Student Ambassador Spotlight: Mike Holpe, MBA/MSA Candidate 2013

Mike Holpe

MBA/MSA Candidate 2013

Full-time student


Concentration: Entrepreneurship

Industry/Field of work: Accounting

Undergraduate Degree in: BS in Business Administration

Undergraduate School: Averett University 

Organizations involved with: MBAA

Linkedin Profile: Mike Holpe

What prompted you to return to school to achieve your MBA?

I wanted to develop a new set of skills to expand my potential career paths, become a more influential, well-rounded leader, and gain a better understanding of the intricacies of starting a business.

What was the most important factor for you in choosing an MBA program? 

My top two priorities in researching an MBA program were programs that 1) encouraged learning and networking between student peers and 2) had an acclaimed accounting program. I also wanted to make sure that I remained in the city of Chicago.

Why did you choose UIC Liautaud for your MBA?

UIC Liautaud is one of very few MBA programs in Chicago that offer a semester-based curriculum, intimate classroom settings and have a stellar accounting program. And after speaking with several recent alumni and current students from a handful of Chicago MBA programs, I realized that my personality and ambitions were more closely aligned with those representing UIC Liautaud.

We all know that people pursue the MBA to increase their business knowledge, but since you have started the program, what has been the most unexpected gain the MBA has given you?  

The ease to interact with and learn from both students and professors. I was shocked by the openness and availability to meet one-on-one with both my professors and general faculty staff.  

Which class/professor has been your favorite thus far? 

Professor Renko’s Entrepreneurship (ENTR 502) gives a great overview of starting a new venture by having students build a feasibility analysis, complimented by having speakers (both successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs) discuss challenges they encountered when starting their business.  On the Accounting side, I would recommend Financial Accounting I (ACTG 502) with Professor Kirschenheiter to any MBA student.  The concepts he teaches using financial statements along with other various tools are applicable and useful to all disciplines.

What is your favorite aspect of the UIC campus?

The campus is the best of two worlds: you have a traditional style campus with plenty of outdoor space with a plethora of places to study, and you’re just a short walk from Chicago’s financial district—the heart of Chicago business. UIC’s campus is more conducive to achieving academic success and benefiting from student collaboration than other campuses that may be located in a massive office building in the middle of the loop.

How would you define the Liautaud student?   

It is impossible to sum up such a diverse student body with many different nationalities, backgrounds and career objectives. I would say the common traits of the Liautaud student body are ambitious, genuine and friendly.

What advice would you provide to incoming UIC Liautaud MBA students?

Don’t hesitate to engage students, professors and faculty before and after both the application and enrollment process. I wish that I’d spent more time reaching out to the Liautaud community prior to and during my first semester.