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May 24, 2024 Alumni Business Administration

From Biology To Business: Charting a new course at Gies College of Business

Sometimes a shift in someone’s plan can bring a brand new perspective. This was certainly the case for Angela Alburei, a graduate of the Gies College of Business Master’s in Business Analytics (MSBA) program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, who transitioned from an undergraduate degree in integrative biology to making waves in the world of business analytics.

Initially set on becoming a clinician, Angela’s pivot away from the healthcare track was triggered by a research experience she had while completing an iBio summer internship with the Hauber Lab during her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois. There, she developed a new appreciation for data and analytics. This led her to Gies College of Business for their inaugural year of the MSBA program, where she could learn how to combine her original passion for improving healthcare with her new passion for analytics. Angela enrolled Fall 2022 and by November, had accepted a job offer as an analyst working in healthcare analytics.

The MSBA at Gies College of Business is a nine-month, STEM-designated program that teaches skills for high-demand jobs through a strong integration of finance, information systems, and accounting – along with data analytics skills like gathering, managing, analyzing, and communicating data.

Angela’s experience at Gies was marked by her active participation in the Disruption LabLeadership Council, and Gies Business Practicum, where she took a deep dive into the intricacies of business consulting with Strata Decision Technology. Angela’s signature project during this time was creating a new neural network analysis for her client. Her experience in extra-curriculars alongside the MSBA program allowed her to build strong connections with industry leaders and establish her reputation early on at Gies. 

“It meant a lot to have somebody in my corner. That’s what made me come back and stay true to the University of Illinois.” Angela takes a pragmatic approach when reflecting on her decision to return to the University of Illinois for post-graduate education. “Gies provides the best resources out of anyone else out there,” she notes, highlighting the practical support she received during her tenure.

Post-MSBA, Angela secured a position at Impact Advisors, a Chicago-based healthcare consulting company, starting as an analyst and quickly climbing the ladder to a senior consultant role. Her day-to-day activities involve meeting with clients, addressing pain points, and developing data-driven solutions. Angela’s rise was not only swift but strategic; she leveraged the work done during her time at Gies to innovate better solutions in the workplace and gain recognition in her field. While recognizing the challenges of implementing new technologies, Angela expresses her excitement about the current “prime time to be in tech,” emphasizing the role of technology and data analytics in addressing community needs in healthcare.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Angela attended and presented at the Women in Technology conference at Ball State University in 2023, shedding light on the importance of gender diversity in the tech industry. Looking ahead, Angela envisions remaining in consulting, continuing to build on her skills, and embracing the potential innovations in artificial intelligence. 

“New tech takes dedication and hard work to implement, but when it comes to AI, I can feel the excitement to overcome these challenges and reap the benefits of modern technology in healthcare,” she said.

Angela’s journey reflects the ever-evolving landscape of education and career paths, where unexpected turns can lead to great success. Her story stands as a testament to the adaptability and resilience demanded in the world of business and technology. At the University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business, there are several business graduate programs available for anyone interested in taking the next step in their path to purpose in business.