Student Ambassador Spotlight: Kristen Perhach, MBA Candidate 2013


Kristen Perhach
MBA Candidate 2013
Full-time student

Concentration(s): Marketing, Management, Entrepreneurship

Industry/Field of work: Former teacher turned business professional

Undergraduate Degree in: Education

Undergraduate School: Purdue University

Career Goal: Venture Capital would be a good fit for me. Ultimately, I’d like to own my own business (who doesn’t want to be their own boss?).

Organizations involved with: President of Innovation Incubator, Vice-President of Net Impact

Linkedin Profile: Kristen Perhach


What prompted you to return to school to achieve your MBA?

I wanted a career change from teaching. I was burnt out and knew I wanted something different. After doing a lot of research into various career directions, I knew business was a good fit for me.

What was the most important factor for you in choosing an MBA program?

I wanted to attend a university that was well known and reputable. Also, as I lacked work experience in the formal business world, I wanted a program that had real world, hands-on classroom experiences for me to take advantage of.

Why did you choose UIC Liautaud for your MBA?

After attending an open house at UIC February of 2011, I knew I was in the right place. Professor Rod Shrader was there and spoke about the Tech Ventures program that he taught. I was hooked right then and there. I also knew that I wanted more than anything to participate in the Tech Ventures program, and now subsequently am.

We all know that people pursue the MBA to increase their business knowledge, but since you have started the program, what has been the most unexpected gain the MBA has given you?

Over this past year, I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge, insight and have grown as a person because of this program. I have an understanding of the financial industry and can have conversations that I previously couldn’t have. One of the most valuable skills I have gained is the ability to negotiate effectively (as learned from Tom Murtha’s International Business class).

The UIC Liautaud MBA professors are continuously involved in researching new business trends and innovations. How have you felt the professors have been able to integrate their theoretical knowledge into practical applications? 

Tech Ventures! I could scream from the rooftops all day about the amazing learning experience that is this program. Quite honestly, it’s so overwhelmingly rewarding, I don’t understand why more students don’t take advantage of this program.

Which class/professor has been your favorite thus far and why?

Rod Shrader from Tech Ventures has been amazing. He’s articulate, insightful and passionate about what he does and advocates on the behalf of the class at every turn. The Tech Ventures program is a lot of work and not for the faint of heart (it’s a three-semester course series that starts in the summer). But with the tremendous amount of work that I am putting in, I hope to reap great rewards. At the very least I know that I will learn how to start my own business successfully and will know how to make the best decisions possible for a start-up.

What is your favorite aspect of the UIC campus and why?

I love how it’s centrally located to beautiful downtown Chicago….who wouldn’t love this?!

How would you define the Liautaud student?

A Liautaud student is someone who wants to change the world. We are ambitious, motivated and dedicated to our studies with the thought that we will use our theoretical knowledge to change the world to a better place.

What advice would you provide to incoming UIC Liautaud MBA students?

Take advantage of all of the extracurricular opportunities! I cannot say enough how going above and beyond the classroom setting will enhance and enrich your learning experience.