Jackie Wilson, Director of Admissions, is retiring. For Jackie Wilson, what started off as a 6-week assignment turned into a 12-year journey at the University of Illinois. In this interview, Jackie reflects on her past successes, fondest memories, and deepest challenges. She also looks to the future, shares her future ambitions and parts with sage advice for our students:
How many years have you been working for the University of Illinois? The Illinois MBA Program? Please describe your journey.
I taught Family and Consumer Sciences to high school students and had completed 18 years in that career before my husband and I moved to Mahomet in the Fall of 2000. I started working in the MBA admissions office in October of 2000. I started off as extra-help in the MBA office, which was supposed to be a six week assignment, before I knew it 12 + years had passed and several changes in responsibility and title.
What did you like most about working at the MBA Office?
The most rewarding aspect of my role was to meet individuals from around the world and as an admissions team determine the make-up of the class each year. The first day of orientation was always extremely exciting to see the synergy of the class come together.
What was the biggest obstacle on the job?
The greatest difficulty for me was getting to know someone pretty well through the process but not being able to admit them to the program.
Can you describe your most memorable event/project/meeting? What did you find to be unforgettable about that moment in your career?
I think the most memorable event was at the past MBA Alumni Awards Banquet where I was mentioned in the acceptance speech by Chris Mulh as being a person who changed the course of his life.
In regards to your future, has your retirement freed you to do something you have always wanted to do?
Soon after retirement we will be making a trip to the Finger Lakes region of New York and then I will be spending most of the month of August in Hawaii being a Granny Nanny to my 4½ year old grandson.
We plan to spend more time with our three adult children and their families as well as my sisters and brother and their families. My bucket list includes marking the last six states off my list, cruising around New Zealand and Australia and a few European Countries.
What advice would you give to our prospective MBA students and applicants?
Use the two years of the MBA to explore and extend yourself beyond anything you ever thought possible. You can never get these two years back so make them the most memorable and exciting time of your life. Set yourself up to make a difference in this world and don’t forget to thank those who helped you get to this point in your life.
Happy retirement, Jackie! Thank you for your dedication to the Illinois MBA Program and enabling students to pbtain their best chance at success. Your warmth and guidance will be truly missed. Good luck and happy travels as you venture out into the future.
Blogger: Nahree Ki, Illinois MBA Class of 2014, Social media correspondent