Student Perspectives

In their own words

A sampling of our top students reveal how the Lindner College of Business has impacted them, both personally and professionally.

Claire Binford, BBA '19

Claire Binford headshot

Claire Binford

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration (Class of 2019)
Fields of Study: Finance and Business Economics
Activities and Societies:

  • Lindner Women in Business (Philanthropy Team)
  • Lindner Student Association (Executive Member)
  • Bearcat Launchpad (Treasurer)
  • University of Cincinnati Greek Week (Membership Chairman)
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority (Education Chairman)

If I could summarize my experience at the Lindner College of Business in one word, that word would be opportunity. Truthfully, in the beginning, it was definitely overwhelming opportunity. What would I major in? What organizations were right for me? Who would help me along the way to achieving my goals? And lastly, what actually were my goals?

Coming from a graduating class where less than five percent attended the University of Cincinnati, college became a fresh start for me. I had a vague idea of what my next four years would look like, but I knew the best way to start would be by stepping out of my comfort zone.

The best aspect about entering Lindner as a freshman was that the college pushes students to do just that — step outside of our comfort zones and step towards new opportunities. Within my first year, I joined organizations, tested out majors (I think five in total), and met many mentors along the way to help guide me through the process. I started to feel so connected within the college, and at a university of more than 40,000 undergraduate students, I began to feel at home.

My first-year experience led me to co-op after my freshman summer, working in personal wealth management at Merrill Lynch. Entering this role, I had little knowledge of the field, and by this point in my college career, I hadn’t taken any finance courses. Ironically, it was here that I truly found that my passion lies within finance, and shortly after, I declared what would be my final major.

The invaluable opportunity to obtain real-world experiences has been the biggest impact during my time at UC. Aside from coursework, I'll graduate with exposure to various working environments ranging from a big four accounting firm to a consulting firm with 50 employees. Co-op has given me exposure to operations management, IT auditing, data analytics, financial modeling, consulting and wealth management. Most of all, I've discovered what I am passionate about before deciding my career. Not only has co-op enabled me to experience what I love, but it has given me a jump-start to developing professional and leadership skills that will stick with me long after graduation.

I soon realized that the more I stepped out of my comfort zone and chased my passions, the more doors seemed to open for me. Shortly after my first co-op, I was accepted into the Kolodzik Business Scholars program, one of the most impactful organizations in my years at UC.

My largest piece of advice for prospective Lindner students would be this: aggressively chase your passions and the rest will follow. As I did so, the Kolodzik Business Scholars acted as a catalyst that led me to experiences I could have never initially imagined upon entering college. 

In the past few years, I have studied international finance in Spain, lived and worked in my dream city, and have met countless people who have inspired and enabled me to pursue new and exciting opportunities. Throughout each of my adventures, there seemed to be either current Lindner students or alumni walking alongside of me.

Now, looking back just four short years later, I'm faced with the same dilemma I entered college with: overwhelming opportunity. But I find that the questions I ask myself are much different than they were in the past. Where will life take me next?  Which full-time opportunity will I choose to pursue? Which city will I live in, and what will life be like without Skyline Chili? And, I’ve even wondered, how and when did I get here?

As I reflect on my time spent at UC, I do have at least one of those answers. I truly attribute my growth over the past four years to this college, its programs, its people and the way the college seems to make a new door open every time one closes.

Angela Brown, BBA '20

Angela Brown wearing a "Bullseye University" t-shirt pointing to a Target logo

Angela Brown

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration (Class of 2020)
Fields of Study: Marketing and Information Systems
Activities, Awards and Societies:

  • Business Fellows
  • Lindner Student Ambassadors
  • Lindner Economics Society
  • American Marketing Association, University of Cincinnati Chapter (Vice President)
  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT)
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Youth Council
  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • University of Cincinnati Emerging Ethnic Leaders
  • University of Cincinnati United Black Student Association
  • 1819 Residential Education and Development Award
  • University of Cincinnati Resident Advisor

I think it’s very important to help students younger than me reach their goals. If I could provide any advice to prospective students, I would encourage them to talk to their advisors and make sure they are on track. I would also encourage students to take advantage of the networking opportunities that the University of Cincinnati has to offer. These experiences have been instrumental in getting me to where I am today.

As a transfer student from another university, I found comfort in the numerous programs offered by the University of Cincinnati’s Lindner College of Business, particularly Business Fellows. This program has equipped me with the tools, knowledge and resources to succeed after college.

Business Fellows has also led me to a program I have grown to love: Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT)—a national career preparatory program for high-achieving students.

Outside of Business Fellows, the Lindner College of Business has prepared me for a successful career by pushing me to take advantage of study abroad opportunities and co-op programs to enhance my cultural competence. By engaging in those experiences, I have been able to solve problems that are applicable to the real world.

Recently, I was selected as a Forbes Under 30 Scholar and will be attending a national summit in Boston, MA with some of the top innovators in business. This is an amazing opportunity and I’m thankful to be given the chance to put the Lindner College of Business on the map!

Bianca Catibog, MBA '18, MS '18

Left to right: MBA students Joey Kappen and Abby Burdon, Rhinegeist Director of Culture Dennis Kramer-Wine, and MBA students Jonathan Lee, Bianca Catibog and Jon Vincent.

The 2018 Rhinegeist Brewery MBA Capstone team. From left to right: MBA students Joey Kappen and Abby Burdon, Rhinegeist Director of Culture Dennis Kramer-Wine, and MBA students Jonathan Lee, Bianca Catibog and Jon Vincent.

Graduate Degrees: Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science in Marketing (Class of 2018)
Activities and Societies:

  • National Association of Women MBAs
  • International Immersion Study Abroad Program (Shanghai, China)

After spending nearly five years working in the entertainment industry and more recently, at a B2B ad agency in Cincinnati, I found myself wanting to grow but simply didn’t know how. Coming from a non-business background, I lacked the foundation in business that I knew I needed in order to develop as a marketing professional. So, I left my job to pursue the full-time Master of Science in Marketing and MBA programs at the University of Cincinnati.

I was intimidated. It’d been a while since I’d been a student, and I kept questioning if my professional experience would be enough to contribute meaningfully to the classroom. To my surprise, I learned quickly that many of the other students were in the same boat. There were varying levels of work experience, but we were all working toward honing our business expertise. Despite the similarities, our professional backgrounds were very diverse, which led to enriching discussions in and out of the classroom.

During my time at Lindner, my classmates and professors challenged me—something that I’m truly grateful for now. Both programs exposed me to different disciplines that were completely foreign to me before. Above all, they instilled in me the importance of perpetually learning and continually striving for more.

Now, I walk into work every day knowing that I’m well-equipped to handle anything that comes my way. And if by some chance I’m not? I know challenge is worth the experience and growth.

Rachel Kimura, BBA '20

Rachel Kimura standing on a bridge overlooking boats in a harbor

Rachel Kimura

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science (Class of 2020)
Fields of Study:

  • Finance (Carl H. Lindner College of Business)
  • Biology, Premedical (College of Arts & Sciences, College of Medicine)
  • Art History Minor (College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning)

Activities, Awards and Societies:

  • Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Scholar
  • Robert and Rose Fealy Named Scholar
  • Cincinnatus Presidential Scholar (one of eight in the Class of 2019-20)
  • Thomas J. Watson Memorial Scholar
  • Lindner Student Ambassadors (President)
  • University of Cincinnati Emerging Campus Leaders (Mentor)
  • University of Cincinnati Student Alumni Council (SAC)
  • University of Cincinnati ROAR Tour Guide
  • Serve Beyond Cincinnati
  • Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority (Scholarship Director)

Over the course of the past four years as a student at the Lindner College of Business, I have been able to write my own story of empowerment, adventure and growth. One might say that I took an unconventional path in college by majoring in Finance and Biology on a Premedical track. However, I was supported throughout my academic ventures. I aspire to one day go into private equity with a focus on the healthcare industry, so that I can indirectly impact patients through the growth of healthcare companies.

The honors programs that I am a part of pushed me to make an impact on campus, and the scholarships that I received showed me the importance of paying it forward. Lindner Honors-PLUS brought me to New York City for the first time and took me to European cities that I had never even previously dreamed of being able to see. My involvement with this program as well as my five Lindner Professional Experiences (co-ops and internships) have helped me develop as a professional. As a Cincinnatus Presidential Scholar, I have been able to see the positive impact that generosity has on a community, which inspires me to help others.

The Lindner College of Business has taught me that life is about so much more than getting a degree; it is about gaining experiences, broadening one’s horizons, and positively impacting others. As President of Lindner Student Ambassadors, I have had the honor of sharing my Lindner story with hundreds of potential new students. I want prospective students to know that my story could be theirs. Everyone has the opportunity to study abroad and experience a trip of a lifetime. Companies are constantly seeking out Lindner students for professional experiences and the Lindner Career Services advisors help each and every student sculpt their academic experiences into anything that they desire.

Jonathan Lee, MBA '18

Jonathan Lee standing with his cello in front of Cincinnati's Music Hall

Jonathan Lee

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelors (Class of 2015)
Fields of Study: Music Performance, Cello
Activities and Societies: University of Cincinnati Philharmonic Orchestra
Graduate Degree: Master of Business Administration (MBA) (Class of 2018)
Focus: Arts Administration
Activities and Societies:

  • Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
  • Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra
  • International Immersion Study Abroad Program (Shanghai, China)
  • Consultation with Sustainability Department, Nike

In addition to being an MBA candidate at the Lindner College of Business, I am also a professional cellist and have performed with orchestras at some of the best concert halls in the world, including the Sydney Opera House, the Kennedy Center and Music Hall in Cincinnati. I am currently a member of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and regularly take nationally competitive auditions for some of the country’s top orchestras.

Since entering the professional world of music, I have witnessed the challenges and struggles that many orchestras face. Financial hardships and declining interest in the art form are common themes when orchestras appear in the news, but there are exceptions. Our very own Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is a national example of a thriving organization under great leadership. I wanted to learn from that example and contribute to finding solutions to these challenges, so I decided to pursue an MBA at the Lindner College of Business. With its exceptional reputation, accelerated pace, and urban location in a city with successful businesses and a vibrant arts community, I felt that this program would be a great fit and I was right.

The Lindner MBA’s cohort system has exceeded my expectations on every front. From the first day at base camp all the way through our study abroad experiences in Shanghai and the eventual completion of our capstone projects, we were able to draw upon our diverse professional backgrounds and personal experiences to make each other stronger. When there were challenges, someone was always well-equipped to support those who were struggling. My cohort taught me about better networking, adaptive communication, acknowledging disparate viewpoints and finding the middle-ground. I believe in the value of community and relish the opportunity to have worked through the program with such a strong, intelligent and diverse cohort.

The MBA cohort system reminds me of my experiences in summer orchestra festivals. These programs bring together musicians from around the world to live together while working towards a similar goal. Our MBA cohort functioned in the same way. I treasure the relationships that I have made since my entry into the program.

In addition to having the support of my cohort and Lindner faculty during my MBA studies, they were all supportive of my musical career. There were many occasions that I was asked to play my cello during class. After one of these mini-concerts, one cohort member had reflected that he was so moved by the performance that he needed to find his passion like I had found mine in the cello. One week, when I was performing with the CSO, my accounting professor, Molly Rogers, brought a large group of my classmates to the concert. The back two rows of Music Hall were filled with my fellow cohort members. One friend remarked, “I experienced emotions I didn’t know I was capable of feeling.”

In addition to expanding my skill set to help ensure the growth and sustainability of arts organizations, I became a liaison between the arts and business communities. Having the opportunity to expose those with budding careers in business to the cello and classical music was a joy and a privilege.

As I am nearing the completion of my degree in December 2018, I’m excited to serve the arts community with my MBA. I plan to create a chamber music concert series in Cincinnati that focuses on pairing local music and architecture. The encouragement of the faculty, staff, students and business contacts were instrumental in fostering this artistic venture.

For any prospective Lindner student, the best advice I could give is to challenge yourself to do new things and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Find your passion, take risks, fail often and learn from failure. I’m thankful to the faculty and staff at the Lindner College of Business for their investment in my future and for creating such a transformative program.

Nonso Okonji, BBA '22

Nonso Okonji poses with one of the lion statues in front of McMicken Hall

Nonso Okonji

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration (Class of 2022)
Fields of Study: Operations Management and Marketing
Activities and Societies:

  • Business Fellows
  • University of Cincinnati United Black Student Association
  • University of Cincinnati African Student Association
  • University of Cincinnati Hyperloop
  • University of Cincinnati Student Orientation Leader
  • University of Cincinnati Resident Advisor

For the majority of my life, I had an obsession with airplanes and anything that was built and could be operated. With this being the case, I was set on becoming a mechanical engineer. In high school, I took some AP physics classes and soon after realized for sure, I am not going to be a mechanical engineer.

At that time, I was heavily involved in a business role-playing organization that I really enjoyed, called DECA, which inspired me to delve deeper into the world of business. I eventually decided to pursue a degree in Operations Management because it combines the social interactions of business and the critical thinking of engineering.

My experience at the Lindner College of Business and the University of Cincinnati has been phenomenal, and I genuinely feel myself becoming a more astute business professional. Thus far, my college experience has been comprised of working in teams on long-term projects, professional development, plenty of networking events and heavy involvement on campus in several student organizations, such as Business Fellows, the UC African Student Association and UC Hyperloop, to name a few. My career-centered academic structure is preparing me well to take on my first co-op rotation this school year!

Mitchell Phelps, BBA '18

Mitchell Phelps, BBA '18, wearing a mortarboard and LinkedIn t-shirt

Mitchell Phelps

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration (Class of 2018)
Fields of Study: Marketing and International Business
Activities, Awards and Societies:

  • 2018 Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence Winner
  • 2017 UC Homecoming King
  • 2017 Lindner PACE Engagement Award
  • 2017 Student Trailblazer Award (UC African American Alumni Affiliate)
  • 2016-17 University of Cincinnati Student Body President
  • 2015 Mr. Kuamka (UC African American Culture and Resource Center)
  • Business Fellows (Leadership Circle Member)
  • Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Scholar
  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT)
  • Residential Education and Development
  • Student Brand Services
  • University of Cincinnati Student Government

About 10 weeks into my full-time job, it had finally hit me that I was not a co-op student and that I would not be returning to another semester of classes. Usually, I would be ready to head back to the classroom after this small duration of rigorous professional work, but now I can confidently say that I am excited and more than prepared to conquer all that post-graduation has to bring!

After five years of personal and professional exploration within the Lindner College of Business, I had gained clarity on what my next steps in life might bring. In July 2018, I began working at LinkedIn as a Business Leadership Program Associate within the Global Sales Organization. While in this role, I spend time interfacing with clients from all around the world and assisting them with their talent acquisition needs.

As I reflect on my preparation for this role, I think back to the countless hours spent interacting with the diverse UC student body in student groups like student government and associations within the African American Culture and Resource Center. Also, I think about the handful of international experiences aided by the Business Fellows program, Lindner Honors-PLUS program and UC International. Lastly, the “real-world” experience gained from numerous co-ops and internships afforded me a wonderful sneak-peek into what I could expect for life after college.

As a recent graduate, I can say that I am confident in my preparation and take pride in telling all that I am a graduate of the University of Cincinnati. This school has molded me into a well-rounded professional but most importantly an ambitious individual with good character who is ready to tackle this next stage in life.

Harshad Puranik, PhD '19

Harshad Puranik headshot

Harshad Puranik

Doctoral Candidate: PhD in Business Administration (Class of 2019)
Fields of Study: Management
Activities and Awards:

  • Teaching Interests: Organizational Behavior, Management, Strategic HR, Teams, Leadership
  • Research Interests: Affect/emotions, Workplace Interpersonal Processes, Work Interruptions
  • 2018-19 University of Cincinnati Graduate School Dean's Fellowship
  • 2018 Lindner Outstanding Doctoral Student Research Award
  • 2018 Lindner Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Students
  • 2015-18 Lindner Dean’s List of Teaching Excellence

It has been an eventful and exciting journey since joining the Lindner College of Business in 2014! As a fifth-year doctoral student, I've been given the unique opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best researchers and teachers in management. My adviser, Heather Vough, as well as the other Management faculty, have played a key role in helping me grow as an academician and supporting my work.

My research is focused on understanding how daily workplace interactions and employee emotions shape employee well-being and workplace relationships. My work examines how different emotions (i.e., envy, guilt, embarrassment, annoyance and happiness) experienced in the course of daily workplace interactions (i.e., work interruptions, social undermining, prosocial behaviors or social gaffes) affect employees and their behavior towards others. My work has been accepted for publication in the Academy of Management Review as well as the Journal of Organizational Behavior, and this past year, I received the University of Cincinnati Graduate School Dean's Fellowship as well as the Lindner Outstanding Doctoral Student Research Award.

Teaching is also a passion of mine, and I consider it an important part of my identity as a management scholar. I’ve made the Dean’s List of Teaching Excellence for four consecutive years and also received the Lindner Excellence in Teaching Award for Graduate Students this past year.

Kyle Quinn, BBA '13, MS '15

Kyle Quinn speaking about cultural bias during his TED Talk at the University of Cincinnati in 2017.

Kyle Quinn speaking about cultural bias during his TED Talk at the University of Cincinnati in 2017.

Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration (Class of 2013)

Fields of Study: Accounting, International Business, and Certificate in Business Spanish

Activities, Awards and Societies:

  • 2013 Most Outstanding Graduate - International Business
  • 2014 Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence Winner
  • Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Scholar
  • Cincinnatus Honor Society
  • University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees – Undergraduate Representative
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP xTreme Tax Competition National Finalist
  • StartingBloc Fellow for Social Innovation in Business
  • David L. Boren Scholarship
  • Royal Bank of Canada Scholar
  • Pi Kappa Alpha Robertson Most Outstanding Undergraduate
  • Men of METRO Honor Society
  • Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society
  • Order of Omega Honor Society
  • Sigma Sigma Honor Society

Graduate Degree: Master of Science in Taxation (Class of 2015)

Activities, Awards and Societies:

  • 2015 Most Outstanding Graduate of the MS-Tax Program 

When I reflect on my time as a student at the Lindner College of Business, I am reminded of the incredible amount of positive peer influence that prompted me to take meaningful action towards pursuing my goals.

Indeed, many of the things I accomplished weren’t even on my radar when I stepped foot on the University of Cincinnati’s campus some five years ago. My peers and professors continually encouraged me to do more, be more and achieve more, and I am forever grateful to everyone at UC that championed my life, my experiences and my career. You could say I took the advice of former Lindner Honors-PLUS Director, Jeri Ricketts, to heart when she told me and my fellow classmates, “Don’t just go to class, go to college!” I did precisely that and allowed my curiosity and joie-de-vivre for life to lead me to new adventures.

One such adventure was answering that big ‘ole question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Thanks to Lindner, at the ripe age of 19, I accepted my very first co-op position with Ernst & Young. I knew next to nothing about accounting at the time. This year, I’ll celebrate my ten-year anniversary since joining the firm and will return to Lindner as an adjunct professor to teach corporate tax in the Master’s program from which I graduated. It has been an incredibly rewarding career and I know the best is yet to come.

UC also led me around the world. Brazil = check. China = check. Korea = check. Nicaragua = check … and the list goes on! In fact, I stamped my passport some 15 times while a student at UC, with each journey leading me to new self-discoveries. The most transformative trip? A yearlong study abroad program in São Paulo, where I met my wife Isabel.

In 2016, Isabel and I helped plan a similar cultural and business exchange program to Brazil for Lindner Honors-PLUS students. One might say it was our way of giving back and saying “thank you” to UC for bringing us together.

In 2017, I used important lessons I had learned from my marriage to speak about cultural bias in the form of a TED Talk at UC. In a world where intolerance towards immigrants is the norm, I used my personal experience to share an important message of love and understanding to those in our community and around the world.

What would I say to current Lindner students? Dream big and go far. And, wherever you go and whatever heights you may reach, be humble and stay kind. Those are the hallmark traits of UC’s very best. Go Bearcats!

Paul Staudigel, MBA '18

Paul Staudigel with classmates Swetha Parasurama Moorthy (left) and Synthia Srinivasan (right) on the campus of East China Normal University in Shanghai, China.

Paul Staudigel with classmates Swetha Parasurama Moorthy (left) and Synthia Srinivasan (right) on the campus of East China Normal University in Shanghai, China. Paul and his MBA classmates participated in a semester-long class about business and culture in China that culminated in a 10-day cultural immersion and consulting project with Cintas in China.

Graduate Degree: Master of Business Administration (MBA) (Class of 2018)
Focus: Business Analytics and Marketing
Activities and Societies:

  • UC MBA Thought Leadership Podcast (Founder, Lead Interviewer, Producer and Editor)
  • MBA Leadership Council Member

After 10 years in the workforce, mostly working in sales, marketing and product management, I made the decision to pursue an MBA. I didn’t have an academic background in business and I wanted to ground myself in business foundations through the lens of marketing and statistics. It was important to me to get my MBA through a university with a broad network of students and alumni because so much of the value you get from an MBA is the relationships and networks you build. The Lindner College of Business was the obvious choice because of the breadth and depth of the University of Cincinnati alumni network. That alone is worth the price of tuition. We live in a city full of Bearcats and I wanted to join and help contribute to that.

The cohort style learning environment was one of the biggest benefits for me. I was fortunate enough to be one of the older members of the cohort and I benefitted so much from collaborating with my younger classmates. Going in, I thought my experience was going to be all about improving my weaknesses and that all of my classmates would be held back by my lack of strengths. Instead, what I found was that my classmates had weaknesses in areas where I had strength, and rather than being held back by my weaknesses, they were some of my biggest supporters for emphasizing my strengths. That worked both ways as well. It seems counterintuitive but getting 45 of the most competitive people I’ve ever met into the same room for several days a week resulted in more mentoring and partnering than in fighting and individualism. It was one of the most important parts of the program.

The last thought that I have on my experience this past year is how important it is to follow your passion, and to share your goals and dreams with those around you. During an exercise at basecamp, I shared about my desire to create a successful podcast. When it came time for one of my group members to introduce me, Joey Kappen (who a few hours earlier was a total stranger) stood up and shared this with everyone and added that he knew I would one day achieve that goal. This sparked a conversation that resulted in Joey and I starting the UC MBA Thought Leadership Podcast. It was a great sandbox to play in and the value that I received from it was incredible. We were able to connect with leaders in the local business community and learn more about the work that they do, while at the same time learning more about content creation, branding, promotion, digital media and project management.

Don’t be afraid to take on a passion project that’s beyond your capabilities. If you’re passionate about it and honest about what you need help with to achieve success, at the very least it will be a valuable learning experience.

To members of next year’s cohorts and future cohorts, I would just say that you’re stronger and more capable than you think. You’re able to take on more than you think you can. Just learning how to get better at project and time management is a lot of what you learn when pursuing an MBA.