MBA Program

Special strength in the information technology track has propelled the program's ranking for "Techno MBA" to seventh in the country, according to Computer World Magazine.


NOWHERE IS THE COMPETITIVENESS OF TODAY'S WORLD IN GENERAL and the business school scene in particular being felt as sharply as in the Illinois MBA program. Envisioned and implemented over the past several years, a radical restructuring of CBA's graduate management program has created a more flexible curriculum, oriented to issues, topics, and work experiences.

"We are strengthening and developing a niche in information technology as a program whose graduates have hands-on experiences with a whole range of technology for business enterprises," observes Scott Buechler, who became the assistant dean for the MBA program in the fall
of 1996.

He continues: "Three years into the revised program, the faculty and administration have learned a lot about what we can realistically expect, and how much we can push the students. And we do push them." Challenges ahead include an improved and sharpened second-year curriculum, more emphasis on technology (particularly through use of CBA's new high-tech classrooms), and alumni, corporate, and public relations. "The whole field is as competitive as ever. We've moved really far in four years, revising and integrating the core curriculum," Buechler notes. "But our competition has moved just as far."

THE EWING MARION KAUFFMAN FOUNDATION GAVE A $50,000 MATCHING GRANT to underwrite twenty Commerce MBA student internships with high-tech companies during the 1997-98 academic year. The Kansas City philanthropic organization has not only renewed the grant for 1998-99, but has doubled the funding, making stipends available for forty MBA students. Companies who participated in `97-98 include: Wolfram Research, Raindrop Geomagic, Med-Launch, BRK Wireless, Gcom Inc., SurgiSim, Brilliant Books, MicroProf, CyberProf, Precision Graphics, Institute of Information Sciences, Digital Media Group, Distributed Management Information System, Active Network Solutions, Computer Teaching Corporation, PowerWorld, and Bonutti Research.


Teamwork begins early. At orientation new MBA students engage in boosterism.

Photo by Chris Brown Photography

THE OFFICE FOR THE STUDY OF BUSINESS ISSUES (OSBI) BRINGS AREA BUSINESSES TOGETHER with MBA student energy and expertise, in the process garnering a client roster impressive enough to do any consulting company proud. Through the office, which is administered by director Paul Magelli, MBA students offer consulting services in areas such as finance and marketing to companies around the state, country, and, increasingly, internationally.Among the top OSBI coups for 1997-98 has been a liaison with VentureStar, the private NASA spin-off company which will be doing X-33 space shuttle launches with for-profit payloads.

MBA students came up with a lengthy evaluation of the company's marketing, finance, and corporate structure prospects. Other organizations with which OSBI is affiliated include:

JOSEPH FINNERTY, PROFESSOR OF FINANCE, HAS BEEN NAMED ASSOCIATE DEAN  for graduate programs, effective in March 1998, following the resignation of Chuck Linke, dean of graduate and executive education. His responsibilities include the MBA and doctoral programs. Finnerty joined the CBA faculty in 1984, and served as assistant dean for planning and public relations from 1995-96. Since 1995, he has been academic director of the MBA programs.

Asian-American Conference

The first program of its kind to be sponsored through the Commerce MBA program, the First Asian Business Conference was held in Champaign on October 17 and 18, 1997. Speakers included Malaysian ambassador Dato Noor Adlan; Susan Allen, president of the Asian American Chamber of Commerce for the Clinton Administration; Changkai Wang, president of Xinan University in China: Steven Young, vice president at Citibank; Sid Roy, director of business strategy for the Asia Pacific division of Lucent Technologies; James Gu and Mary Mui, also of Lucent Technologies; Kimiharu Chatani, partner and director of international business practice for Andersen Consulting; and Curt Caughney, manager of business operations for Caterpillar. The event was organized by the Asian Business Society, an MBA student group, and funded in part by CIBER and several other outside organizations. More than half the MBA students in CBA (there are approximately 600) are Asian or of Asian descent.

At the podium, Tito Flores, Asian Business Society president, with some of his officers.

"When the new Illinois MBA was introduced in 1995, the curriculum created a lot of excitement among students, who've since taken away a strong sense of loyalty and a dedication to seeing the program continue in a positive direction. They are now alumni who are especially eager to help with recruiting prospective students and who also encourage their employers to continue to hire Illinois grads."

- Elizabeth Polak, Director, MBA Career Services