Career Academies

A Snapshot of Our Students

Meet a handful of our Strategic Innovation Career Academy students. Their backgrounds are varied and their career goals diverse. Get to know our students and their profiles, and find out if there's a place for you in the Strategic Innovation Career Academy at Tippie.

First-Year Students

Jim Kain

Jim Kain, MBA 2015

Hometown: Ames, IA
Education: Accounting, Iowa State University
Work Experience: Kohler Company (Internal Auditor and Accounting Analyst), Echo Valley Country Club (Controller)
Track: Strategic Management and Innovation

"I chose Tippie because it provided the best opportunity to reach my full potential. Through working in cross-functional teams in my previous roles I learned that my true passion is building efficient processes and helping organizations reach their optimal operational potential. The University of Iowa's Strategic Innovation Track provides the necessary tools and experiences for me to shift my career in the direction I desire. This combined with Tippie's national ranking, small class sizes, and second-to-none career services team made enrolling at the University of Iowa an easy decision."

Something interesting about me:  I have always loved golf and have stayed connected to the game by volunteering as treasurer of the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association. I also enjoy playing board games such as Agricola, Pandemic, and Twilight Struggle with friends and family.

Peter Roth

Peter Roth, MBA 2015

Hometown: Naperville, Illinois
Education: Bachelors of Science in Finance, Bradley University
Work Experience: Grain Merchandiser, Dakota Plains Ag Center (Cargill JV), Parkston, SD
Track: Strategic Management and Innovation

“My background is in agriculture, specifically trading physical commodities such as corn, soybeans, and wheat. I came to the University of Iowa to further develop my skills in order to take the next step in my career. I specifically chose the SMI track because it prepares students well for strategy and consulting positions. There are plenty of experiential learning opportunities at Tippie and second year SMI students are given the opportunity to manage a real world consulting project through the Business Solutions Center. The curriculum allows students to build an excellent foundation of knowledge so that they can immediately contribute to the success of their hiring companies upon graduation.”

Something interesting about me: I am a photographer and a cook. (Yes I love photographing my dishes)

Allison Smith

Allison Smith, MBA 2015

Hometown: Iowa City, IA
Education: Biomedical Engineering, University of Iowa
Work Experience: Health & Public Services Consultant, Accenture
Track: Strategic Management and Innovation

"I decided to pursue my MBA at Tippie because I wanted to better understand how companies make financial decisions. The Strategic Management and Innovation track is a good fit for me because it provides a solid foundation in marketing, finance, operations, strategy, and leadership while also offering a lot of opportunities for experiential learning to apply the skills we acquire. I’m especially excited about the Iowa Medical Innovation Group (IMIG) which allows second-year MBA students to collaborate with engineering, law and medical students to develop and commercialize a medical device or technology that could lead to a licensing agreement with an existing company or even the creation of a new company."

Something interesting about me:  I am an avid indoor and sand volleyball player and youth coach and organized the Tippie MBA intramural team.


Second-Year Students

Ashton Frierson

Ashton Frierson, MBA 2014

Hometown: Aurora, IL
Education: Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
Work Experience: 4G Lab Engineer with Alcatel-Lucent Technologies
Track: Supply Chain and Analytics

"The reason that I chose the Tippie School of Management is because it gave me the best opportunity to pursue a graduate degree. Coming from an engineering background, I was looking to move to the next level in my career and going into business was the step that I wanted to take. During my brief time here in Iowa, I have been able to work with a variety of different people on a multitude of projects. It is a school that will not only challenge you in the classroom but will make you a better person overall."

Haytham Hajir

Haytham Hajir, MBA 2014

Hometown: Amman, Jordan
Education: Computer Information Systems, University of Jordan
Work Experience: Systems Analyst, SIIL
: Strategic Management and Innovation

“Coming from a consulting background, I love to explore how the different departments in an organization interact, as much as I love solving business problems. The Tippie MBA SMI track's holistic coursework equips me with the toolkit I need to help organizations optimize their processes and capitalize on their potential.”

Something interesting about me: I am a photographer and a cook. (Yes I love photographing my dishes)



Kyle Bogler

Kyle Bogler, MBA 2013

Hometown: Harlan, Iowa
Education: BA Communication Studies, University of Iowa 2005
Work Experience: Operations Manager for XTRA Lease-A Berkshire Hathaway Company in Raleigh, NC/ Baltimore, MD

"The Strategic Management of Innovation track was best for me because it combined marketing, finance, entrepreneurship, and general management. The SI track curriculum is constantly changing to stay on the leading edge of real world business trends such as big data, change management, and innovative ideas. I believe it has given me the tools necessary to not only manage a business, but also build one from the ground up."

Adriane Downs

Adriane Downs, MBA 2012

Hometown: Rockford, IL
Education: Biomedical Engineering, University of Iowa
Work Experience: Design Engineer with CIVCO Medical Solutions
Track: Strategic Management of Innovation 

“I have always enjoyed learning and exposing myself to new experiences. In the Strategic Management of Innovation track, I am able to do both of these things. Coming into the program with a technical background, I appreciate the opportunity to gain a broad business experience in operations, marketing, and finance, which will allow me to work well in a cross functional position in the future.”

Something interesting about me: I am an aspiring novelist.

Kenneth Khoo

Kenneth Khoo, MBA 2012

Hometown: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Education: Management Information Systems, University of Alabama
Work Experience: Solutions Specialist, Avery Dennison 
Track: Strategic Management of Innovation

"My interests have always been in Information Technology and Strategy. During my career, I gained the opportunity to work for a company that provided me with experience in both areas. After a few years in industry, I realized that there was more that I needed learn in order to progress in my career. The SI Academy at the Tippie School of Management has provided me with the knowledge and experience I need to drive my future success.”

Something interesting about me: I have always been a food hunter and I love going around town looking for good food.

Ben Sebers

Ben Sebers, MBA 2012

Hometown: Central City, IA
Education: B.A. Economic and Business, Cornell College
Work Experience: Accounting Consultant – Diversified Investment Advisors, Cedar Rapids, IA
Track: Supply Chain and Analytics

"As an economics and business undergraduate, I always knew I wanted a get my Masters degree. When it came time to decide which program to attend, Tippie stood out with its strong curriculum and support outside the classroom. The courses focus on learning to think, not just memorizing technical skills. You don't just add those critical skills to your MBA toolbelt, but you also apply them to real-life business situations. Outside the classroom, we get a chance to meet with alumni and businesses to build our professional network and put us in contact with potential employers. Tippie sets you up for success and has provided me with a great education that I can take forward in my future career."

Tracy Suits

Tracy Suits, MBA 2011

Hometown: Calvert City, KY
Education: Chemical Engineering, University of Louisville
Work Experience: Process Engineer with Lafarge Cement
Summer Internship: Alcoa
Track: Supply Chain and Analytics

"One of my greatest passions is self-learning and improvement. These passions carry over into the desire to learn about and improve other aspects of the world around me, including processes and work places. I feel that SI allows me to combine my engineering background and my passions to improve myself and the world around me."

Something interesting about me: I travel to eat. I love going to new places and experiencing the local cuisines. I also love to cook and collect recipes and cookbooks.

Adam Butterfield

Adam Butterfield, MBA 2011

Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
Education: Construction Management, Brigham Young University
Work Experience: Project manager/estimator in civil construction
Summer Internship: UI Planning and Design
: Strategic Management and Innovation

"I chose SI because Process and Operations Excellence will help me improve systems and processes in construction. I feel that although processes used in the construction industry are generally much more variable than manufacturing, the processes can be improved and streamlined more than is currently done by most companies."

Something interesting about me: I enjoy being outdoors, backpacking, hiking, snowboarding, and wake boarding. I closely follow politics and read American history.

Ibrahim Jivanjee

Ibrahim Jivanjee, MBA 2011

Hometown: San Dimas, CA
Education: Molecular Biology, University of California-San Diego
Work Experience: 2 years at a startup biotechnology company
Summer Internship: UIRF
Track: Strategic Management and Innovation

"I chose the strategic innovation track because of my desire to eventually start my own company and because of its relevance in today's fast-paced global economy. SI is ideal for my personal goal, which is to improve the quality of people's lives by marketing/implementing innovative solutions and technologies."

Something interesting about me: I enjoy building computers in my spare time.

Aric Asplund

Jeremy Peterson, MBA 2011

Hometown: Roswell, GA
Education: B.S. in Biology, Brigham Young University
Work Experience: General manager for Human Capital Group in Shanghai, China
Summer Internship: Gavilon
Track: Strategic Management and Innovation

"I chose Tippie because of the great foundation in finance principles I'd receive. SMI provides exposure to a wide variety of professionals and companies at the forefront of innovation, always improving how they do business. It's these companies, chomping at the bit to be better, that become industry leaders tomorrow, and that's where I want to be."

Something interesting about me: I'm helping to build a 4,000-square-foot house that will require no AC or heating, collects rain for exclusive water usage, and will be powered by wind and sun, all for $40,000. The labor is all volunteer, plus the owner. It's ambitious, but I expect to see him moved in by winter of my second year.

Chris Buckner

Chris Buckner, MBA 2010

Hometown: Mound, MN
Education: Aerospace Engineering, University of Minnesota
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Systems Engineering Lead, Rockwell Collins
Track: Strategic Management and Innovation
Post-MBA Work Experience: Delta Airlines

"I chose SI as it gave me a great balance of all parts of business and allowed me the flexibility to choose positions that combined marketing and strategy—two areas I am interested in pursuing in my career."

Something interesting about me: I love playing hockey and have played since I was 4.

Kunal Bonsra

Kunal Bonsra, MBA 2010

Hometown: Mumbai, India
Education: Marine Engineering, Birla Institute of Technology & Science
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Operational/managerial roles, energy/transportation industry
Track: Supply Chain and Analytics
Post-MBA Work Experience:

"SI has helped me to develop my critical analysis skills and encouraged me take an integrated view of different business operations. The academy maintains a balance between practical and theoretical, and consulting/RCI opportunities with John Deere and Hearth & Home have helped me develop unique skills and think strategically. At graduation I'll have a Six Sigma Green Belt, adding value for my employer right away."

Something interesting about me: I have also been involved in a couple of life-threatening situations. My ship (I served on oil tankers as a marine engineer previously) was caught in major storms, and these incidents help me learn to remain calm in difficult situations."

Jordan Fife


Jordan Fife, MBA 2010

Hometown: Seattle, WA
Education: Degree in Operations Management, DeVry University
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Operations, Fortune 500 international logistics company
Track: Supply Chain and Analytics
Post-MBA Work Experience: American Greetings

"SI gets right to the heart of the big picture and really stretches your boundaries. It's not a simple exercise in thinking outside the box; there's a 'roll up your sleeves' aspect that appeals to me. Process improvement is new and interesting to learn about; it's like CSI without the gun! You get to do detective work and solve major problems. It truly incorporates all of the knowledge and skills I'm getting during business school. If you're a generalist when it comes to business and have the mindset and passion to make major changes through problem solving and game-changing innovation, I highly recommend the SI track."

Something interesting about me: In my spare time, I love making, recording, and mixing music. If I was a better musician, I might skip a career and just be a rock star.

Akila Rengaswamy Panneer Selvam

Akila Rengaswamy Panneer Selvam, MBA 2010

Hometown: Trichirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India
Education: Electronics & Instrumentation Engineering, Bharathidasan University
Pre-MBA Work Experience: Tata Consultancy, Assistant Systems Engineer
Track: Supply Chain and Analytics
Post-MBA Work Experience: Hearth and Home

"A good day's work means being able to say 'I have improved a process and taken one step toward excellence today.' The SI academy is all about those little steps that you need to take to improve every day."

Something interesting about me: I am always curious and like to learn new things—especially a new skill, so I recently got my motorcycle driver's license. I wrecked three cars last winter!