Name: Chris Segura
University of Notre Dame (BA: Psychology, Arabic Studies),
Loyola University Chicago (BS: Nursing)
Work Before MBA: Healthcare (Inpatient/Outpatient Psychiatric Nursing, Care Coordination)
Work After MBA / Post MBA Goals: Healthcare Management
Why did you pick Illinois?
All of the following contributed to my decision, in one way or another:
Flexibility of curriculum/ Offered concentrations/ Strength of university resources - While the first year of the program is fairly concrete and establishes a strong foundation in business, the second year of the curriculum is almost entirely flexible and focuses on business concentrations ranging from healthcare management to corporate and social responsibility. In addition to the courses provided by the business school, you can request to take any course (relevant to your desired concentration) within the university. For instance, I am hoping to go into healthcare management, so in addition to the business courses I will be taking, I can also take courses such as Health Behavior Theory and Health Administration from the University's Department of Community Health.
Alumni network/ Program culture - While everyone touts their alumni network as being the best, I can only speak for what I have seen and experienced so far from Illinois. I have heard several current students note that they can directly tie one of their business or job opportunities to an alumnus. The entire school focuses on building a camaraderie that translates to a feeling of an extended family and an unofficial motto of "pay it forward." Since my acceptance in April, I have already had 2 alumni and a current student offer their time with a number of items including course selection for my concentration.
Extracurricular activities/ Action learning class - Before the business school admission process, I would not have thought that extracurriculars would play any part in my school decision. During the course of my school research, however, I found out that Illinois has some incredibly developed and well-respected extracurriculars, such as Illinois Business Consulting (IBC). IBC is the largest student driven consulting organization in the country and has been such a success that the Illinois is now integrating a course into the first year curriculum that essentially throws student teams into consulting roles with faculty guidance. Even though I am sure there is going to be a fair amount of case studies and lectures during my MBA education, I am really excited that I am going to be able to apply the "book-knowledge" directly in real-world scenarios while I'm still in a learning environment.
Overall admissions process/ Campus preview day - (This final point wasn't necessarily a "make or break" point but just made the decision that much easier) Everyone I interacted with from the Illinois MBA admissions department was straightforward and prompt whenever I reached out to them. They brought an approachable and positive attitude to all of our conversations and appeared genuinely excited about what I could bring to the program. During the course of the year, the admissions staff organize campus preview days to allow applicants to learn more about the program, speak to current students, and even experience a mock class taught by a program professor. My preview day experience was really important, not because it provided too much new information, but because it helped me verify all of my MBA program research with in-person examples. If there is one thing I highly recommend to anyone applying to business school: make sure you visit the school and experience whatever the school offers in terms of "a day in the life of a MBA student" programming.
Feel free to ask me about...?
Anything related to the MBA process. If I can help out, I'm happy to do so. If not, I'll try to point you in the right direction.