blog postsUPDATE: The Kola Foundation Starts to Really Make the DifferenceNov 30, 2010 10:15 am824 views As it's stated on their website, the Kola Foundation "matches the unique skills and specialties of a world-class university to the needs of the residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation". This mission statement was created after the Illinois MBA took a group of students on a week long trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. After experiencing what the Native Americans in Pine Ridge struggle with daily, CEO and Kola co-founder Adam Ratner saw an opportunity to help improve some of the severe conditions on the reservation. He decided to spearhead a team of students to form what is now a functioning non-profit organization that lives within the program. We sat down with Adam to discuss what Kola has been doing since operations have begun and what he sees as the future of the organization. For the work that he has done thus far, Adam was recently the recipient of an "Extraordinary Achievement Award". The Illinois MBA believes the Kola Foundation is a fantastic project and continues to support the efforts of this team. Read more to learn about Kola and the leadership team."Five Minutes with"...another second year MBA!Nov 18, 2010 11:30 am487 views This week we sat down with Kyle Harshbarger, a second-year MBA student from Normal, IL. With a double concentration on Operations Management and Finance, Kyle has certainly been very busy with his academics. However, he has also be incredibly dedicated to the MBA Service Association as President for the past year. This position was a perfect fit for him considering his passion for volunteering and giving back to the community. When he isn't busy at school he likes to watch sports (he's a die hard Bears fan), play video games and perform music with his family. Kyle and his wife just welcome baby number two this fall! Congrats! Keep reading to learn more about Mr. Harshbarger...MBA Students Almost Make Top Three in ABI Corporate Restructuring Case CompetitionNov 15, 2010 1:15 pm626 views On the weekend of November 4th, three students from the Illinois MBA traveled to the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia. Adam Sherer (first-year MBA), Brian Cox (first-year MBA) and Vish Nadgir (second-year MBA) teamed up to compete against 11 other top business schools in the Seventh Annual ABI Corporate Restructuring Competition. This competition provides participants with a unique opportunity, different for the popular strategy-focused case competitions. Students are asked to evaluate a company and come up with business solutions for a real-world restructuring dilemma. Teams were given a week for analysis and asked to submit a paper and prepare a presentation for a panel of judges from ABI. Although intense, the Illinois MBA team had a great experience. And even though they didn't take home a grand prize (they just missed final three, and Colombia took home the win!), they were pleased with their overall plan and presentation. Adam Sherer sat down with us and provided some insights into the competition and recalled some of the ups and downs of preparing to compete against some very tough rivals!"Five Minutes with" a Second-Year MBA...finally!Nov 11, 2010 3:00 pm519 views After reviewing the previous string of "Five Minutes With..." I realized that we have a lot of first-year MBA's! So, this week I decided to feature a second-year MBA. Rebeca Zapata comes to Illinois from Caracas, Venezuela. Before starting her MBA, she was an assistant brand manager for Revlon. Now that she is about to graduate, Rebeca has decided to focus on Marketing and Finance. In her spare time, when she is not searching for her next career, Rebeca likes to participate in various outdoor activities, travel(even if it is just to Indianapolis), hang out with friends, and of course, "FOOD!" Read more to learn about Rebeca!Diwali: An MBA Student's ExperienceNov 11, 2010 2:15 pm602 views A recurring theme in the Illinois MBA program is the diversity of each class both in terms of culture and experiences. Nowhere is this diversity more evident than in the MBA Diversity Association's (MBADA) two major cultural celebrations, one of them being Diwali. Diwali is popularly known as the "festival of lights," and is an official holiday in India.Illinois MBA Exclusive!Nov 9, 2010 1:30 pm406 views Register for Illinois Exclusive here:"Five Minutes With..."...a Joint-Degree Student!Nov 4, 2010 9:45 pm490 views This week we changed the pace and sat down with joint-degree student Jenna Goebig. Jenna is a second year MBA at Illinois, and while she works through business school she is also pursuing her Masters of Architecture degree. Not only is Jenna incredibly busy, she is very organized and focused on her future...all of which has contributed to her success at the University of Illinois. Jenna is from Joliet, Illinois and after completing her undergraduate degree in Architecture at Illinois, she decided to stay for a few more semesters! In her spare time (which she says is "much less these days") she likes to spend time with her friends and family. Read more to learn about this talented joint-degree student...Illinois MBA Students Celebrate Diwali!Nov 4, 2010 11:30 am550 views For those who may not be familiar, Diwali is an Indian celebration more popularly known as "the festival of lights". It is an important five-day festival that occurs between mid-October and mid-November - and for the Illinois MBA, it will happen tonight!