Student Spotlight

January 2019

Each month, we highlight current students and/or alumni of the iMBA program for their outstanding effort and commitment to improving the educational experience of their peers.

Student Spotlight

January 2019

Each month, we highlight current students and/or alumni of the iMBA program for their outstanding effort and commitment to improving the educational experience of their peers.

Kristin Jugovich Vitek

Current Job Title: Director US Marketing
Company/Organization: Sunstar (GUM brand)
Program Start Date: Spring 2017
Graduation Date/Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2019

Read More about Kristin

Favorite Part of the Program: The cohorts.  The Gies College of Business broke the mold with the iMBA – as it has given me the opportunity to create lifelong friends and meaningful connections.  The iMBA offers us more than just a future alumni network, I believe the bonds are real and truly forever.  Gies is business on purpose, and the iMBA adds passion to that purpose.  Thank you for letting me take this journey.
Fun Fact about Yourself: My husband, Joe, and I now have four fishtanks – and most of the fishes are orange and blue.  Go Illini!

Kristin is an amazing asset to the program. She represents a very intelligent business expert but takes it over the top with her creative and outside the box thinking. – Jeff Haynes, iMBA Alum

Kristin Jugovich Vitek

Current Job Title: Director US Marketing
Company/Organization: Sunstar (GUM brand)
Program Start Date: Spring 2017
Graduation Date/Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2019

Read More about Kristin

Favorite Part of the Program: The cohorts.  The Gies College of Business broke the mold with the iMBA – as it has given me the opportunity to create lifelong friends and meaningful connections.  The iMBA offers us more than just a future alumni network, I believe the bonds are real and truly forever.  Gies is business on purpose, and the iMBA adds passion to that purpose. Thank you for letting me take this journey.
Fun Fact about Yourself: My husband, Joe, and I now have four fishtanks – and most of the fishes are orange and blue.  Go Illini!

Kristin is an amazing asset to the program. She represents a very intelligent business expert but takes it over the top with her creative and outside the box thinking. – Jeff Haynes, iMBA Alum

Alaa Elhawwari

Current Job Title: Chief Technical Instructor / SME
Company/Organization: General Motors
Program Start Date: Spring 2018
Graduation Date/Expected Graduation Date: Fall 2019

Read More about Alaa
Favorite Part of the Program: The family feeling, cause wherever I go, and whomever I meet or talk to from the iMBA, it always feels like a family. And family is all what matters.
Fun Fact about Yourself: I am made of coffee and bad decisions.

Alaa was nominated by multiple students for his welcoming demeanor, active participation in student panel webinars and development of new student onboarding videos. Ben Robinson (current iMBA student) adds, “I have reached out to Alaa personally a few times with questions and he ALWAYS responds with detailed information and opinions. I appreciate his efforts very much and he has personally made me feel more at ease about beginning the program.”

Alaa Elhawwari

Current Job Title: Chief Technical Instructor / SME
Company/Organization: General Motors
Program Start Date: Spring 2018
Graduation Date/Expected Graduation Date: Fall 2019

Read More about Alaa
Favorite Part of the Program: The family feeling, cause wherever I go, and whomever I meet or talk to from the iMBA, it always feels like a family. And family is all what matters.
Fun Fact about Yourself: I am made of coffee and bad decisions.

Alaa was nominated by multiple students for his welcoming demeanor, active participation in student panel webinars and development of new student onboarding videos. Ben Robinson (current iMBA student) adds, “I have reached out to Alaa personally a few times with questions and he ALWAYS responds with detailed information and opinions. I appreciate his efforts very much and he has personally made me feel more at ease about beginning the program.”

Khem Singh

Current Job Title: Manager – Quality Assurance
Company/Organization: VirnetX
Program Start Date: Spring 2017 (Official cohort Fall 2017)
Graduation Date/Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2019

Read More about Khem

Favorite Part of the Program:
Beside our world class faculty, I believe what sets iMBA apart from the rest is the diversity of students in terms of professional, cultural and personal experiences. I absolutely love the opportunity to interact and learn from my peers from all over the world. It’s my favorite part of the program after, of course, the second best: Tuesday night deadlines!
Fun Fact about Yourself: My first job interview right after college was for a content creator for local radio stations in Delhi, India. I got rejected after a voice audition and the feedback was that I spoke too fast, I was too nervous being in a sound proof room and a mic in front of me for the very first time. Now, it was no Indian Idol audition but I still think about it sometimes.

The Student and Academic Services team nominated Khem and staff shared the following:
“Khem was incredibly helpful in our ambassador live sessions for non-degree students. He stayed for nearly 2 hours for 2 sessions (4 hours in total) in Zoom helping students learn more about the program from a student perspective. Khem has previously been a student ambassador and is always willing to help fellow students. He is always a willing contributor and has taken initiative and suggested several improvements in the way we engage with students as well.”

Khem Singh

Current Job Title: Manager – Quality Assurance
Company/Organization: VirnetX
Program Start Date: Spring 2017 (Official cohort Fall 2017)
Graduation Date/Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2019

Read More about Khem
Favorite Part of the Program: Beside our world class faculty, I believe what sets iMBA apart from the rest is the diversity of students in terms of professional, cultural and personal experiences. I absolutely love the opportunity to interact and learn from my peers from all over the world. It’s my favorite part of the program after, of course, the second best: Tuesday night deadlines!
Fun Fact about Yourself: My first job interview right after college was for a content creator for local radio stations in Delhi, India. I got rejected after a voice audition and the feedback was that I spoke too fast, I was too nervous being in a sound proof room and a mic in front of me for the very first time. Now, it was no Indian Idol audition but I still think about it sometimes.

The Student and Academic Services team nominated Khem and staff shared the following:
“Khem was incredibly helpful in our ambassador live sessions for non-degree students. He stayed for nearly 2 hours for 2 sessions (4 hours in total) in Zoom helping students learn more about the program from a student perspective. Khem has previously been a student ambassador and is always willing to help fellow students. He is always a willing contributor and has taken initiative and suggested several improvements in the way we engage with students as well.”

Jeff McRitchie

Current Job Title: VP of Ecommerce
Company/Organization: MyBinding.com
Program Start Date: Spring 2018
Graduation Date/Expected Graduation Date: Fall 2019

Read More about Jeff
Favorite Part of the Program: The people are amazing from all over the world and from every industry.  I love the networking and the ability to work together with so many incredibly talented individuals.
Fun Fact about Yourself: I have always been an entrepreneur.  I started my first businesses as a kid and have never looked back.

Jeff received numerous nominations for his dedication to spearheading the creation and delivery of study groups in some of the program’s most challenging courses. Kaz Rafia, a current student in the program, noted, “He’s personally devoted hundreds of hours helping other students in the program through his study groups. He ran back to his room once (while on vacation with his family!!) just so he could run the study session for that particular class. I can personally attest to the fact that I would not have gotten through Process Management without him.”

Jeff McRitchie

Current Job Title: VP of Ecommerce
Company/Organization: MyBinding.com
Program Start Date: Spring 2018
Graduation Date/Expected Graduation Date: Fall 2019

Read More about Jeff
Favorite Part of the Program: The people are amazing from all over the world and from every industry.  I love the networking and the ability to work together with so many incredibly talented individuals.
Fun Fact about Yourself: I have always been an entrepreneur.  I started my first businesses as a kid and have never looked back.

Jeff received numerous nominations for his dedication to spearheading the creation and delivery of study groups in some of the program’s most challenging courses. Kaz Rafia, a current student in the program, noted, “He’s personally devoted hundreds of hours helping other students in the program through his study groups. He ran back to his room once (while on vacation with his family!!) just so he could run the study session for that particular class. I can personally attest to the fact that I would not have gotten through Process Management without him.”

Karen Lubeck

Current Job Title: Consultant -marketing, digital strategy, client/consumer engagement in higher education/non-profit industries
Company/Organization: Self-employed, RhumelineEd Consulting (but looking for my next new role)
Program Start Date: Spring 2017
Graduation Date/Expected Graduation Date: Fall 2019

Read More about Karen
Favorite Part of the Program: Without doubt the people and its remarkable community! To quote a fellow classmate, “the education makes the program interesting; the people make it amazing.” Since that first class with Larry DeBrock in January 2017, this journey continues to overflow with knowledge sharing, humor, respect, kindness and challenge. Where else can you find help from a Moscow classmate in a moment of seconds, enjoy laughter and celebration with friends around the globe at semester’s end and dive into respectful discord navigating the infamous “it depends” world of gray? The friends that I have made, my classmates, the faculty and staff and all who help to make this program special, that is my favorite part. Thankful each and every day for the opportunity to laugh with and learn from them.
Fun Fact about Yourself: In my first career, I was an Alpine Skiing head coach at both junior and NCAA Division 1 levels traveling the globe working with some of today’s top elite athletes. I was fortunate to have two mentors grab me under their wing and lead me to the most incredible opportunities coaching either side-by-side with my idols or, in some cases, coaching their kids. Even to this day, I cherish every frozen minute on those ski hills. No matter my career or role, I will always be a coach at heart.

“Karen is always quick to help out the admissions team through webinars, interviews, and any other initiatives the program is running. Karen’s energy and passion for the iMBA program quickly shines through when she interacts with the prospects, and her genuine love for learning is amazing to see.” Robert Towner, Assistant Director of Recruitment and Admissions, Online Programs

Karen Lubeck

Current Job Title: Consultant -marketing, digital strategy, client/consumer engagement in higher education/non-profit industries
Company/Organization: Self-employed, RhumelineEd Consulting (but looking for my next new role)
Program Start Date: Spring 2017
Graduation Date/Expected Graduation Date: Fall 2019

Read More about Karen
Favorite Part of the Program: Without doubt the people and its remarkable community! To quote a fellow classmate, “the education makes the program interesting; the people make it amazing.” Since that first class with Larry DeBrock in January 2017, this journey continues to overflow with knowledge sharing, humor, respect, kindness and challenge. Where else can you find help from a Moscow classmate in a moment of seconds, enjoy laughter and celebration with friends around the globe at semester’s end and dive into respectful discord navigating the infamous “it depends” world of gray? The friends that I have made, my classmates, the faculty and staff and all who help to make this program special, that is my favorite part. Thankful each and every day for the opportunity to laugh with and learn from them.
Fun Fact about Yourself: In my first career, I was an Alpine Skiing head coach at both junior and NCAA Division 1 levels traveling the globe working with some of today’s top elite athletes. I was fortunate to have two mentors grab me under their wing and lead me to the most incredible opportunities coaching either side-by-side with my idols or, in some cases, coaching their kids. Even to this day, I cherish every frozen minute on those ski hills. No matter my career or role, I will always be a coach at heart.

“Karen is always quick to help out the admissions team through webinars, interviews, and any other initiatives the program is running. Karen’s energy and passion for the iMBA program quickly shines through when she interacts with the prospects, and her genuine love for learning is amazing to see.” Robert Towner, Assistant Director of Recruitment and Admissions, Online Programs