College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Great Expectations: Students Sign-on for Certificate in Business Program


Interest in an innovative program that provides non-business students with an understanding of business fundamentals has exceeded expectations.

The Certificate in Business Program, now in its tenth year, has a record number of graduate students enrolled in the ten-week course. Participants are exposed to the fundamentals of a business education without the time commitment required for a degree. Attendees develop an understanding of the interrelationships among functional areas of business so that they can make informed decisions when they enter their chosen careers.

This spring, a group of 57 talented and diverse graduate students from a variety of units on the Urbana campus enrolled in the program. This eclectic group includes 16 PhD students from both the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and 15 from the College of Engineering. Also attending are students enrolled in the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Education, and Applied Life Studies. Majors include nutritional sciences, aerospace engineering, chemistry, biochemistry, agricultural economics, and recreation.

“The students appreciate the opportunity to learn about business topics.  They realize that the exposure to business principles can give them an extra edge as they seek employment. Most of our students already have a scientific background in their field,” said Sandra Carroll, the program’s coordinator. “They realize that an understanding of business will be important as they move up in their companies.”

The semester-long program consists of ten, 3-hour classes. Taught by College of Business faculty, each session focuses on a particular performance area, such as managing technology innovation, leadership, or financial analysis. Active learning methods are incorporated  to help students develop skills and apply techniques. The curriculum also incorporates “soft skills,” or how to work with other people, a vital aspect of career success.

The program, presented in conjunction with the Biotechnology Center, is available to graduate students for a modest fee. It is offered each Spring semester.


UIUC College of Business