Carlos A. Balandrin

Program Graduation Term: MBA/Dec 2011
Concentration: Marketing, Management, and Entrepreneurship
Pre-Degree Industry/Field of Work: Marketing
Post-Degree Industry/Field of Work: Marketing
Undergraduate Degree: Sociology/Philosophy
Undergraduate Institution: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Organization Involvement:
Current Employer: Swedish Match North America: Territory Representative

1. Why did you return to school to obtain your Graduate Business Degree: I wanted to develop a more well-rounded understanding of business as a whole, while strengthening my understanding of the role of marketing and how it relates to the other business functions.
2. Why did you choose UIC Liautaud: In my opinion Liautaud offers several advantages. Most evident was return on investment. As part of a state University, Liautaud's programs offer unparalleled value. Furthermore, UIC is a highly respected research institution. Professors are always on the cutting edge when it comes to new theories, creating an environment "where theory meets practice."
3. What has been the most unexpected gain resulting from your Liautaud degree: It sounds cheesy, but I've met some great people and have come away from this program with some friendships I truly cherish.
4. How has your Liautaud experience influenced your career to date?: I've gained a complete understanding of the different business functions and, more importantly, how they affect my role as a marketer. In terms of career development, the program has opened doors for me that more than likely wouldn't have been opened otherwise.
5. Which course or professor was your favorite and why: This is a tough question, I've really enjoyed most of my classes, but if I had to pick one it would be Management 564: Negotiations with Dr. Shelley Brickson. After taking the course I've really gained an understanding of the fact that many daily interactions are, in fact, negotiations, and Dr. Brickson's course has helped me prepare for life's negotiations, whether business related or not. Throw Dr. Brickson's experience, research, and impressive CV into the mix and Negotiations is a class that I'd recommend to any Liautaud student, no matter what your background or discipline.
6. What was your favorite aspect of the UIC Liautaud program: Getting to know my fellow students. I can honestly say I've learned as much from my colleagues as I have from actual coursework.
7. How would you define the Liautaud student: Liautauds are humble, motivated, and determined individuals who work hard and play harder.
8. Now that you've graduated, what advice do you have for current and/or prospective Liautaud Students: Take advantage of every opportunity you're given, especially when they involve studying abroad. I was lucky enough to spend a month in South America as part of the Doing Business in Brazil program. Not only did I get to experience South America with an awesome group of people, but it was also one of the best learning experiences I've ever had.