News from Gies College of Business
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Building Community at Gies

At Gies, we believe in building a community where ideas can cross-pollinate across disciplines, across cultures, and across borders. Here, students find an environment where all can achieve and where they have the opportunity to discover their own purpose. Inclusiveness, collaboration, and intellectual curiosity make for a strong community that encourages others to push forward. These values help prepare and empower exceptional, innovative, purposeful, and ethical business leaders.

 Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs Kevin Jackson
 Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs Kevin Jackson

Community Launch Program
This fall, nearly 800 students signed up to be part of the new Community Launch Program, which aims to enhance the sense of community and inclusion within our college by building relationships across demographics, clubs, or interest groups. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to meet other students and gain greater understanding by discussing difficult issues while engaging with those who may have different perspectives than their own.

Students are placed in groups of 6-7 students across the following demographic traits: residency, race, student organization or involvement, year in school. Groups meet or connect in a meaningful way once every two weeks, and they discuss topics supplied by the Access and Multicultural Engagement Team as well as topics that are in line with local community interest, Gies or University lore, or simply for fun!

"More than ever, business is collaborative and relational. The steps our students are taking not only prepares them for this evolving business environment, but also offers hope; the hope that as we help our students grow in their civility and openness, they will help foster civility in our broader society," said Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs Kevin Jackson. "I’m encouraged by our students, and I’m excited about the ways they will change the world."

 Experiential Learning image

Enhancing Community Through Experiential Learning
As COVID has seemingly turned our entire world virtual, Gies’ Magelli Office of Experiential Learning has used these challenges to innovate in new ways. Whether through virtual immersions, new mentorship programs, or new ways to communicate, Gies Business is highlighting the value experiential learning offers and leveraging it to build a new sense of community. READ MORE

Excellence in Education
P&Q Ranking 

Gies ranked #8 public business school by Poets&Quants
Gies is once again ranked as a Top 10 public undergraduate business program in the nation, according to the latest rankings released by Poets&Quants. Gies Business was ranked #8 among public business schools and rose two spots to #17 overall. P&Q considers admissions standards, the college experience, and career outcomes.

Dean Jeffrey R. Brown 

Hazards and Opportunities of Managing Rapid Change
While many university and college leaders are managing rapid change at their respective colleges, Dean Jeffrey R. Brown shared his experience in an article for AACSB’s BizEd. "Institutions reap the rewards of change only when all stakeholders—be they faculty, staff, or students—embrace the change," said Brown.

Tiffany White 

How B-Schools Can Fight Against Racism
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of major decisions being made across the nation and the world. Associate Professor of Business Administration Tiffany White coauthored an article “How Business Schools Can Help Corporate America Fight Racism” published in Harvard Business Review.

Disruption Lab
Disruption Lab
Introducing the Disruption Lab

We are thrilled to announce a major new initiative here at Gies College of Business, which we believe can have a major impact on our students and your organizations. We are launching a first-of-its-kind Disruption Lab to create opportunities for students, faculty, and staff from across campus to learn about disruptive forces and create innovative solutions. Corporate partners and participating organizations can share their expertise with students and, perhaps in the process, gain a new perspective on the forces disrupting their industries.

Led by Associate Dean for Innovation and Chief Disruption Officer Robert Brunner, the Disruption Lab presents students with a transformational opportunity to think differently, ideate, and challenge the status quo. It gives companies a chance to tap into some of the brightest minds the University of Illinois has to offer as well as teach those students about the challenges and opportunities for disruption in their own industries.

Ernst & Young (EY US) has joined the Disruption Lab as a founding partner. Like Gies, EY recognizes the need to incubate innovative ways to think and operate in order to build a better world. Just as disruption takes many forms, so will this lab. Programs may include projects for students, consulting with corporations, roundtables for discussion, white papers, thought leadership, or building disruptive processes or products. We are not business as usual. Through intentionally designed programs like the Disruption Lab, we’re teaching in extraordinary ways so that we can develop extraordinary business leaders. Learn how you can partner with us today by visiting our website or email

College News
Gies professors 

3 Gies faculty named to P&Q’s Top Undergraduate Business Professors
Three Gies professors have been recognized among Poets&Quants' Top 50 Undergraduate Business Professors in the world. Associate Professor Michael Bednar, Assistant Professor Aravinda Garimella, and Teaching Associate Professor Mark Wolters all made the list for 2020.

Josh Whitman 

Whitman: Gies alumni “always expanding their influence.”
Illinois AD Josh Whitman takes great pride in the Gies alumni network – more than 71,000 strong – and he’s become even more connected with it over the years. “As I’ve had a chance to travel and spend more time with Gies alumni, it’s been remarkable to learn about their level of achievement and their values and their contributions to society.”

Forbes 30 Under 30 

Gies Represented on Forbes 30 Under 30
Two Gies alumni have been named to the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 list. The honor recognizes innovators under the age of 30 across 20 industries who are “changing the world forever.” Belall Taher (ACCY ’15), co-founder of Jon Basíl Tequila, and Lucas Frye (MBA ’17), co-founder of Amber Agriculture, received this year’s coveted honor.

Bob Lumsden 

Lumsden honored with Lou Liay Spirit Award
Bob Lumsden (’53 BUS) was awarded the 2020 Lou Liay Spirit Award, which is presented to those who have consistently demonstrated extraordinary spirit and pride in support of the University, the Alumni Association, and related organizations. As a Champaign native and U of I alumnus, Lumsden used his knowledge of campus to benefit students and alumni throughout a long career at the University. (NOTE: The original article appeared in Illinois Alumni.)

Democratizing Education
Celebrating 5 years of the iMBA

In January 2016, Gies disrupted the business education landscape by launching the fully online iMBA at a price point that was well below most other high-quality programs. The online degree program features a curriculum and pedagogy custom-designed to take advantage of the medium to offer a quality education and highly engaging student experience.

Over the last five years, the iMBA has graduated more than 1,000 students and has become one of the ten most popular destinations for prospective MBA students. Application volume has skyrocketed for the iMBA, elevating demand alongside renowned MBA programs at institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, and MIT.

Gies named one of P&Q's "10 Business Schools to Watch in 2021"

Gies College of Business is one of 10 schools in the world selected by Poets&Quants as ‘Business Schools To Watch’ for 2021. The feature, now in its 6th year, honors the most innovative and newsworthy MBA programs of 2020. The list is composed of business schools heading into 2021 with the most momentum and setting a standard for peer programs to follow. "The program also defines the expectation that a $22K MBA would be no-frills and bare bones," the article explains. "For example, the program includes optional global and industry immersions. At the same time, the iMBA can be unexpectedly intimate."

Rindfleisch's "Marketing in a Digital World" reaches 500,000 learners
Aric Rindfleisch 

Professor Aric Rindfleisch's course, “Marketing in a Digital World," was recently named one of the Top 30 most popular MOOCs of all time. Nearly half a million learners have enrolled in the course, which has been part of the iMBA since its launch in 2016. The course is now the No. 1 marketing course in the world. 

Share your expertise

Help Gies research on leadership through COVID-19, social injustice
COVID-19 and unrest around social injustice have created unprecedented challenges and opportunities for business leaders in the US and around the world in 2020. We are interested in understanding leaders’ experiences in navigating these circumstances. If you are a leader in an organization of more than 500 people, we would love to learn how you have led your organization through this unique context.

Your experiences will shed new light on the ways leaders make sense of crises; the ways in which they ‘process’ crisis circumstances; and how this informs their leadership behaviors, communication, and engagement with those they lead. 

Please consider participating in a confidential 50-60-minute interview via phone or Zoom with a researcher from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Your participation is voluntary, and you can withdraw at any time. If you would like to learn more about this study, please contact Dr. Denise Lewin Loyd at or Dr. Miriam Yates at

We understand that your time is valuable. As an indication of our gratitude, we will offer participants of this study the opportunity to enter a lottery. There will be two winners of the lottery who will be able to select a charity of their choice from a list. This charity will receive a donation of $150 in each of the winners’ names.

NOTE: We welcome all those who lead in an organization of more than 500 people. Please consider passing this opportunity along to leadership within your organization.

Meet the Team divider
 Rebecca Pagels

Pagels joins Gies as Associate Dean for Advancement
Rebecca Pagels will join Gies Business as the College's new Associate Dean for Advancement. She starts on February 8 and will take over for Molly Tracy, who retired last year. We attracted an outstanding candidate pool during our national search for this position, and Rebecca emerged as the clear choice. She brings substantial alumni relations and fundraising experience at Big Ten universities like Michigan and Michigan State. Rebecca is a proven leader with a track record of success. She has a clear vision for the future, which will further build on our recent run of record-setting fundraising.

As our chief advancement officer, Rebecca will serve as the lead fundraiser for the College and will also coordinate all fundraising activities, alumni relations, stewardship, and donor relations. We are more than 90% of the way toward our College’s $300 million goal for the “With Illinois” campaign. Under Rebecca’s leadership, we anticipate exceeding this goal and setting a new bar for success in development and alumni relations.

"I'm very excited to be joining Gies College of Business and to have the opportunity to connect Gies alumni to a program that is an innovative leader in business education," said Pagels.

Campaign update
Events and Engagement Opportunities

All winter in-person events have been cancelled in the interest of public safety and in keeping with University of Illinois policies. The health and safety of our Illinois family and our broader community is our highest priority. We look forward to connecting with our alumni through these virtual opportunities.

Homecoming 2020 Recap
Thank you to everyone who joined our virtual Homecoming activities last semester. Homecoming has always been a highlight of the year, and we are always grateful to celebrate with the Gies Business family, even if we can’t be together in person. Special thanks to Mike Harden (’05 BADM, ’09 MBA), Executive Chef/Owner of Caribbean Grill Restaurant & Catering in Champaign, who shared his talents and expertise with alumni and students through the interactive virtual cookinar.

Coming Soon: GiesLink - Connecting Alumni and Students
Gies Business alumni will soon be able to connect with fellow alumni and current online degree and MBA students using GiesLink, a professional networking platform. The global Gies family boasts a wealth of experiences, insight, and knowledge, and GiesLink will help you build relationships, network, and advance your career while you help others do the same. GiesLink includes features such as a job board for posting or searching for job openings, "flash" mentoring capabilities, and discussion forums for sharing career insights.

Watch your inbox for more information about GiesLink in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we encourage you to join IlliniLink, the University of Illinois Alumni Association's platform where alumni and students from across campus can interact. A Gies College of Business group will be added to IlliniLink soon.



Webinar: IPO-ing During the Pandemic: A Financial Reporting Perspective | Wed., Jan. 27
2:30-3:30 pm CT | Zoom
While the COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty for many startups, the recent bounce back of the stock market plus pent-up investor demand have fueled a new wave of IPOs. In this webinar, Professor Nerissa Brown will discuss how the pandemic has accelerated the stock listings of certain technology and biotech startups. We will also do a deep dive into the prospectus and financial statement filings of some of the biggest IPOs that launched in 2020. Visit the Gies Teaching and Learning Webinar page to register and get more information about upcoming webinars. REGISTER

Save the Date: MBA Reception | Fri., Feb. 26
6-7 pm CT | Virtual Event
Join Gies MBA alumni and students for an evening to celebrate your successes and shared connections with the College and each other. Enjoy a College update as well as a featured alumni speaker

Webinar: How a Student Project Can Benefit Your Business | Wed., March 17
10-11 am CT | Zoom
Join us to learn how you can connect with some of Gies College of Business’ top talent, gain dynamic solutions to real-time business problems, and make an impact through sponsoring a student project. Alumni, employers, small business owners, and leaders of industry are all welcome to learn how they can impact the academic growth of Gies students by sponsoring an Experiential Learning Student Project. REGISTER

Webinar: How a Student Project Can Benefit Your Business | Wed., April 14
12-1 pm CT | Zoom
Join us to learn how you can connect with some of Gies College of Business’ top talent, gain dynamic solutions to real-time business problems, and make an impact through sponsoring a student project. Alumni, employers, small business owners, and leaders of industry are all welcome to learn how they can impact the academic growth of Gies students by sponsoring an Experiential Learning Student Project. REGISTER

Save the Date: Spring Luncheon | Fri., April 23
12:30-1:30 pm CT | Virtual Event
Mark your calendar to join Spring Luncheon virtually! Since 1960, the Gies Business family has gathered to honor faculty and alumni achievements at the annual Spring Luncheon by recognizing the recipients of the Excellence-in-Teaching Awards, the Gies College of Business Appreciation Award, and the Gies College of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award. The tradition continues virtually this year, hosted by the Gies College of Business Alumni Association and Gies Business. Stay tuned for additional details!

Webinar: How a Student Project Can Benefit Your Business | Wed., May 12
2-3 pm CT | Zoom
Join us to learn how you can connect with some of Gies College of Business’ top talent, gain dynamic solutions to real-time business problems, and make an impact through sponsoring a student project. Alumni, employers, small business owners, and leaders of industry are all welcome to learn how they can impact the academic growth of Gies students by sponsoring an Experiential Learning Student Project. REGISTER

To stay up to date on Gies events, visit and bookmark the College events calendar.


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