News from Gies College of Business
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Strategic Plan for the Future


At Gies College of Business, we're pushing forward, full steam ahead into the future of business education. This past fall, Gies leadership worked together to strategize about priorities for the College’s future. This group conducted internal and external research to understand how demographics, public attitudes toward education, costs, and COVID have impacted the landscape of higher education - and they arrived at five strategic priorities for the future.

Strategic Priorities 96

The Gies College leadership team also looked at the opportunities that align with our strengths, meet our overall vision and mission, and advance our Business on Purpose promise.  Intentionality is our guidepost, and our strategic priorities are a reflection of that purposeful decision making.

As we look ahead, we also want to reflect back on the many things we have to celebrate. We'd like to share with you our 2021 Annual Report from Gies College of Business to give you an overview and share some stories that will make you proud of how our faculty, staff and students faced every challenge with determination, drive and purpose. 

College News
Sophomore Year of Purpose 

Gies receives grant for Sophomore Year of Purpose program
Gies Business has been selected to receive an IDEAS grant from the U.S. Department of State to help find and secure international locations for its new Sophomore Year of Purpose program. Moving beyond the traditional on-campus model, this initiative creates Gies Global Hubs across the country and the world where students can explore their purpose through experiential learning opportunities while completing sophomore year coursework away from campus. READ MORE


First MS in Business Analytics cohort joins Gies this fall
This fall, Gies will welcome its first cohort in the new Master of Science in Business Analytics program. In this nine-month, full-time, residential program students will develop the key skill set high-demand jobs require through a strong integration of business application area expertise such as finance, information systems, and accountancy, and data science skills including gathering, managing, analyzing, and communicating data. LEARN MORE

Michael Donohoe 

Donohoe named Head of Department of Accountancy
Professor Michael Donohoe has been appointed as the next Head of Gies' Department of Accountancy, effective August 16, pending Board of Trustees approval. Michael joined the College in 2011 and served as Associate Head of the Department of Accountancy for the last year. Michael succeeds Theo Sougiannis, who served as Interim Head for the past year.

Michelle Dinh 

Three Gies alumni offered Fulbright grants
Three recent Gies alumni have been awarded Fulbright grants to pursue international education and teaching this coming year. Richard Chao, Michelle Dinh (left), and Banu Gulecyuz have earned these grants based on their academic and professional achievement, as well as their demonstrated leadership potential. READ MORE

Excellence in Education

Gies launches nation's largest experiential learning course
An established leader in hands-on learning, Gies Business will launch the largest experiential learning course in the nation this fall. Business 301: Business in Action will be a required course for all Gies juniors and is part the College's recently revamped Cohort Curriculum. The course will enroll 800 students working on approximately 150 individual client projects with companies including Fortune 100 companies, mid-sized businesses and startups.

Business in Action is an experiential learning course in which students spend the semester working in teams of 6-7 to analyze and solve business problems for real clients. Students learn to effectively work as a team, develop strategies to solve complex problems, and prepare to share their story with recruiters. Teams are coached and mentored by senior-level Gies students who take a 400-level Project Management in Action course. It’s all part of Gies’ longstanding commitment to action learning, and soon every Gies student will graduate having participated in experiential learning.

Annabelle Hioemawan co-led a team working with a Chicago confectionary company, developing a 3-5 year pipeline of limited time offer cookies, complete with the support plan. That included brainstorming the new flavors, the right cadence of release, and the optimal sizes and price for the packaging. They also helped the company understand what the market wants and develop a marketing plan to ensure the success of the new release.

“I think that working with real companies, and having this unique opportunity to get a taste of being a consultant during our years in Gies is very valuable,” said Hioemawan. “It is also perfect that Gies offers this opportunity because of the connections that College has. Students can work with some of the best companies, some even Fortune 500 companies. The professors that we had from Gies were supportive and always ready to help, and the mentors that we had were all very experienced.”

Sign up now to sponsor a project for the Fall semester.  If you’re interested, fill out this brief form, and a representative from our team can send you more information; or contact Marissa Siero,, (217) 300-2405. Ready to sponsor a project? Click here to submit your project idea.

Excellence in Research
Jessen Hobson 

Six Gies faculty win American Accounting Association awards
Continuing the College's long history of curricular innovation and excellence, six Gies faculty - Jessen Hobson, Joshua Herbold, Kim Mendoza, Vic Anand, A. Rashad Abdel-Khalik, and Martin Persson - have won awards from the American Accounting Association for innovation, teaching, and historical perspective. READ MORE

Judith White 

HBR: When You're Stuck Working with a Slacker
What's the best way to handle the situation when you're stuck working with a slacker? Confront them? Ignore it? Complain to your boss? Gies Business professor Judith White answered those questions and offered her insights in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review on “When You’re Stuck Working with a Slacker.”

Invest in Gies
 Cary McMillan

$150K McMillan scholarship fund starts with a surprise from fellow alums and Chicago colleagues
A recent alumni appreciation award has prompted friends and colleagues of Cary D. McMillan (ACCY ’80) to raise over $150,000 in his name, making it one of the most successful scholarship fund drives honoring an individual in Gies College of Business history.

“He is one of the most generous, inclusive people you’ll ever meet. If someone asks him for something, he gives it, never thinking what he might get in return,” said attorney Daniel K. Touhy (JOUR ’79), a fraternity brother and longtime friend of Cary.

When John Aymond (FIN ’80), SVP at RBC Capital Markets, received an invitation in March to a virtual Gies awards ceremony honoring Cary, he approached Touhy and a few other ATO fraternity brothers about surprising him with a scholarship fund in his name. The fundraising drive snowballed from there. READ MORE

To support Gies, make a gift here.

Campaign update

Learn about leaving a legacy with an estate gift 
Last month, Gies and the University of Illinois Foundation hosted an estate planning workshop. If you’d like to learn more about the essentials of estate planning and leaving a legacy at Gies, you can watch the recording and review the presenters’ slides from Dean Jeff Brown and Jason Shuba, Director of Gift Planning at the University of Illinois Foundation. If you have questions about how to get involved now or begin planning, please contact Jason Shuba at or Rebecca Pagels, Associate Dean for Advancement, at

Events and Engagement Opportunities

We look forward to returning to campus this fall and offering alumni and guests the safest in-person experience possible. For that reason, we encourage guests from outside the campus community to be fully vaccinated if they are able to do so. Based on CDC guidance, the university no longer requires fully vaccinated individuals to wear a face covering or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors. Guests who are not fully vaccinated will be required to wear a face covering and adhere to indoor and outdoor social distancing guidelines in place at the time of the event.

Stay tuned as we continue to plan fall events and engagement opportunities!

Investiture of Professor Matthew Kraatz | Date TBD
Please join us to celebrate the investiture ceremony of Professor Kraatz as the Merle H. and Virginia Downs Boren Professor in Gies College of Business; reception to follow.

iConverge 2021 | Thur., Sept. 16-Sat., Sept. 18
All day | Champaign, IL
We look forward to welcoming MBA alumni and online degree students to campus for iConverge this fall! iConverge will provide plenty of opportunities to network with current classmates and alumni, and to make new connections. Join us for this empowering and educational event. Registration links coming soon!

Save the Date: Gies Homecoming Celebration | Fri., Oct. 8
All day | Champaign, IL
Mark your calendar to celebrate an Illinois Homecoming at Gies College of Business.  We are planning several special events and fun opportunities to engage, including the IBC and Hoeft T&M 25th Anniversary Celebrations and the Business Bash reception. Save the date to come back to campus to reminisce and reconnect!

Save the Date: Gies Giving Day | Tue., Oct. 26
All week | Virtual
Celebrate the four-year anniversary of Larry and Beth Gies' $150 million gift and the naming of Gies College of Business. The week will include a student event as well as opportunities for alumni to get involved and learn more about the impact of giving.

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

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