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January 23, 2013

Meet MBA Graduate Enea Rrapokushi


From the Mediterranean country of Albania to the mountains of Virginia comes Enea Rrapokushi, recent MBA graduate.  Enea grew up in Albania, coming to the United States as an exchange student during his senior year of high school.  After completing high school in Ohio, he enrolled at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg.  He graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a minor in marketing.

Upon graduation, he began working for SNL Financial in Charlottesville.  He began his career as an analyst, and was promoted several times.  He decided to pursue an MBA to enhance both his personal and professional growth. 

He says, “Enrolling in an MBA program became a natural decision.  I have had this objective since undergraduate school, when I realized business was my calling.”  He adds, “My post-college job experience further emphasized the need to enhance my skills and business acumen.  I decided getting an MBA was the best step forward.” 

Why JMU?

Enea selected JMU for many reasons.  “The JMU MBA program was the best option for my needs.  I appreciated the flexibility; plus, it presented the best-in-market value.  The reputation of the College of Business was another factor in my decision.  I had several friends who had attended JMU and had only good things to say about the program,” he says.

He adds that the flexibility allowed him to successfully balance his studies with his job.  Enea notes, “The program also placed great emphasis on leadership development, something very near and dear to my heart.”

He adds, “The relevance and practicality of the leadership courses were absolutely great learning experiences that you could take outside the classroom and immediately apply to your job.”

Enea graduated in 2012. He feels the program exceeded his expectations.  He explains, “The faculty was well prepared and capable of meeting the educational goals of ambitious graduate students who have jobs outside of their studies.”

He goes on to say, “They brought a wide array backgrounds and expertise to the table.  The faculty included folks with relevant, high-ranking business experience, and professors with well-respected academic and research records.  This combination enhanced the learning experience.”

Enea feels he has a more solid business acumen after going through the program.  He has sharpened his leadership and communication skills in particular.  He says, “Honing my skills has allowed me to successfully empower the employees I work with.   I have become a more effective contributor and leader to the team.

“Overall the JMU experience has allowed me to become better at decision-making, communication, motivating my team members, responding to challenges, and ultimately delivering results.”

Enea says he recommends the JMU MBA program all the time.   “When you come out of the program, you are a better prepared business leader, with a vast amount of knowledge.  You acquire practical skills that you can use in your day-to-day job in a relevant manner.” 

Today, Enea works as a senior content manager for SNL.  He enjoys living and working in Charlottesville.  He finds time each year to travel back to Albania to visit his family.

With his drive and dedication, this lifelong learner will continue to enhance his own success story. 

January 11, 2012

Plans Underway for iMBA Spring Workshop

Mark House, Maureen Blackwell, and Dr. Mike Busing met on Jan. 10 to begin planning the spring workshop. This year’s workshop, which will be held on Saturday, March 23, will focus on diversity. Watch for more details.

August 15, 2012

JMU Head Football Coach Mickey Matthews Meets with iMBA Students

Dr. Mike Busing and his MBA students participated in a "Mixer for Cohorts 3 and 4" on August 9 in JMU's Bridgeforth Stadium, Club Level.  JMU Head Football Coach Mickey Matthews met with the students and talked about leadership — a theme of the iMBA Program.

Matthews said, “One thing that will kill you in business is insecurity. Many times, managers fail to hire the very best people because they prefer subordinates who don't intimidate them.”

He also pointed out, “People will occasionally be unfairly judged by their boss. The cleaning people or the grounds people will never unfairly judge you.” 

Thanks to Coach Matthews for taking the time to meet with Dr. Busing and the MBA students.

March 29, 2012

iMBA Spring Leadership Workshop Held

"Big doesn’t beat small anymore; fast beats slow,” says Jeremy Vogan, one of 40 iMBA students who attended a leadership workshop on Saturday, March 24.  Jim Carroll, author of "Ready Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast," keynoted the day by sharing information on the latest trends in innovation. 

Jim is widely recognized for his deep research and analysis of how innovative organizations are achieving market or transformational growth despite deep economic challenges. He is the first external speaker to have ever been invited to the Annual General Meeting of the PGA. Jim has been featured in "Business week" as one of four leading sources for insight into future trends and innovation and was a featured expert on the CNBC Series "The Business of Innovation."

He advised participants to foster innovation within their organizations by always keeping these three key questions in mind:

  • What can your company do better?
  • What can you go to grow your company?
  • How can you transform your company?

The afternoon session included an interactive role-playing exercise in which students formed “Innovation Teams” to help them improve their leadership development portfolios.This presentation was led by Mark House and Maureen Blackwell of empoweringLEADERS LLC, which helps companies combine industry standards and proven methods to create a successful, sustainable environment for business and technology teams.  Mark and Maureen also work as adjunct instructors in the iMBA program.  

Student Craig Honeycutt summed up the workshop as a “a fun, enlightening and humbling process. Even those of us who think we are great communicators have a lot to learn about the true art of real communication.”

The iMBA program offers a leadership work each spring, bringing in outside speakers who are experts in their fields.Plans are already underway for next year’s workshop.  Click here to see pictures from the workshop. 

January 19, 2012

Spotlight on iMBA Student Baris Bilek

iMBA Student Baris Bilek has taken the first big step in opening up new opportunities for himself.  Baris, a concierge for The Ritz Carlton Tysons Corner Hotel, recently enrolled in the JMU Innovation MBA program.

 “I think the program is amazing,” he says. “I tried to get into it for years. In fact, I took the GMAT three times.”  

His persistence paid off, and he joined the program in the fall of 2011. Baris lives in Northern Virginia, and he appreciates the flexibility and ease of this hybrid program. 

“Since I live two hours away, the hybrid program really works for me,” he says. “I am able to do most of my coursework online, and still have face-to-face contact on a regular basis.”   

Baris says the professors are always helpful, and they always respond to email and phone calls. He also appreciates the opportunity he’s had to get to know the people in his group.

 “Baris is a great student,” says iMBA Director Dr. Mike Busing. “He was determined to get into the AACSB accredited program, and he did everything necessary to be accepted. We are pleased to have him in the class of 2013.”

Baris notes, “I looked at both George Mason University and James Madison University. I decided on JMU because the MBA program includes an international trip, and that really appealed to me.”  

Baris’ group will be traveling to China in May 2013, immediately after graduation. In all, he is satisfied with his decision to attend JMU.    

“I made the right decision to come to JMU,” he says. “I couldn’t be happier. I admit there is lots of stress, but it’s good stress.”

Baris knows that his iMBA degree will help him step up his career — he has been a concierge with The Ritz Carlton for almost five years. He earned his bachelor of science degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management at the Eastern Mediterranean University in Famagusta, Northern Cyprus. 

We look forward to adding Baris to our distinguished list of alumni and wish him the best that the future has to offer.