Part-time MBA Candidate 2015
Field of Work: Finance
Undergraduate Degree: Finance
Undergraduate School: Governor’s State University
Career Goal: Corporate lending/negotiations or starting my own real estate investment company
Organizations Involved With: MBAA
Interests/Hobbies: Real Estate Investing, Running, Mountain Biking, Building Race Cars, Racing Cars and Motorcycles, and Playing Guitar
Favorite Chicago Activities: Boating on the Chicago River, watching the fireworks at Navy Pier, and biking along the lakefront
Favorite Chicago Restaurants: The Chicago Brauhaus, Mike Ditka’s Steakhouse, Giordano’s Pizza
Favorite Part of the Day: Running late in the evening
Hometown: Oak Lawn, Illinois
Tell us about your personal and professional background.
I grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago and from a young age, I have always been passionate about business, especially when it pertained to negotiating deals. I got a position at Team Worldwide, a freight forwarding company, right out of college as a billing agent for the Chicagoland area. It was a great way to start my career, as there were several different aspects of my position which allowed me to gain a large amount of practical business knowledge very quickly. After two years with Team Worldwide, I moved on to my current position as a Financial Services Analyst with the College of American Pathologists. The College of American Pathologists is medical association which helps advance the field of pathology and certifies laboratories around the world. My day-to-day responsibilities include reconciling customer accounts using the Oracle Business Suite, leading special projects upon request for our finance department, and creating/implementing all of the business processes for our department to ensure that we comply with the current ISO standards.
What prompted you to return to school to pursue your master’s degree?
I have always had a need to challenge myself and grow, but after a few years in the workforce, I felt like my career was becoming stagnant. At that point, I knew it was time to move forward by earning a master’s degree.
What factor(s) did you consider when choosing a master’s program, and why did you choose UIC Liautaud for your graduate study?
I attended UIC for a portion of my undergraduate studies and always appreciated the value and convenience that UIC had to offer. When comparing prices with the other programs in the area, UIC Liautaud was very competitive, yet still provided a high-quality education. It is a well-respected program that I could be proud to put on my resume.
We all know that people pursue graduate school to increase their business knowledge, but since you started the program, what has been the most unexpected gain the program has given you?
I would say that the most unexpected gain from the program was that I learned how much of a workload I am really capable of handling at one time. Being a part-time student and working full-time, I thought I would be left with no time for myself, but somehow you find a way to get everything done. It is hard work, but it is worth it.
Which class/professor has been your favorite thus far and why?
Microeconomics with Professor Rauscher has been one of my favorite classes because he taught me that there is a fun and interesting way to deal with any subject, even ones you may not think you enjoy. It really showed me that the way you approach a subject makes all the difference. His lectures were entertaining and made going to class a pleasure.
UIC Liautaud professors are continuously involved in researching new business trends and innovations. How have your professors integrated their theoretical knowledge into practical applications? Do you have any examples?
Professor Deberry-Spence was able to apply her business knowledge from her business venture in Africa to marketing all around the world, and this was very informative as it showed a real world application of the class materials.
What is your favorite aspect of the UIC campus and why?
My favorite aspect of the UIC campus is the CME trading lab. I am very interested in trading and having the lab along with the trading software has been a great experience.
What advice would you provide to incoming UIC Liautaud students?
I would tell them that the most important thing is to get involved! Find an organization that you are interested in and take a leadership role. For me personally, joining the MBA Association board has been a great experience. I’ve met so many great people, and it has expanded my network professionally, as well personally. If you only come to campus for class you are missing a large part of the Liautaud experience.
Many courses require students to complete a project that applies course concepts to real world situations. If you have had a course project that was very insightful, what course was it for and what did you like about the project?
The business cases in Corporate Finance are very good teaching tools because they force you to make tough decisions regarding the financial future of a company. Also, once they are completed, you're able to research what the company did in reality to see if they chose the same path and how it worked out for them.
What is the best part about your UIC Liautaud experience?
The absolute best part of the UIC Liautaud experience has been the people that I’ve met. Everyone has been very friendly, and there are students here from every background imaginable. I’m so glad that it is such a diverse group because I have learned so much from them and hopefully they have learned something from me as well.