Full-time MBA Candidate 2015, Finance and International Business
Undergraduate Degree: Media Studies
Undergraduate School: University of Potsdam, Universidade de Vigo
What prompted you to return to school to achieve your MBA?
While finishing my undergraduate degree, I was constantly working and did several full-time internships. Through these experiences in the business world, it became apparent to me that I wanted to expand my horizons and gain deeper knowledge about business.
What was the most important factor for you in choosing an MBA program in the United States?
Back in Germany I was looking at many different programs in Europe and the US, but in the end decided to pursue my studies in America because I believe the MBA program is something that has been established here for quite some time, whereas in Europe only a few schools have been starting to offer a two-year MBA program. Also the system here is more flexible and allows students to apply to the program even though their undergraduate major was not in business. What I really enjoy about the program here is that it is open to so many different students with a myriad of backgrounds, which makes the program and learning atmosphere even more interesting. In my first semester, I learned a lot from my professors but have also been benefiting from the experiences of my fellow students just as much.
Since you have started the program, what has been the most unexpected gain the program has given you?
The most unexpected gain has been maybe what I learned from my fellow students. One thing that struck me was their dedication and discipline, which has inspired me throughout the semester. I admire them for the time and effort they put into their studies while e.g. having a full-time job. Never before in my life have I worked in student teams that are so committed and who bring experiences from so many different places into one room, creating an entirely dynamic and innovative learning environment.
Which class/professor has been your favorite thus far and why?
I really do enjoy my Interdisciplinary Product development class, where I am working with a team that includes design and computer science students for a real client in the financial services sector. In my first semester, I have already learned so many things about teamwork, financial investments, corporate presentation skills and much more. I would recommend this class to every student!
I also took part in the Improvisation & Leadership class taught by Michael Popowits. It is a great class to take right at the beginning of UIC Liautaud MBA program because it teaches every student the fundamentals of business communications and interactions, such as networking and interviews, in such a unique way that it really sticks with the participants. You also learn a lot about yourself in this course and quickly discover areas in which you could benefit from additional professional development. With the techniques I learned in this course, I learned about some excellent tools to further develop these areas throughout my time at UIC.
What is your favorite aspect of the UIC campus?
I like how the campus has so many different departments who are collaborating with one another and are doing really cutting edge, cross-disciplinary work together to make real life business ventures become reality. Students can take advantage of UIC’s innovative culture through courses like, the Technology Ventures program and Interdisciplinary Product Development. This willingness to cooperate throughout disciplines is a real competitive advantage to UIC and I feel that it is a very stimulating environment for every student.
What advice would you provide to prospective international UIC Liautaud students?
I would definitely advise them to put in as much effort and time as possible into their application, even though it might seem a lot to do, especially for students from European countries where the process is a lot different. In my opinion, every minute you dedicate to the application is worth it. My first semester here has been everything I hoped it would be and could not be happier with my choice.
Upon arriving on campus, I recommend interacting with fellow students as much as possible, since they are one of the biggest assets here at UIC, professionally and personally. Also taking part in social events and one of the numerous graduate business associations will familiarize new students with the mechanics of how the business world works and at the same time provide them with a network that will help them throughout business school and beyond.
If you are an international applicant or are considering applying, I recommend that you attend our online webinar on Tuesday, Jan 21th from 9.00 – 10.00 AM CST, to learn more about our graduate programs and the UIC Liautaud admissions process for international students. This session consists of a short presentation with our Director of Recruiting and Enrollment, Caroline LaTorre, followed by an open Q&A with participants.