College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Passion, Networking, Experiences, and Resources for Success


Participants in the inaugural Business 199 poster session clapped vigorously as Victor Mullins thanked the student presenters. The new course proved to be a success for incoming freshmen wanting a head start on their undergraduate education and a career in business. “[Business 199] really prepares you to make the most of your [college] experience,” said Beanca Nicholson.

The course is the result of a brainstorming effort by the Undergraduate Affairs Office. Team taught by Victor Mullins, the associate dean of Undergraduate Affairs, and Jessica Howard, an assistant director of Undergraduate Affairs, the course is designed to ameliorate freshmen to the realities of college life.

With their posters set up around the Heritage Room of the Isaac Funk Family Library on December 9, participating students extolled the four critical components for success in business school: Find your  passion, learn to network, make the most of your experiences, and use the resources available to you.

When asked about his experience in the class, Aerol Wynne responded, “Finding my passion was just one of the many things I achieved in BUS 199.” Wynne found his passion for being a leader and embracing the challenge of applying himself to his college education.

Learning to network is perhaps the most intuitive component for success. During any given year, the College of Business makes many opportunities available to meet business leaders and policy makers. BUS 199 classes also provided visitors who met with students and shared their advice for success.

Darryl Cheeks (‘90), an entrepreneur and managing partner of ChicagoLand Companies, spoke to students early in the semester about the power of focus and making college count. Students enjoyed his no-nonsense advice and the intimate setting.

Other visitors this semester included Jerrance Howard, assistant coach men’s basketball, Leah Petit, director of sales and marketing for Blues BBQ in Champaign, Renee Romano, vice chancellor Student Affairs, and Shawn Sorsby, financial services associate at Prudential.

Students also learned from their classes how important it is to engage college life, making the most of social opportunities to build networks for the future. “Much of what you get from [college] is separate from what you learn in class,” said Ben Rahimi ’12, who is in the accountancy program. Rahimi has already landed a job-shadowing opportunity with the Chicago public accountancy firm Ernst and Young.

Though most students may not appreciate the many resources available at ILLINOIS, BUS 199 students received a strong introduction to the library, career services, the mentoring program and other College offerings.

Business 199 may have ended on December 9th with the conclusion of the poster session, but its lessons will carry on in the successes of its students and future alumni.


UIUC College of Business