Yvette Iyiguhay was born in Kigali, Rwanda. She earned her B.A. in Communication Arts in 2009 from De La Salle University in the Philippines. Her father had earned his masters degree and PhD there, and she had lived there for eight years when she was younger. After completing her B.A., she began attending graduate school in the Philippines while she applied to universities in the United States. When she was accepted into the MBA program (with a Health Administration concentration) at Grand Valley, she quickly left the Philippines for the United States. She arrived here in August of 2009, and it was her first time in the United States.
She feels that living in Asia, though, prepared her well for adjusting to U.S. culture. She was surprised at the extremely fast pace in the United States, and believes there is a different notion of time here. Everyone seemed very friendly and inquisitive about her background and why she had decided to study in the United States. She quickly fell in love with American fast food, since she was so busy with school and work. After working for a time in the Johnson Center, Yvette landed a graduate assistantship in the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center (MiSBTDC), where she is the Senior Market Researcher. Michigan residents, who wish to start a small business, or grow their existing small business, approach the Center for assistance. The Center then assigns them a consultant, and the consultant requests a report from Yvette. Reports cover the demographics of the target area, competitors, potential customers, industry trends, and other market data that might be useful to the small business owner. Yvette performs research, compiles the reports, then turns the reports over to the consultants. After graduation, Yvette plans to stay in the United States for OPT. If funding is available, she may do her OPT right in the MISBTDC. She hopes to eventually earn a green card and stay in the United States and pursue a career as a professional researcher, perhaps for Spectrum Health or the Van Andel Institute.