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From Africa to Northwest Indiana: The Serendipitous Road to an MBA

Felis Mubibya uses his passion for music to propel him forward at IU Northwest

Jun 6, 2024

A man in a suit performing on a stage. Indiana University Northwest MBA student, Felis Mubibya, performs on a stage. When musician and music producer Felis Mubibya enrolled in Indiana University Northwest’s Weeknight Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, he didn’t know how to write a business plan or a project proposal. But he firmly believed that he needed to learn those skills—and more—to expand his growing music studio in Northwest Indiana.

After years of making his own music and producing recordings for others, Mubibya started thinking about ways to expand his business. Accompanying a friend to the IU Northwest campus on an errand, he noticed information about a weeknight MBA program and started asking questions. Mubibya talked it over with his wife, went back to the campus and enrolled right away.

Within two days, he started classes in the program. It was a challenge but he said, “I love challenges and will set out to do my best.” One of his favorite classes as a business student has been a marketing class with Professor Yllka Azemi.

“This class was the one that gave me the courage to keep going,” Mubibya said. “Professor Azemi is very knowledgeable about her class subject and is extremely passionate about the subject.

“I feel like business and marketing go hand-in-hand because music without profit is a hobby, but developing marketing materials to sell your music will raise awareness and elevate one’s music while also generating some income from what you love to do.”

Mubibya counts himself lucky that he can do the things he loves: producing music videos and singing. His most recent music video, Sala Ya Bwana, has received more than 41,000 views in just a few months. His video highlights various locations in Northwest Indiana, such as downtown Griffith, a local park, railroad tracks and other buildings.

Where it all began

Mubibya has played music nearly his entire life. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), he began playing the conga drums at his church at 7 years old. At 11, he joined a professional band and performed his first concert in front of a large audience.

A man in a polo and cap smiling. Indiana University Northwest MBA student, musician and music producer, Felis Mubibya. At 14, he moved to East Africa to become a missionary. That began a lifetime of performing in churches and beyond in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and several European countries.

During that time, he met the woman who would become his wife. After they married, they settled in Northwest Indiana where she had grown up. They had three children and became a part of the Merrillville community.

Although Mubibya regularly travels back to the various places in Africa that he loved as a young adult, including the DRC, Northwest Indiana is where he and his family call home.

The Weeknight MBA classes are in the evening so working people, like himself, can attend. The classes are hybrid with classes online and in person.

While Mubibya can take more classes to finish faster, he’s not just trying to get through classes to get a degree.

“I want to understand things,” he said. “I don’t want a degree just to have a degree.”

Shabach – joyful noise

When he first moved to Northwest Indiana, he earned a bachelor’s degree from a small, private college dedicated to training and equipping ministry leaders for a successful career in the music industry and the church. That was when he learned how expensive it was to create and produce music. He decided to start his own music production company, Shabach Media.

“Shabach stands for joyful noise in Hebrew,” Mubibya said.

When word got out about Shabach Media, Mubibya became very busy. He added video production to his offerings, purchasing a video camera and working with a friend to use drones for additional video footage.

After posting his videos on YouTube, several artists saw his work and wanted him to do their music videos, too. A man sits while working on a laptop. Indiana University Northwest MBA student, musician and music producer, Felis Mubibya works on a laptop at the campus library.

Mubibya works with a few artists from Canada. He gets calls from as far away as New York and Texas, and he feels like the exposure he’s received through social media and word-of-mouth has been helpful to his career.

But now, with the knowledge he’s gaining from his MBA work, he thinks he can take his business to a new level.

“I love challenges, but if it’s one of growth, I’ll take it,” Mubibya said.

IU 2030: Student Success and Opportunity
IU Northwest will ensure the long-term success of all students while remaining grounded in our unique identity as an Hispanic-Serving Institution and as a Minority-Serving Institution, with a commitment to meeting the needs of our entire student body.

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