2017 Best & Brightest: Olivia Bounadere, University of Illinois

Olivia Bounadere

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Motivated, Energetic, Personable, Kind, Funny, Adventurous, Loving, Passionate, Compassionate, Intelligent.”

Fun fact about yourself: I went caving hundreds of feet underground in Budapest, Hungary during my semester abroad. I would never envision myself participating in such an activity, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I was thrilled to do with some of my closest friends.

Hometown Lake Bluff, IL

High School: Carmel Catholic High School (Mundelein, IL)

Major: Finance & Supply Chain Management

Favorite Business Courses:

BADM 199 – Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Dev.

ECON 203 – Economic Statistics II

FIN 300 – Financial Markets

BADM 335 – Supply Chain Management Basics

FIN 435 – Personal Wealth Management

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College

Business Council:

  • Philanthropy Chair (Spring 2014)
  • College Relations Chair (Fall 2014)
  • Vice President of Operations (Spring & Fall 2015)

Professor Tiffany White Marketing Research Team – Research Assistant (May 2014 – Present)

Business 101 – Section Leader (Fall 2015 and Fall 2016)

College of Business Undergraduate Admissions – (Spring 2017)

Where have you interned during your college career?

AbbVie: Finance Intern (2015) – Operations Supply Chain Third Party Manufacturing (TPM) Finance

AbbVie: Finance Intern (2016) – Global Marketing & Commercial Operations

Describe your dream Job My dream job would be to start a business with my sister or family. While I think I can gain valuable skills and experience working in industry for a period of time, I would love to create a business that builds on my passions of fashion and philanthropy.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Though not famous or recognized on a large scale, one entrepreneur I admire greatly is my grandfather. Having immigrated from Italy to Montreal, Canada with limited education and very little in his pocket, my grandfather was a successful businessman as he worked to own his very own franchise grocery store. This endeavor took a lot of risk and trust in his own abilities, but it was through perseverance, determination, and passion that he was able to turn his vision into reality. In time, my grandfather successfully built up his business into a store that the whole community was able to enjoy. Through his example, I am reminded at how important it is to go after what I am passionate about and not be afraid of the unknown. I will never know what I am capable of until I go for it.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? Perhaps what I enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field is realizing how dynamic it can be. Majoring in Finance and Supply Chain Management, I knew that I would be learning about two different sectors within business. However, throughout my academic career in the courses I have taken and my internship experiences, I’ve realized how interconnected the fields can actually be. While working in Operations Finance at AbbVie, I was able to see how my two majors intermixed to bring drug products to patients in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

Where would you like to work after graduation? After graduation, I will be working at AbbVie, a biopharmaceutical company in North Chicago, IL. I will be a part of the Finance Rotational Program (FDP), which is a two-year rotational program. I have always had a passion for working in the healthcare industry, so I look forward to working on the business-side on projects that will in turn aid patients throughout the world.

What are your long-term professional goals? Long-term, I aspire to make a lasting impact on people. I have always had a passion for helping people and engaging in philanthropic work because the reward of seeing others happy is unparalleled to anything else that can make me happy. I think starting off my career in the healthcare industry is a step in the right direction towards helping me achieve this goal and in time, I hope I can use my business skills to create my own businesses that are focused on helping people in some way.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I saw how successful my parents had been throughout their careers and how happy my sister was pursuing a business degree at the University of Illinois. I have always enjoyed working with people, and I knew that was a large part of business. In addition, I was intrigued with understanding how businesses worked and the manpower behind all major initiatives businesses took. I realized that within business, I would be able to not only strengthen my technical skills, but also expand my creative skills to work with others and bring ideas to reality.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…a fashion designer. I have always had a passion for fashion and beauty growing up and while I might not be pursuing that passion right now, I know that in the future having my business degree might aid me in turning that passion into a reality.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…what all of the majors involved from a high level point of view. Taking core business courses helped me to understand what accounting, finance, marketing etc. meant and how they contributed to a business’ operations, but I wish I had a more formalized understanding of these fields in high school. Luckily, my parents both worked in business so I had a base knowledge of these fields already, but my understanding definitely grew after having taken those introductory courses.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? I studied abroad in Milan, Italy during my spring semester in 2016. I had never studied in a different country before this time and to say the experience was incredible is an understatement. Apart from taking classes at Bocconi University in Milan, I had the chance to travel to 13 other countries throughout the semester. When I visited the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, I realized that was the happiest I had been in my life to date. There was something so serene about soaking in the views at the cliffs and breathing in the fresh air; the natural beauty was simply breathtaking and one that I will never forget. It made me realize how there is much to learn from simply traveling and seeing the world around me through interactions with different people and various cultures.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? Business Council is one organization that has undoubtedly shaped my college experience. I joined the organization as a new member during my freshman year in Fall 2013. Centered around 3 pillars —  professional, social, and service — this organization has allowed me to grow in more ways that I could imagine. After my first semester, I had the pleasure of serving as the Philanthropy Chair where I helped organize various events for our members to volunteer in the Urbana-Champaign community and on campus. The following semester, I served as the College Relations Chair where I helped create events to foster relationships between our members and the Deans of the College of Business. Finally, I served on the Executive Board during 2015 as the Vice President of Operations. In this role, I worked to manage the membership status of all our members as well as spearhead the recruitment efforts to attain new members. Working with five other individuals on the Executive Board taught me the importance of teamwork, leading by example, and working towards what I am passionate about.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? I would choose a Golden Retriever because they are kind, approachable, protective, and obedient. I think I embody these qualities as well, because I am passionate about the work that I do and care about getting the job done, but at the same time I would consider myself fun and easy to work with.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? There are many people I would like to thank for my success including my professors, mentors, and peers. But perhaps the most important people in my life that I would like to thank are my family. Without their continued support and encouragement throughout my academic career, I would not be where I am today. My parents have always put my sister and I first in everything that they have done to ensure that we received a proper education. There have been countless times that I have turned to my parents for advice on my career aspirations and because of them, I have a clearer idea of what I would like my professional career to look like. My older sister, Alexia, has always been a role model for me throughout school on what it means to be a leader and a go-getter. Through her example, she has pushed me to pursue involvement and leadership in various organizations I am passionate about.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would hope my peers would say that they enjoyed working with me during our undergraduate studies in college because of my hard work, dedication, and drive to succeed. More than that though, I would hope they would value the friendships we created throughout college because that is all part of the “college experience.” Peers are the ones who experience all of our adventures, successes, and struggles with us. My peers have helped shaped my overall college experience, and I would hope they would say I did the same for them.

Favorite book: The Book Thief

Favorite movie: The Devil Wears Prada

Favorite musical performer: Coldplay

Favorite vacation spot: So hard to choose! I think I would have to say Florence, Italy. I have been there three times, and each time I go, I fall more in love with the city and what it has to offer.

What are your hobbies? I love reading during my spare time, spending time with family and friends, catching up on the latest fashion and beauty trends of the season, and traveling.

What made Olivia Boundadere such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017?

“Olivia is an exemplary student who conveys all aspects of an effective leader, able and willing to adapt to any situation she is facing. Her awareness and commitment not only to her studies, but also to the College of Business community, creates opportunities for other students to develop and lead. She is a role model student leader. She has an incredible capacity to identify with her peers, willing to offer her talents with ease, all the while exuding a passion for their work with a quiet and patient manner. She is the person one is naturally drawn towards when needing a boost in motivation, and she reminds you to trust in your confidence and work with integrity.”

Michel Watkins
Assistant Director, New Student Programs
College of Business, University of Illinois


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