Alumni Success Stories
Jimmy Merritello, BBA '13 Entreprenurial Studies
I grew up in Addison, IL.
What prompted you to choose UIC?
My father, mother, aunt, and uncle each attended UIC for their undergrad degrees. The city location, reputable university name, and reasonable price were also more practical reasons.
Did you always know you were going to be a business major?
I dabbled with other ideas, but always seemed to come back to business because it can be applied in so many career settings. I love the idea of starting and/or reinvigorating companies though, which is what led me to become an entrepreneurship major.
Is there a stand-out moment, class, classmate, or professor that you care to mention?
I heavily endorse my Organizational Theory class with Sophia Marinova, as well as New Venture Formation & New Venture Planning with Antonio Paco Giuliani. These two professors were most influential on me. They helped me round out strategic thinking skills that I utilize every day.
What have you been working on since graduation?
I have been working on strategy, branding, and integrated marketing efforts for a number of clients at Red Caffeine in Lombard, IL. We're a full-service marketing and technology firm.
How was being a business major helpful in starting your career?
It opened up ways of understanding commerce on a grand scale, and then also to analyze how companies can and perhaps should operate to be most effective. A lot of what I do at work maps back to understanding how companies compete, and not always just on a marketing level. Being a business major exposes you to all aspects of a company, but you really get what you put into it in terms of each functional area (i.e. marketing, HR, finance, operations, etc.).
What advice would you give students and young alumni looking to begin their career?
I advise business students to know what sort of industries and companies they'd like to work in or start for themselves. You're going to do your best work when you have a passion for it. Also try to figure out the good and the bad, and help your company make good things happen any way you can. If you think you can make a positive impact after doing your homework, then just go for it. With how quickly business changes, new perspectives are a constant necessity in every company and industry.