It’s no wonder that Christina Lutes wanted to remain a University of Southern Indiana student.
While earning an undergraduate degree in Evansville, she worked as a tutor and a teaching assistant, served as student body president and met her future husband, Drew Herron.
“I have always loved USI,” she said. “The second that I stepped foot on campus, I knew I was going there.”
Lutes moved back home a year ago, but she is still an Eagle. She is on track to graduate from the Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Data Analytics online program at USI in December 2020.
The flexibility of the online format has been especially beneficial for Lutes, who is a relationship banker at Old National Bank.
“I have time that I set aside when I come home to do my homework. Most of it falls on the weekends since I work late nights sometimes. The flexibility [of the online program] is great. It has worked out well,” she said.
Lutes spent most of her free time showing horses and camels while in high school. She planned to pursue a career in healthcare before a prerequisite course helped sway her to study business.
“I fell in love with economics,” she said. “It clicked. Dr. Perry Burnett has a different way of looking at everything. His classes were intriguing and the best. I decided I wanted to help people through business, and economics would be my major. I enjoyed the business classes once I started taking them.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2018, Lutes completed an internship at Old National Bank in Evansville. It was the first time the company had interns. Lutes landed a full-time job shortly before starting graduate school.
“It was fun,” she said. “I loved the business aspect of it and the culture. Everybody there was so nice and cared about my advice. I enjoyed it and stayed.
“I was a teaching assistant for [MBA program director] Dr. Jack Smothers for a year, so I didn’t look anywhere else other than USI to do my master’s degree.”
Lutes said the information that she has learned in the online MBA in Data Analytics program curriculum is applicable to her job.
“At work I have used a lot of what I have learned,” she said. She has become especially familiar with Tableau, an interactive data visualization software. “With the data analytics courses and another course that I am taking now, I have learned a lot about Tableau. You can make some cool projects with that skill.”
With graduation day on the horizon, Lutes looks forward to putting “MBA” after her name sooner than she puts “Mrs.” before it in May 2021.
“I would love to be a mortgage lender with the bank in the future,” she said. “I would also like to help out with my brother’s and his partner’s business. His clothing line for rappers, Kito Wares, is taking off. It’s very interesting.”
Lutes believes that having an MBA as she embarks on her career after college will make a big impact on her future.
“I know for a fact that it will open up opportunities for me,” she said. “Especially in Bloomington, students and older professionals have a lot of the jobs, so it will definitely give me an in. My family and friends are excited for me.”
Taking one course per semester in the online MBA program has also been beneficial to Lutes.
“If you are working full time, I recommend not trying to do two classes at once,” she said. “Take your time. I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew. You might not see the grades you want if you take two classes at a time.
“Also, don’t put things off until the last minute. That’s easy to do when you’re working full time — even if the work might not be especially difficult, it’s still a heavy workload.”
Of course, Lutes also recommends enrolling at her alma mater to pursue an MBA. Take it from the former student body president.
“I tell everybody I know about how much I love USI,” she said. “It’s a great place to learn.”
Learn more about the USI online MBA with a concentration in Data Analytics program.