Hidden Gem Electives at Liautaud

The fact that I’ll be a quarter of the way through my MBA in about a month is surreal, yet stressful. The reality of how quickly these two years will pass is hitting me and bringing with it the pressure of trying to make the most of my short time here at UIC Liautaud. With spring registration now open, the buzz about next semester’s classes can be heard everywhere around campus. While I know which core courses I’ll be taking, I want to ensure my elective courses are not only educational but also enriching and exciting.

So, I set out to find out about some of the unique courses offered at Liautaud–the “hidden gems” of the offered electives. Online class descriptions never seem to do classes justice, so I realized the only way to get the inside scoop on electives was to go straight to the source: students who have actually taken the classes and the professors who teach them.

Social Entrepreneurship with Professor Anna Lloyd (ENTR 515)
When I asked Professor Lloyd whom Social Entrepreneurship is intended for, she said, “If you’re a student interested in making money and creating change this class is for you.” Hey, who doesn’t want to make money and create change? Professor Lloyd explained to me that what you won’t get from the course description online are details on the true essence of this class.  It features practical examples of means to “take over” traditional service delivery for communities. Furthermore, she says, “it’s a unique collective experience because of the diversity of the UIC Liautaud student body and the selection of independent study projects that result in personal leadership awareness.” It’s much more than just an introduction to what social entrepreneurship is. It’s an opportunity to collaborate with peers and grow both personally and professionally while preparing to create palpable change in the world.

Tech Ventures Track with Professor Shrader (Spring: ENTR 567, ENTR 569)
“Extremely valuable” and “phenomenal” are the two words that my co-worker, Natalie Payer, a second-year MBA candidate, used to describe Professor Shrader and his Tech Ventures classes. The Tech Ventures Track has a variety of courses that focus on different aspects of technology-based startups. This spring, two of the Tech Ventures Track courses will be offered with Professor Shrader: Resource Acquisition for Technology Ventures (ENTR 567) and Technology Venture Integration (ENTR 569). The courses in this track completely immerse students in the tech start-up world. “Tech Ventures is a one-of-a-kind experience where students use emerging technologies to create new business ventures. Students have the opportunity to network within Chicago’s burgeoning startup community and participate in business plan competitions, with the end goal of forming a new startup from the ground up,” says Payer. She goes on to say that “Dr. Shrader is a unique and exciting professor. His classes challenge you to think outside the box and come up with solutions for today’s problems.” Exciting classes with a real-life application? Sounds like a win-win to me.

Creating a Career That Counts with Professor David Kreischer (MBA 590)
The MBA 590 courses are quick 8-week courses packed with information and skills necessary for successful careers. Each semester there are different topics offered to students, one of them being “Creating a Career That Counts.” To get more insight into the course, I spoke with Deepu Rai, a first-year MBA student who just completed this elective. She said the class was a “great experience, very informative, and thought-provoking.” In her opinion, “Professor David Kreischer is a very good coach who introduces ways to help students recognize their accomplishments.” With resume-building techniques and guest speakers, this class seems like a beneficial course to take early on in the MBA track. “I would recommend this subject to students who are still apprehensive about their career path or want to re-frame their resume,” says Rai. “I am confident now how to make my way toward the career I want with everything I learned in this class.”

These are just a few of the choices at Liautaud, and, as you can see, each is a world of its own. By Spring ’16 I’ll be blogging from inside one of these classrooms – I’ll let you know once I decide.