Student Ambassador Spotlight: Laila Nabhan, MBA Candidate 2013

Laila Nabhan

Concentrations: Marketing & Management

Industry/Field of work:  Marketing & Product Management

Undergraduate degree:  Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Concentration in Marketing

Undergraduate School:  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, College of Commerce and Business Administration

Career Goal:  To obtain a senior level Marketing position or to be a leader within a Change Management consulting firm

Organizations involved with:  UIC Liautaud Graduate Assistant, GMARK President, MBAA Vice President, Net Impact Member

Linkedin Profile:  Laila Nabhan


            Laila Nabhan

       MBA Candidate 2013

         Full-time student

What prompted you to return to school to achieve your MBA?  
My past experience as a Marketing and Product Manager provided vast learning opportunities over the years and I developed a solid foundation of business expertise.  As I was exposed to the strategic planning side of the business,  I came to the realization that I had more to learn, especially in the financial and accounting aspects of managing a business.  I decided to obtain my MBA to refine my existing skills and develop new skills to enhance my business knowledge and managerial capabilities. 
What was the most important factor for you in choosing an MBA program (or factors you considered)?
Location was a primary factor as I was located in Chicago and wanted to stay in the area. Cost was also a factor in my decision since I was returning to school full-time.  I wanted to find a robust program, offering an excellent academic experience, with the potential to find an on-campus work opportunity.  While location and cost were primary drivers, I did not want to compromise on the quality of the program.  I researched the curriculum to see if courses in entrepreneurship and social enterprise were offered as they were two areas of interest to me.  Additionally, I wanted a program that offered a diverse student body coming together from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, as well as many active graduate student organizations to get involved with.  
Why did you choose UIC Liautaud for your MBA?
I selected UIC Liautaud Graduate School of Business for the value of the program, diverse course offerings, active graduate student organizations, and an expansive alumni network that being a student from the University of Illinois offers. There are a large number of professionals in the Chicagoland area that attended one of the University of Illinois campuses for undergraduate or graduate school, so it provides an instant network for future career opportunities. 
We all know that people pursue the MBA to increase their business knowledge, but since you have started the program, what has been the most unexpected gain the MBA has given you? 
In my first semester, I was surprised at how many students from across the United States and the world come to UIC and Liautaud.  I did not realize how well known the program is around the world.  I’ve personally benefitted by having a diverse student body in my classes which generates a lively and exciting exchange of ideas during lectures. I’ve also expanded my network of contacts and developed new friendships with people from around the world.
Which class/professor has been your favorite thus far and why?
First, Professor Shelly Brickson for her Negotiations class as she uses countless examples from readings, cases, and videos to teach the course.  She facilitated a wonderful discussion each class and we also participated in a negotiation simulation ranging from negotiating a city contract with a business developer, to a two-day negotiation between the board of education and a teachers association negotiating a new contract.  The class was very hands-on, so you could try out the techniques we learned from our readings in the simulation.
Secondly, Professor Benet DeBerry -Spence for her Intro to Marketing class as she incorporated weekly Harvard Business Review case analysis into our assignments.  While the case analysis required a lot of time and effort each week, she guided us with an approach and framework for analysis that was broader than just her class.  I came away from that class feeling that I learned a method of analysis that could be applied across many business situations in the future. 
What is your favorite aspect of the UIC campus and why?
I love being on a campus in the heart of a big city like Chicago, with so much vibrant activity happening all the time.  I really enjoy being in Douglas Hall, our primary building for graduate business classes. It was recently renovated and offers state-of-the-art classrooms, as well as group study rooms for teams to meet about projects.
How would you define the Liautaud student?
Motivated, committed, innovative, active, diverse, strong leaders, making an impact in the world, experienced, friendly, resourceful, curious
What advice would you provide to incoming UIC Liautaud MBA students?
Getting your MBA is not just about your coursework (don’t get me wrong, that is a very important part), it’s also about strengthening your leadership, time management, and communication skills.  Explore the graduate student organizations and get engaged with one or more groups.  Or if you feel something is lacking on campus, start a new organization or develop new course curriculum with a professor to fill that hole. You’ll meet new people that will have the potential to become lifelong friends or, more importatnly, future business partners. You have the power to create your own opportunities and experiences at Liautaud.
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