Graduating senior and new Fulbright Scholar Rachel Jacoby ’18 ACCY/BA views her business education much differently than when she first arrived on the University of Illinois campus. Then, she was expecting to travel along a fairly conventional course. “When I first came into college, I thought that I would take a very traditional path,” she said. “I assumed that I would study business and just go right into the working world.”
She soon discovered, though, that she had the freedom here to look beyond that stereotypical view of business education to one that is much more rounded, and more aligned with her interests. As she explained, “I was lucky enough to have mentors who encouraged me to pursue the interests I had outside of that traditional business career path.”
And pursue them she did. As a James Scholar in Gies Business and a Chancellor’s Scholar at the University of Illinois, Jacoby embraced every opportunity to push herself and take herself out her comfort zone. She traveled to Singapore and Malaysia during her freshman year as part of the Business Honors program. She spent a semester studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. She also went to Panama and Honduras on shorter trips to help teach financial literacy. And she visited Brazil with the Supply Chain Management program to study the coffee supply chain in that country.
“One thing that our dean emphasizes is developing leaders and global citizens,” she said. “And I think Gies has really given me opportunities to explore through these international experiences.”
Now, as a Fulbright Scholar, Jacoby will be returning to Malaysia as part of the English Teaching Assistant Program, teaching English and serving as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. It was her previous visit to Malaysia that prompted her to select that country for her Fulbright experience: “I just found Malaysia to be really interesting. It is at the center of a lot of major issues in the world, like income inequality. A lot of entrepreneurship and innovation happens there, I found the culture really fascinating.”
Jacoby was attracted to the Fulbright program because it would allow her to really immerse herself in Malaysian culture. “I think on top of that, I wanted to do something meaningful, and the opportunity to teach English coupled with the cultural exchange made this opportunity appealing for me.”
Following her yearlong experience in Malaysia, Jacoby will join Deloitte in their technology consultancy.
Asked about what she’ll remember most about Gies College of Business, Jacoby said, “The people I’ve met here have been the most inspiring and the most impactful in my life. I’ve met people who have challenged me to think in different ways, who are motivated and driven and stimulating. Some of the relationships we’ve formed and the conversations we’ve had in my time here at Illinois have been really meaningful, and I’ll always carry that with me.”
In addition to participating in numerous international opportunities through Gies Business, Jacoby was an active member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, which worked with College deans to improve the student experience and providing their insights on a range of topics, including course curriculum and the Business Engagement Living-Learning Community. She also served as President of ActGreen, as a teaching assistant for the Business Honors Program, and as a research assistant. She is a recipient of a Fred S. Bailey Scholarship from the University YMCA, which is given to students in recognition of demonstrated positive impact and commitment through of service, community involvement, leadership, and action. She was also selected as one of the 2018 Best & Brightest by Poets & Quants for Undergraduates.