. 

I am grateful to all the product leaders and product communities who accepted our request to collaborate, and Prof. Pavankumar Mulgand and our alumni for their constant support and participation. I am proud to say that we have successfully carried out our plans for the semester. We will continue to identify new areas of development, learn together and grow together.  

And just like that, we were able to start a community for something that we were passionate about. UB encourages and makes it easy for students to identify their passion and nurtures them. What better way to relax than doing something you love! 


Bio – Utsav was born in Kolkata, India. He grew up in the city of Pondicherry, Rewari, and Kolkata with his elder sister and parents. Utsav earned his bachelor’s degree from Visvesvaraya Technological University in Karnataka, majoring in computer science and engineering. He graduated with a master’s degree in MIS from University at Buffalo in 2022 where he built his techno-functional skills, leadership abilities and expanded his professional network. He was an active member of the UB community and was one of the founders and President of the Product at UB (PUB) club. He was also one of the Student Ambassadors of the MIS program in the School of Management.

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