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Ken Klein
Overall, I am rarely blindsided by a theory, operating procedure, etc. because the university taught me to be a sponge and keep my head on a swivel.

Profile: Ken Klein

Alumni
Process Control Analyst, OSI Group

Earning his college degree from the University of Illinois was a childhood dream for agricultural and consumer economics graduate Ken Klein, a process control analyst who does statistical work for OSI Group. Ken enjoys conducting experiments on the job that are a product of his own ambitions and discoveries. Asked what traits have helped him achieve his goals, Ken names communication skills, a willingness to learn, the desire to build relationships, and the ability to improvise—along with his top education in the College of ACES.

“During the first few months at my job, I caught myself thinking, ‘I did this type of analysis in ACE 435,’ or ‘I gave a far more intensive speech in ACE 447 when I presented in front of John Deere,’ ” Ken says. “Overall, I am rarely blindsided by a theory, operating procedure, etc. because the university taught me to be a sponge and keep my head on a swivel. If you’re a sponge, you absorb everything you see and don’t let the information go to waste. If you keep your head on a swivel, you catch the little things your sponge can absorb that forward-looking individuals tend to miss.”

Partaking in new experiments, performing corporate profit-and-loss meetings, and presenting trend analyses for companies like McDonald’s are among Ken’s favorite job activities. He enjoys being held to a high standard of accountability and having freedom to follow his ambitions.

Being a leader is one of the important skills Ken learned during college, along with many others, including balancing the classroom with the real world.

“Many classes I took involved case studies, group projects, and opportunities to learn from top executives,” Ken says. “Although lectures still have great value, these other methods allow students to get out of their normal element and require accountability for their actions. I also feel that Illinois’s diversity sets it apart. In many classes, I worked in groups with people from all over the world. This was extremely beneficial, as I now interact with business people working out of China, Australia, Poland, Germany, and many other countries.”

Ken says his years at U of I are ones he’ll never forget. The hours spent wearing his orange-and-blue during the Big Ten track championships or sitting with friends in the balcony of Foellinger Auditorium are among some of his favorite memories.