Full-time MBA Candidate 2015, Finance and Accounting
Undergraduate Degree: International Affairs with a minor in Economics
Undergraduate School: Northeastern University
Organizations involved with: MBAA, GFIN, Dean Advisory Council
Tell us about your professional background and why you decided to return to school to achieve your master’s degree.
After earning my BA in International Affairs with a minor in Economics, I started my professional career in Nonprofit Marketing and Fundraising. As my role in fundraising grew, I started to do more strategic planning, budget development, and financial analysis. While fundraising and marketing were rewarding, I quickly started to realize that my professional strengths were more closely related to financial analysis and strategic planning. At that point, I began speaking with finance professionals to learn more about different career paths and opportunities. Ultimately, I decided to make the switch in order to utilize those skills more fully. I didn't study Finance or Accounting in undergrad and knew that I needed to gain more quantitative and analytical skills to make the switch. This was one of the main reasons I decided to get my MBA.
What factor(s) did you consider when choosing a master’s program and why did you choose UIC Liautaud for your graduate study?
The first factor I took into consideration was the return on investment. I felt UIC Liautaud would provide me with the necessary skills and knowledge to be competitive and relevant in today’s market.Secondly, I wanted to transition to Finance, I knew being located in a major metropolitan area was essential. Chicago is one of the top global financial centers in the world and for me that closeness to a major financial community was extremely important. Also, another important factor was the impressive alumni network. The ties in the business community created by Liautaud alumni are expansive.
Tell me about your first year at UIC Liautaud.
During my first and second semester I was a part-time student and worked full-time for a nonprofit organization. During those two semesters, I realized I wanted to get more involved at a deeper level. I wanted to hold a leadership role in a student organization, as well as develop more skills that would allow me to better transition into Finance. After my second semester, I decided I wanted to switch from being a part-time student to a full-time student.
What was the process like switching from part-time to full-time?
The process was very easy. It was as simple as registering for the amount of hours I wanted to take. I did speak with Liautaud staff for guidance, and everyone was very helpful and understanding. Another element that I really like about UIC Liautaud was the composition of the courses. All my courses, then and now, are mixed with both part-time and full-time students. The diverse student population really lends itself to more interesting and insightful class discussions.
Would you say the flexibility of the program worked to your advantage?
Definitely, having the option to switch from part-time to full-time or vice versa is an enormous advantage. Also, the accessibility of the Liautaud faculty and staff is invaluable. They want us to realize our professional goals and aspirations.
What advice would you provide to incoming UIC Liautaud students?
Business school is such an experience and journey. To capitalize on your experience it is critical to get to know what UIC Liautaud has to offer, both inside and outside the classroom. In the classroom, we have great professors that have a wealth of knowledge and they want to share that knowledge with us. Outside the classroom, there are so many opportunities to get involved and develop skills that will make you even more ready to land a job or get promoted when you graduate. During this journey, go for the breadth first, then the depth. The size of the program allows you to explore more and get involved quickly. Through student organizations, Teaching Assistantships, Graduate Assistantships, and internships you have a great opportunity to gain relevant experience that only adds to the value of your education.