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  • Finish Strong

    Full Metal Jacket was one of my favorite movies in college. There was nothing like drinking an ice-cold beverage while watching this guy mold young men into soldiers. Although the U of I EMBA program isn't quite the Marine Corps, we've had our own boot camp so to speak – and 573 days of studying finance, marketing and operations have transformed us into hardcore business grunts. We’ve just finished our last class weekend and soon we'll be taking our ambition, intellect and Pepto-Bismol to China. Time to go hard – time to finish strong!

  • Do. Or do not. There is no try.

    One of the highlights of U of I EMBA program is the capstone trip to China.  All of the blood sweat and tears spent during the first year of the program culminate with a whirlwind of presentations, tours and fun in an exotic locale.  However, bidding on the projects wasn’t unlike arguing over your favorite TV show or movie.  All of the projects offered were great and will allow us to fully apply what we’ve learned, but everyone has different interests.  Here’s how I viewed our choices…

  • My Biggest 3 Aha Moments

    It has been only two months. Two months since the jitter-filled, exciting first weekend of the EMBA program. Two months, two classes, two outstanding professors and almost too many remarkable conversations with fellow students to total.

    I feel like I’ve already learned a lot. Lessons and mantras I’ll carry with me throughout my career and life. As a way to recount, I thought I’d share some of my biggest aha moments (so far).


  • Mic Please!

    In less than two weeks, the class of 2016 will begin their University of Illinois EMBA experience, and our class will graduate to the rank of “second-years” – with all of the rights and responsibilities that come with such a lofty and deserved rank. The most notable responsibility, of course, is the obligation to buy drinks for incoming students at the Elephant & Castle – allowing us the opportunity to expound about all that we come to learn.

  • I Went Home

    “I Went Home”

    Before anyone ever cared where I would attend grad school, I was a kid with West Virginia roots. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with West Virginia is bigger than academics. I didn’t realize that 10 months ago. I do now.

  • Apply Yourself

    I remember attending an information session at the Illini Center about a year ago.  There was a phrase that I heard consistently from the faculty, professors and current/former students – “You will apply what you learn over the weekends on Mondays”.  While that’s certainly been true for me so far, last week was different…

  • Expectations

    Have your friends ever told you about a movie that you hadn't seen yet, and they just kept raving about how good it was? For me, that movie was The Hangover. It was a funny flick (an instant classic really), but it was a bit of a letdown because my expectations were SO high. 

  • Can’t Stop -- Won’t Stop

    I fall in the subset of students that doesn’t typically travel much for work – the rest of the class travels extensively.  Whether it’s commuting by train, driving to Canada or flying to Australia and China, the class of 2015 has enough travel reward points to easily reach “Executive Platinum Diamond Concierge Baller” status.  That doesn’t even include attending life events like births (congrats, Uncle Rick) and baptisms (congrats, Erin) that we wouldn’t miss for the world.  That said, our EMBA curriculum is like P. Diddy; it can’t stop – won’t stop.

  • Back to school again!

    What do a tanagram, a murder mystery and trading geometric shapes have to do with an EMBA program?  Well…everything as it turns out! 

  • Return on Relationships

    Where did this come from? You just finished reading your corporate finance and investment finance books meekly trying to memorize all the ratios that Scott and Heitor described - so where did you miss this ratio?