A serious medical issue with a parent would frighten most young girls. For Jennifer Evemeyer, now a second-year MBA student in Purdue's Krannert School of Management, it proved to be a career-molding moment.
"My mom had heart problems from the time I was little, and when I was 12, she had to have open-heart surgery to replace one of her valves," she says. "I remember thinking to myself, 'Someone who will never meet my mom invented this thing that saved her life.' I thought if I could do that someday, it would make me very happy."
- On a mission
After high school, Jennifer, a San Francisco native, traveled down the coast to the University of California, San Diego, where she majored in biomedical engineering. During an internship, she decided to pursue an MBA to further evolve her career aspirations.
"When I started, I thought I wanted to invent medical devices," Jennifer says. "After a while, I realized I would prefer to help introduce devices into the marketplace or improve those devices already there."
- Business decisions
As part of her business school selection process, Jennifer compiled a list of medical device companies where she would want to work. Then, she found which schools' students were recruited to work at those companies. Her list included the universities of Notre Dame, Virginia, Chicago and Illinois, but one name kept popping up throughout the search -- Purdue.
"It was a great choice," she says. "The coursework has been challenging and I've been very busy, but I can spend 16 hours a day at Rawls Hall and still be truly excited about what I'm doing."
- In-demand skills
By the end of her first semester in the MBA program, five companies had Jennifer on their own lists, offering her a summer internship. She chose one close to her current home at Purdue -- Roche Diagnostics, a global leader in health care with U.S. headquarters in Indianapolis.
A Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Jennifer contributed to continuous improvement processes at Roche's on-site manufacturing facility, which produces the ACCU-CHEK portfolio of diabetes management devices.
- A career with heart
In addition to her studies, Jennifer continues to work in manufacturing at Roche as part of an extended internship that takes her to Indianapolis each Friday -- the one day of the school week that MBA students don't have classes.
She believes that her experience in operations management, combined with her technical background, will make her a valuable, full-time asset to Roche when she graduates in May.
You can be certain her mother believes it, too. "She realizes that I chose an interesting way to look at my experience when I was young," Jennifer says. "I think she's really proud of me."