While in the MDP Program Kurt Von Ohlen will focus his learning on the intersection between the digital world of analytics and the physical world of impoverished communities. Kurt chose the MDP because of its knowledge base derived from sending students all over the globe to work in social justice initiatives in various communities. Kurt is also attracted to the forward-facing perspective the MDP has towards climate change and its impacts on socio-economic development.
Kurt graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration on Entrepreneurship. While still earning this degree, Kurt consulted for a start-up vegan restaurant in Urbana, focusing on marketing and expanding its consumer base, and also an expanding homeless shelter in Champaign, focusing on internal structure and community outreach.
After graduating, Kurt entered the business world via the accounting department of Northwest Community Hospital (Northwest of Chicago) where he programmatically automated about two-thirds of the bank-reconciliation process. From there, he worked for a subsidiary of Bed, Bath, & Beyond as an inventory analyst, automating the monitoring of stock, error rates, procurement, shipping, and the forecasting of sales. Since early 2018 Kurt has worked with Signature Retail Services, a nationwide retail consulting firm, as a data analyst transforming messy field data into presentable reports for retailers to maximize sales. He has also done considerable business optimization for SRS as well, developing metrics to monitor and reward well performing employees, minimizing driving costs and optimizing geographic groupings of retail stores.
With the MDP degree, Kurt hopes to work with governments in Latin America and the Caribbean at the nexus between political economy and bottom-up organizing as they continue to negotiate a balance between global trade and labor movements.