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New Member Spotlight: Gies College of Business, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign




Institutional Profile

Gies College of Business, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



Gies College of Business intentionally designs its innovative programs, leading-edge curriculum, and experiential learning opportunities to empower and prepare students to turn big ideas into meaningful actions. Today, Gies faculty prepare more than 7,000 future business leaders, including 3,100 undergraduates, from around the world to put their purpose into practice and provide transformative leadership in a global economy. Gies Business, which is ranked as a top 10 public business school and the #2 accounting program in the US, is regularly recognized as leader in business education because of its high-quality residential programs and innovative, flexible online programs. A $150 million naming gift from alumnus Larry Gies and wife Beth in 2017 helped solidify and advance Gies’ commitment to delivering life-changing access to a business education.

“We are delighted to be part of the GBSN network, which will enhance our ability to collaborate and share ideas with top universities from around the world. Gies is a global community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and I look forward to growing that global reach as we collectively educate the next generation of business leaders.” – Dean Jeffrey R. Brown

Accreditation: AACSB
Dean: Jeffrey R. Brown
Ambassadors: Christine Gozdziak, Assistant Dean of International Programs
Andrew Allen, Director, Magelli Office of Experiential Learning

Emerging Markets Institute or Center

Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative: https://giesbusiness.illinois.edu/experience/academies-centers/subsistence-marketplaces-initiative

Inspired by Gies Business faculty-founded Subsistence Marketplaces Initiative and the nonprofit Marketplace Literacy Project, Entrepreneurs Without Borders is a program focused on entrepreneurship education, microenterprise development, and social innovation in global subsistence marketplaces. Illinois students learn about subsistence marketplaces through service-learning engagements that support entrepreneurship education and build capacity with micro-enterprises and social enterprises in international host communities. In collaboration with global partners, students have conducted informal field research, created contextualized curriculum, and facilitated participatory marketplace literacy and entrepreneurship education workshops. In 2019, students participated in two short-term study abroad programs in South Africa and Tanzania and conducted workshops with six different community groups (over 85 participants) in rural and urban subsistence marketplace settings. Students also developed ten capacity-building projects for the social entrepreneurs and micro-entrepreneurs with whom they learned during their study abroad experiences.

Network Engagement

Current Partnerships with GBSN Member Schools

  • WU – Vienna University of Economics and Business – undergraduate exchange agreement
  • HKUST Business School – undergraduate exchange agreement
  • Peking University HSBC Business School – cooperative education agreement with graduate accounting and finance programs
  • Tsinghua University – undergraduate exchange agreement
  • Nanyang Business School – undergraduate exchange agreement
  • ESADE Business School – undergraduate exchange agreement

Ways the institution will support the GBSN mission to improve access to quality management and entrepreneurship education for the developing world.

Because of the unemployment caused by COVID-19, Gies is working with the Coursera Workforce Recovery Initiative to help governments worldwide provide unemployed workers with free access to 3,800 job-relevant online courses. The initiative’s goal is to help impacted workers develop the knowledge and skills to become re-employed. Several US states, as well as the governments of Colombia, Costa Rica, Greece, Malaysia, Panama, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan will be the first to make the initiative available. Over the next few weeks, more US states and countries around the world will announce the initiative to their residents.

Institutional contributions to the network platform in the first year

We will start by organizing Cross-Border Coffee Break (CBCB) webinars on the topics of online education and experiential learning.  We also plan to attend the GBSN Annual Conference in November.

Institutional engagement with fellow GBSN member institutions

We are interested in increasing our cooperative education agreements for our graduate programs, and in exploring meaningful study abroad opportunities for our undergraduate students.

The biggest challenge facing management in your community and how the institution addresses this challenge.

The Gies Business community consists of local businesses, nonprofits, startups and corporations; it also consists of leaders globally who are trying to move their organizations and their people forward. The biggest challenge in management is juggling having to work “on” the business while working “in” the business. Working “in” the business means you focus on sales, reducing costs and just keeping the lights on. Working “on” the business means you spend time thinking ahead, learning new skills and innovating. It’s very hard to do both.

Recently Gies College of Business launched one of the largest experiential learning programs in the US, perhaps in the world.  Every year, hundreds of students work on hands-on learning projects with real businesses. Through these projects, theory comes alive as they try to help solve real-world issues in practical ways. Students learn that running a business is complex, while businesses gain new perspective on how to help their organizations succeed. We currently serve 150 businesses per year through these projects and will continue to scale beyond 200 per year. We believe that management, applied, can be a powerful tool to help businesses and people succeed. We’re preparing the next generation of business leaders to learn how to solve tough issues, while providing hundreds of businesses the know-how and ideas to work both “in” and “on” their business and succeed well into the future.  We would also be happy to share our expertise in experiential learning in order to help students complete projects that are relevant to concerns in local communities.

Program Highlight

Gies College of Business offers an innovative and highly impactful suite of online programs, headlined by the online MBA (iMBA). Launched in 2016, the iMBA completely disrupted the traditional business education model by offering a full MBA from a top research university for less than $22,000. The program has grown to nearly 3,000 students from virtually every state and more than 80 countries. The flexibility of the program and the highly engaging online classes deliver an impact that is real and tangible. 53% of students receive a promotion or new job offer by the time they graduate, and the program boasts a 97.5% student satisfaction rate.

In addition to the iMBA, Gies Business also offers an online master’s in accounting (iMSA) and a recently launched online master’s in management (iMSM). All three programs offer the same flexibility and highly engaging delivery that can appeal to learners around the world. They also offer unique “stackability,” meaning learners can start with individual MOOC videos or non-degree courses and then stack them into the full degree. Gies is committed to breaking down financial and geographic barriers and delivering life-changing access to a great business education. Gies has quickly become innovators and world leaders in online education.

Learn more: https://giesbusiness.illinois.edu/graduate-hub/online