Poets&Quants Top Business Schools

University of Illinois Gies College Of Business


Contact our general manager with any questions. Profile updated: April 28, 2020.

School Data

Tuition & Fees In-State: $68,160*

Tuition & Fees Out-of-State: $130,648*

Average Debt: $24,681

When do students declare their majors: Sophomore Year

Internship Rate: 91%

Graduates With Jobs 90 Days After Graduation: 98%

Total Average Compensation (Including Bonus): $68,348

International: 15%

Minority: 14%

First generation college students: 16%

Acceptance Rate: 42%

Average SAT: 1,378

Average ACT: 30

HS Class Top Ten: 73%**

*The total tuition and fees for the most recent graduating class. This does not include books, room, or board.

** HS Class Top Ten is the percent of the student population that graduated high school in the top ten percent of their class.

*** Please note that these statics are provided for the business school major only whenever possible. If a school does not track these statistics separately, then the university-wide statistics are provided.

At the Gies College of Business, Business 101 is a big deal. It’s a course on professional responsibility and is the first class that business students take. But it’s not your typical ethics course. Dean Jeff Brown of the College of Business says it’s meant to help students understand their own personal ethics.

Developed in collaboration with faculty, the Office of Undergraduate Affairs, and the Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society, Business 101: Professional Responsibility is divided into three modules: Personal Responsibilities, Professional Responsibilities, and Societal Responsibilities. And while the course focuses on corporate social responsibility and the broad role of business on a global scale, about one-third of the time is spent thinking about the students’ own, personal values, and about how professional situations could compromise them.

At the same time, Business 101 is an introduction to the College of Business. Students begin creating formal resumes and participate in their first applied-learning activities. For example, students are introduced to subsistence marketplaces via lectures, virtual immersion exercises, and poverty simulation.

The first hour of the class is led by a former dean and professors of the College of Business. In the second hour, freshmen break into smaller sections and engage in discussions led by older business school students, usually in their junior and senior years.

“I had the opportunity and privilege to be a section leader in my junior and senior years,” says Michael Smigielski, an Illinois School of Business alum from the Class of 2014. “It was helpful, both taking it as a freshman and teaching it because it’s a theme that never leaves you. Whether you stay in business or move into another field of study, the pressures of work and life continue to grow.”

Smigielski says the lessons he learned in Business 101 have only become more relevant as he gets older. By using the tools and concepts he learned in class, he feels able to take a step back and reflect on how to be ethical and responsible to himself and to his society.

And while Business 101 is meant to provide an ethical framework that students can use to figure out what kind of work they want to do in their professional careers, the rest of the freshman year curriculum is also geared toward self-discovery.


Students begin taking Business Core classes in their freshmen year, which include a wide breadth of classes in economics, marketing, finance, accountancy, and more. And for those who are eager to explore the different business focuses, Brown recommends taking advantage of the resources and opportunities the school offers.

For example, students are highly encouraged to get involved with student organizations or specialized programs at the schools, which Brown says are ways for them to familiarize themselves with various business opportunities. “There are over 30 business-focused student organizations, and we have a lot of specialized programs,” Brown says. “So if you’re interested in investment banking, or corporate finance, or managing an investment fund, we have a student program designed to help you build the necessary professional skills.”

And in the last few years, the number of opportunities like this been growing, particularly in action-based learning, which Brown says is a big focus of theirs. The College of Business has an action-learning office dedicated to helping students work with real clients, and Brown says within a year or two, they hope that every single graduating student will have experience working with real clients.

“I became dean a little over a year ago, and we have a lot of things going on,” Brown says. “We have a goal to — within a couple of years — make sure every student walks out of here literate in data sciences. We have a partnership with Deloitte to create a center for business analytics. And we are undertaking a whole-scale review of our curriculum, which will really bring action-learning to every student. We hope to include it in the Business Core.”


One example of action-learning is a business school operated organization called Illinois Business Consulting. Student teams are hired through Illinois Business Consulting to work on projects for real clients — sometimes aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking for help putting together a business plan, and sometimes larger companies who want help with various things, like marketing campaigns. The student teams will provide private consulting, and Brown says the program is enormously successful with very high client satisfaction.

And according to alum Kerry Zepeda, Class of 2014, student teamwork on projects like this was a large part of what drew her to the College of Business. “I was so impressed with the caliber of the students when I visited,” she says. “I witnessed these students helping one another and working together on projects and various club initiatives. While the students were incredibly driven, I never sensed the “dog eat dog” attitude that was very evident at other business schools I had visited.”

And once she was part of the community, she says she learned that the resources and programs at the school are only part of what makes it so beneficial to students.

“Alumnae are very eager to give back, and as a result, the business career services center flourishes at the College,” she says. “On a trip to Asia this summer, I randomly ran into two individuals whom I had met from the College of Business program. Those aren’t isolated incidents either — that’s how incredible and extensive of a network we have.”


She says she continues to be surprised by how much of a community the business program is, and says that as a professional in the Chicago area, she runs into people from the College of Business every day, and knows that she has numerous resources and countless professionals who she can rely on.

Zepeda’s enthusiasm is reflected in some parts of P&Q’s alumni survey, and less so in others. Overall, participating alumni reported average scores for the College of Business. They placed in the top six for extracurricular opportunities, but in the bottom 10 for the effectiveness of academic advising.

What Alumni Say:

“I was part of a global immersion to China as part of the Hoeft Technology & Management Program – we were able to see how culture and business play a different role in society there and how the companies that sponsor the program differ in that area. I was also part of a capstone project for the program and got to consult for a sponsor, a useful skill to learn how to interact with a client, do research and present deliverables to management.” – Recent Alumni

“I was a member of the Business Honors program. As part of the program, I participated10-day10 day business immersion trip to Singapore and Malaysia following my freshman year. This was my first exposure to international business and introduced me to Accenture, where I would go on to intern twice and accept a full-time offer, for the first time. It also inspired me to pursue my dreams of studying abroad; I spent the spring semester of my junior year attending courses at a graduate business school in Paris (ESCP.)” – Recent Alumni

“Numerous investment banking case competitions held through the college of business were key to simulating the real-world experience of investment banking and teaching the grit, maturity, and technical skills needed to succeed in the job. The Investment Banking Academy fully prepares students for a career in banking and is something I speak about proudly to graduates from other business schools across the country because I am confident in IBA to continue selecting and minting high-quality students for banking, hedge funds, private equity.” – Recent Alumni

Where The Class of 2018 Went To Work:

Deloitte – 34

KPMG – 22

Ernst & Young – 19

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) – 16

Allstate – 10

Grant Thornton – 8

Wells Fargo – 7

JP Morgan Chase – 7

Protiviti – 6

Alight Solutions – 6

Contact Information

515 E Gregory Dr.
Champaign, IL 61820
Admissions Office:
School Social Media:

From the School:

At Gies College of Business, education is just the start. It’s the first step toward finding meaning beyond business, the start of a great career, and discovering ways to positively impact the community where you live. Our alumni hold leadership positions in Big Four accounting firms, in major corporations around the globe, and in small businesses across the country. What sets our alumni apart is bold, agile thinking and bringing new perspectives to problems facing businesses and our world.

Our students learn from faculty with decades of experience in their field, they collaborate with fellow students in state-of-the-art facilities, and they immerse themselves in a leading-edge curriculum. Gies’ thoughtfully designed academic and extracurricular programs provide students with ample opportunities to apply what they’ve learned to real client projects. We deliver the most comprehensive, profession-ready experiences so you’re prepared to succeed from day one.

Our faculty and staff are committed to fostering a culture of innovation and cross-disciplinary collaboration to create opportunities for students to put their purpose into practice. Through such programs as Illinois Business Consulting, iVenture Accelerator, and Illinois Social Innovation, students gain real, relevant experience that prepares them to solve problems for businesses and society. Our students are encouraged to transform big ideas into purposeful actions and empowered to make the world a better place.

Curriculum at Gies Business

Students are admitted directly into Gies College of Business and declare their major usually in the spring of their sophomore year. Students, therefore, have the time and opportunities to explore a variety of career and major options before focusing on a single course of study. Students have a wide selection of major degree programs to choose from: accounting, finance, information systems, management with a concentration (general or international), marketing, operations management, strategic business development and entrepreneurship, and supply chain management.

Throughout its programs, Gies Business fosters a community of cooperation where ideas can cross-pollinate across disciplines, across cultures, and across borders. Gies maintains international partnerships with world-renowned business schools. In fact, more than 53% of students participate in an international experience during their Gies education. Many study abroad during their sophomore or junior year; others participate in one of the many short-term international programs available throughout their time at Gies.

A Purpose-Driven Undergraduate Experience

Gies’ sequence of cohort courses is foundational to the educational experience. All first-year students complete Business 101: Professional Responsibility and Business. This course explores the social value of business, the vocation of business, and ethics and professional responsibility. Business 101 helps students think aspirationally about business and how it adds value for customers. Students emerge with a strong sense of what it means to participate in communities of all kinds – and why responsibility and accountability are so essential to a career in any type of business.

Business 201: Business Dynamics, launched in 2018, is built around a business simulation. Second-year students are introduced to the primary functional areas of business and how each functional area relates to creating a business system. In addition to engaging in a dynamic business simulation, students are taught to think and engage like leaders. The ability to manage teams, become effective presenters, network, and manage conflicts prepares students to enter Business 301: Business in Action – the largest experiential learning course in the nation.

In Business 301, students work on a real organizational problem with an actual client. Students work closely with their clients to identify, analyze, and present recommendations for a viable solution. This course develops three core skills in all Gies students: the ability to work in teams, the knowledge to solve complex problems, and the confidence to effectively tell their story to recruiters and managers.

Finally, Business 401: Global Business Perspectives teaches all seniors about the globalization of business. Topics like technology, GDP, trade, culture, and environment help students take stock of the world around them. They’re also taught to develop skills to overcome personal and professional obstacles, reflect upon what motivates them, and think about small ways they can improve the world around them. In addition to these four cohort courses, each Gies undergraduate student will take at least two semesters of data analytics that will prepare them to become well-rounded business leaders of tomorrow.

Educational Values

At Gies, students find an environment where all can achieve, 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. The entrepreneurial spirit at Gies drives students to challenge the status quo. Integrity and professional responsibility are at the heart of it all. These values help prepare and empower exceptional, innovative, purposeful, and ethical business leaders.

Those values are embodied by the College’s namesake, alumnus Larry Gies (Accountancy 1988). In October 2017, Gies and his wife Beth invested $150 million in the College to create an immediate and lasting impact for current and future students. “This investment is, and always will be, about the students here and what we can become together – the greatest business school on earth, where purposeful leaders get the tools to pursue their passion to make the world a better place,” Gies said.

Learning Outside the Classroom

Gies Business provides a portfolio of opportunities inside and outside of the classroom that helps the College’s students develop as professionals:

  • The Magelli Office of Experiential Learning sources authentic client-based projects that provide valuable opportunities for students to learn by doing.
  • The Margolis Market Information Lab provides students with hands-on experience using state-of-the-art financial and business data and software products.
  • The Hoeft Technology & Management program – a joint venture between Gies College of Business and the Grainger College of Engineering – prepares students for success in today’s technical, team-based environment, leading to a university minor.
  • iVenture Accelerator supports the most promising student-led startups with knowledge, funding, and access to world-class University of Illinois resources and alumni.
  • Illinois Business Consulting, the largest professionally managed, student-run university consulting organization in the country, provides students with opportunities to help real clients solve real problems.
  • The Business Living Learning Community offers access to special courses and resources for business students. Students are housed on the same floor of a residence hall where they work together to explore business practices and engage in problem-solving and extracurricular activities that provide real-world context and experience.
  • Origin Ventures Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership connects student entrepreneurs with resources to nurture their talent.
  • The Golder Academies provide expanded opportunities for students interested in investment banking, investment management, and finance.
  • Illinois MakerLab offers students access to the world’s first 3D printing lab in a business school.

Students can also participate in the many student organizations affiliated with the College, each committed to professional development. In addition, the College offers numerous leadership and career programs provided through academic departments, career services, and the office of undergraduate affairs. Freshmen and sophomores engage in a job shadow program with corporate partners during winter break. Case competitions are a staple in program and extra-curricular offerings, with each designed to address unique business challenges. All of them provide students with opportunities to prepare and present as professionals.

Career Success

Everything we do in the College is focused on students and their future success. From the time students join our College, they work with our academic advising team to ensure that their academic path moves them steadily toward graduation and that they are well-prepared for the career of their choice.

Our career services team works closely with students to help them prepare to land those important internships and that first post-graduation job. They help with résumé-writing workshops, résumé reviews, and career fair preparation so students feel confident entering the two job fairs exclusively for Gies Business students each year.

The results of these activities are shown our high graduation rate and our outstanding record of helping students land internships and launch successful careers. With an undergraduate placement rate consistently over 95%, Gies College of Business is graduating students who are in-demand and prepared to succeed in their careers from day one.