2018 Best & Brightest: Rachel Jacoby, University of Illinois (Gies)

Rachel Jacoby

University of Illinois (Gies)

An athlete, foodie, and adventure seeker who believes business must be a force for good.”

Fun fact about yourself: I can name the Presidents in order.

Hometown: Vernon Hills, IL

High School: Vernon Hills High School

Major: Accountancy and Supply Chain Management

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course:

BADM 350: IT for Networked Organizations

ACCY 301: Accounting Measurement and Exposure

BUS 120: Business Honors Seminar

TGMT 367: Management of Innovation and Technology

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Dean’s Student Advisory Board: President; We advised the deans on strategies to improve Gies College of Business, ranging from gathering feedback to implement a Living Learning Community or offering suggestions to modify the course curriculum.

Phi Chi Theta Professional Business Fraternity: Professional Chair and College of Business Relations Chair

BUS 120 (Leadership course): Teaching Assistant

Business Career Services: Research Assistant

ActGreen (Green Business Organization): President

Global Business Brigades: Consultant in Darien, Panama and Paraíso, Honduras

Business Administration Department Search Committee: Student Representative

Where have you interned during your college career?

Deloitte Consulting: Business Technology Analyst Summer Scholar (Chicago, IL)

Tesla: Global Trade Intern (Fremont, CA)

Shell: Financial Operations Intern (Houston, TX)

Where will you be working after graduation? Deloitte Consulting (Chicago, IL)

Who is your favorite professor? Though she was not a professor of a class I took, Jana Lithgow, who is the Assistant Dean for Advising, Registration, and Student Support, has also been an important mentor for me. Like all Deans in the College, her door is always open, and I have turned for her for advice on subjects ranging from career paths to classes to leadership opportunities. However, Jana will never simply answer my questions; rather, she challenges me to think critically about problems, often turning my questions back on me, which has made me better prepared for life after college.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? I really enjoy the community I have found in Gies College of Business. The courses, student organizations, and faculty all foster a collaborative environment where you are encouraged to learn from your peers and work together to solve problems. This community of students has challenged me intellectually and encouraged me to grow professionally.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying… international development, because I am interested in working abroad to help resolve the challenges facing communities around the world. As our world is becoming more globalized, it is increasingly important to be knowledgeable about a wide range of issues. That’s especially true if they don’t directly affect you, because that empathy is crucial to creating a more understanding and hopeful world. One day, I want to work for a nonprofit organization, so I would love to learn more about issues related to international development.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mom influenced me the most. Growing up and watching my mom have a successful career in business inspired me as I saw her have a challenging and fulfilling professional career in the business world.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of leading ActGreen, the first green business organization on campus, to grow both in size and scope. The projects I led as President of this organization have had a tangible impact in the Champaign-Urbana community, ranging from increasing recycling opportunities on campus to advocating for a reusable water bottle filler in the Business Instructional Facility to reduce plastic waste.

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the business school? I would plan a large celebration in the atrium of the Business Instruction Facility. I think a lot of times, it is easy to get caught up in the complexities of our own lives; it is important to remember to relax and celebrate our achievements. I think having this sort of celebration would really help us to learn more about each other as a community.

Which classmate do you most admire? I really admire Casey Walker. He has always known his passions and been committed to pursuing them. Additionally, Casey is not afraid to create change if he thinks it is needed.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? There are so many people I would want to thank because I have had many influential peers, mentors, and friends who have helped make my success possible. Yet, I think my family more than anyone else was instrumental in my success. My parents and younger sister have always supported me and encouraged me to pursue my passions. From an early age, my parents instilled in my younger sister and me that there were no limits to our dreams except our own willingness to put in the effort to achieve them.

What would your theme song be? “I lived” by One Republic. This song really picks me up when I’m down and reminds me to keep pushing and working towards my goals.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Travel to all seven continents
  2. Hike every trail in a state park

Favorite book: Panchinko

Favorite movie: Forrest Gump

Favorite vacation spot: Iceland: I love the outdoors, and I spent one week hiking through some of the most gorgeous places I have ever seen

What are your hobbies? Traveling, running, reading, hiking, baking, trying new foods, and watching Netflix shows.

What made Rachel such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2018?

“Rachel Jacoby is an exceptional student leader within Gies College of Business at Illinois. When she joined our College as a freshman, she enrolled in my Career and Major Exploration course and told me that she wanted to try everything and see what fit her best. She quickly learned that she had a gift for consulting work and spent the next four years building an impressive résumé with her academic and extracurricular involvement. The breadth and depth of Rachel’s experiences as a Gies student illustrate the type of leader that she is – she is eager to try everything; she plunges in headfirst when she finds something that interests her; and she is committed to doing her part to contribute to the student experience at Gies College of Business for generations to come. Rachel’s enthusiasm for learning has shaped her contributions to the College – she leads internal consulting groups; she volunteers her time for programs that are geared toward younger students; and she has built strong relationships with the faculty, staff, administration, and her peers. In my mind, she embodies the Gies College of Business mission, vision, and purpose – her focus on engaged, servant leadership is one of a kind.”

Jana Lithgow
Assistant Dean for Advising, Registration, and Student Support
Gies College of Business
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



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