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MBA student puts heart into her work

A serious medical issue with a parent would scare most young girls. For Jennifer Evemeyer, it proved to be a career-molding moment.

“My mom had heart problems from the time I was little,” says Evemeyer, a first-year MBA student at Purdue’s Krannert School of Management. “When I was 12, she had to have open-heart surgery, and they had to replace one of her valves.

“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.”

The San Francisco native headed down the coast to the University of California, San Diego, where she majored in biomedical engineering. During an internship there, she realized that she would not be able to advance her career as she desired without an MBA.

“When I started, I thought I wanted to invent medical devices. After a while, I realized I would prefer to help introduce devices into the marketplace or improve those already there,” Evemeyer says.

As part of her school selection, she compiled a list of medical device companies where she would desire to work. Then, she found which schools had students recruited to work at those companies. Her list included Notre Dame, Virginia, Chicago, and Illinois, but one name kept popping up through 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.”

Evemeyer works as a graduate assistant in Purdue’s Dauch Center for the Management of Manufacturing Enterprises. She believes that her experience gained in operations management, combined with her technical background, will make her a valuable asset for a medical device company.  Companies agree—Evemeyer has received five internship offers for next summer.

Until then, she will continue to interact with her classmates—“learning from them has been great,”—and planning for her career once she graduates in 2013.

And she’ll keep mom smiling as well. “She realizes that I chose an interesting way to look at my experience when I was young,” Evemeyer says. “I think she’s really proud of me.”