Startup Experience, Business Analytics, and the Spirit of Never Giving Up



By Scott Lewis
Girija Jamadagni (M.B.A.-BANL ’24)

After working in accounting for several years, Girija Jamadagni (M.B.A.-BANL ’24) switched up her career path to build a thriving startup offering business development, video and ad production, and marketing services in her hometown of Pune, India.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“The pandemic forced me to start anew,” she says, “and with my husband already working in the United States, I made the decision to relocate here and pursue a career in business and marketing. I thought an M.B.A. would be ideal to complement my practical experience from the startup. I also recognized that I lacked the technical skills and proficiency in analytical tools that are crucial for business decision-making.”

She chose the M.B.A. Business Analytics program at Illinois Institute of Technology’s Stuart School of Business because it aligned exactly with what she was looking for.

Her early weeks as a graduate student, though, were rocky.

“I arrived a week after the start of the semester,” Jamadagni recalls. “I did not have a place to stay, and I knew nothing about Chicago.” Anxious about getting caught up with her courses, she reached out to two of her professors and explained her situation.

“Associate Professor of Economics Priyanka Sharma walked me through everything I needed to do to get on track that semester,” she says. “Professor of Marketing Krishna Erramilli has been my mentor since then throughout the program. I’ll never forget their help and support.”

Along with knowledgeable, supportive faculty and the chance to take a deep dive into analytics and digital technology skills for management, Jamadagni points to the opportunities for real-world projects in her courses—such as developing a marketing plan for a local startup—as the major highlights of her experience at Stuart. “In the analytics courses I’m constantly learning skills and tools that I wish I had known when I was running my own business,” she says.

As she approaches graduation, Jamadagni has been honored for her academic excellence with membership in the Beta Gamma Sigma international business honor society. She’s also conducting an independent study with Adjunct Faculty Rob Nelson that draws on all of her M.B.A. studies.

“I’m working on a consulting project for a local company and am tasked with designing a comprehensive marketing campaign for a health care product leveraging intelligence automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence technologies,” she says. “It’s very exciting and enriching academically, and also enhances my prospects in the job market.”

Looking ahead, she is putting her job search into high gear, pursuing career opportunities in branding, marketing, business development, and strategic management. “I love Chicago and hope to find a job here,” she says. “However, I am open to working anywhere in the country.”

“Building my own business from scratch taught me important lessons about leadership, hard work, team building, and most importantly the spirit of never giving up,” she says. “Ultimately, securing meaningful employment will mark the successful achievement and tangible impact of my academic journey at Illinois Tech.”