This weekend proved to be a busy one for the MBA program. Friday night started with an event solely for females interested in pursuing an Illinois MBA. Around 17 women from all over the country traveled to Champaign to take an in-depth look at the MBA program.
The night began with a presentation from Teresa Poggenphol, the Executive Director of Advertising and Brand Management at Accenture. She focused on how one can brand oneself and gave us seven tips on how to be successful in representing our personal brand in the workplace. I glanced around the room while Teresa was talking—all of the women around me were feverishly writing down Teresa’s advice. I even found myself making a mental checklist of the things I do and the things I need to work on. It was a very powerful talk from an extremely inspirational woman.
After Teresa and the MBA program presented at the Union, I led the group of females to Timpone’s for a late dinner and discussion on the Illinois MBA. After each course, the current students rotated tables so that we were able to speak to all of the prospective students. I was fascinated by the different backgrounds represented at dinner. Here we were, a group of 30 very confident women from extremely diverse backgrounds, all meeting to reach a common goal: pursuing an Illinois MBA to achieve a successful career in business. Once plates were cleared, the women walked back to the Union for a relaxing night of bowling and meeting more current MBA students.
On Saturday, there was another recruiting event that included both men and women. The participants were able to attend a mock lecture with Hayden Noel, a marketing professor in the MBA program. They had an opportunity to have breakfast with the Dean of the MBA program and lunch with current MBA students. The admissions department gave a presentation on how to apply to the program and the day wrapped up with a student and alumni panel.
One of the common themes mentioned by current students throughout the day was that they made their decision to come to Illinois, or that Illinois moved to their first choice, once they visited campus and met the people involved in the program. I, too, felt the same way. I am an East Coast girl and only applied to Illinois on a whim. However, once I visited the school and spoke with the Admissions staff and current students, I knew that the Illinois MBA was a perfect fit for me. Events such as the ones held this weekend enable prospective students to see for themselves how amazing the program is and how well they would fit within the program.
At the end of the Saturday recruiting event, the current students invited the women from the Friday night event to a special celebration held by the MBA Diversity Association: the Diwali festival. A proven favorite of the MBA program, we were eager to share our excitement for Diwali with the prospective students!
The Diversity Association always ensures that education about other cultures and fun are intertwined in each event. The Diwali celebration taught us the meaning of Diwali while the students showed us Indian dance moves and fed us delicious catered Indian food. Around 100 people attended the event including MBA students, spouses, children and prospective students. Many of the students from India were dressed in kurtis and saris and even some of the American students were dressed in traditional garb. At the end of the night, all 100 people were in the dance room, dancing the night away to Indian songs. It was a sight to see!
This weekend was certainly busy, yet it was so wonderful to meet many interesting prospective students and share with them the importance of pursuing an MBA at the University of Illinois.