Concentration(s): Finance and Entrepreneurship
Undergraduate degree in: Chemical Engineering
Undergraduate School: Illinois Institute of Technology
Pre-MBA Industry/Field of work: Pharmaceutical and Food
Organizations involved with: GFIN, MBAA, NABA, and NSBE
Post MBA Industry/Field of work: Construction Machinery Manufacturing
Current Employment: Finance Analyst II at Caterpillar, Inc.
What prompted you to return to school to achieve your MBA?
When the economy slowed in 2008-2009 and I was laid off, I decided to go back to school to sharpen my skills.
What factors did you consider in choosing an MBA program?
I was looking for an AACSB accredited institution that had a good entrepreneurship program and a considerable breadth of subject offerings.
Why did you choose UIC Liautaud for your MBA?
I went to an open house where I heard Professor Rod Shrader speak about Tech Ventures and how UIC Liautaud students were surpassing all other Chicago schools in business plan competitions. Then, John Karras spoke about career services being open to all students. I didn’t know at the time that many business schools restricted the use of their career services to unemployed, full-time students. So, the reason I chose UIC Liautaud was because of their nationally recognized entrepreneurship program and full access to career services whether I was a full-time student, part-time student, employed, or unemployed. Additionally, night classes made it easy to work, volunteer, and network.
What was the most unexpected gain the MBA has given you?
UIC Liautaud has offered opportunities to compete with other schools in a variety of subject areas and study abroad. Through Doing Business in Brazil, I was able to travel to Brazil and network with international professors and professionals. Later I was on UIC’s first team to compete in the CFA Institute Research Challenge. Our team placed 6th locally (right behind Northwestern Kellogg which placed 5th) and outperformed University of Chicago Booth. Before graduating I was part of a team that competed in the Concept2Venture business plan competition. From this, I learned valuable lessons on starting a corporation, seeking funding, pitching an idea, and forecasting pro-forma financial statements.
Which class/professor has been your favorite thus far and why?
FIN520, Corporate Finance, with Professor Sinha. Professor Sinha makes you think. Current events from business newspapers were used to make test questions; he wanted people to use logic and theory to think through a problem. There were no simple textbook questions.
What is your favorite aspect of the UIC campus and why?
There’s a great view of downtown from Douglas Hall, WiFi all over campus, and access to faculty that are some of the brightest minds in the industry. Also, I like that UIC is close to downtown, Greektown, Little Italy, and Chinatown. From shops to restaurants to banks, anything you need to get to is relatively close to campus.
How would you define the Liautaud student?
Every class group I’ve been in had an understanding of conflict. From work schedules to personal commitments to and life challenges, we all had reasons we couldn’t contribute equal shares of the work. So we played to each other’s strength. One person may make the PowerPoint slides, one person may write the paper, and one person may be a better speaker and present the information. Every team I was in was accepting of diversity. They worked together to succeed. This is something I didn’t see in undergraduate school. So, the Liautaud student is an intelligent person that values diverse opinions and talents. And one who cares about making an impact on peoples’ lives through teamwork and business.
What advice would you provide to incoming UIC Liautaud MBA students?
Join student organizations for support and advice. Some of the members have gone through what you are going through. But more importantly have fun, take advantage of all the opportunities, and network.
What are your suggestions for finding a career after graduation?
Career Services was vital in my job offer with Caterpillar Inc. Stay in contact with Career Services, go to career fairs, perform well in high visibility classes like Tech Ventures and Interdisciplinary Product Development, and network.