2019 Best & Brightest: Krish Patel, University of Illinois (Gies)

Krish Patel

Gies College of Business, University of Illinois

An innovative and impact driven change maker with a passion for business, education, and healthcare.”

Hometown: Normal, IL

High School: Normal West High School

Major: Finance

Minor: Pre-Medical

Favorite Business Course: Fin 435: Personal Wealth Management

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Dean’s Student Advisory Board: President
  • Business Council

– International Student Mentor Program Coordinator

– Professional Development Chair

– College Relations Chair

– New Member Chair

  • Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity: Vice President of Finance
  • Enactus: Community Engagement Team
  • Illinois Student Senate

– Ad Hoc Mascot Exploration Committee

– Financial Affairs Committee

  • Investment Portfolio Organization
  • The Career Center Advisory Committee: Student Chair
  • Phi Beta Lambda: Vice President of External Affairs
  • Nair Biochemistry Research Lab: Undergraduate Lab Assistant
  • Multiple Time Dean’s List Recipient
  • Merit Program
  • Edmund James Scholar Program
  • Homecoming Court

Where have you interned during your college career? Teach For America–Campus Recruiting Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working for Teach For America in Dallas, TX as a Science Teacher

What company do you admire most? The companies I admire the most are those that use their capital to improve the lives of those facing inequitable situations. Corporate social responsibility has become a norm in today’s business environment, but the companies that are willing to think innovatively and risk their bottom lines to create solutions are those that are most admirable.

Who is your favorite professor? Although he is not a professor of a class I took, Kevin Jackson, Dean of Undergraduate Affairs, has played a crucial role in my college experience. He is always willing to sit down and chat about an idea or give advice. He is very passionate about making Gies College of Business an even greater school by being transparent and innovative. He pushes students to think critically about issues and allows them to have the opportunity to enact change.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? I love the family atmosphere at Gies College of Business. Everyone from the administration to the students is always willing to build relationships with you that extend beyond the classroom. I am not a traditional business student as I hope to pursue a career in medicine one day, but I never felt out of place and always had adequate resources and opportunities to succeed. Gies Business has taught me to think critically in a collaborative environment and has catalyzed my exponential personal and professional growth.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? I think beyond the technical analysis of analyzing financial statements and spreadsheets, critical thinking stands out. Although it is something difficult to teach, being surrounded by innovative minds has pushed me to think differently and to approach every problem from multiple perspectives.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Do something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone because that is truly the only way you will ever learn anything. Learn how to apply the technical skills you learn in your classes to real-world scenarios at your university and in your community.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? How impactful it can be. Majoring in business is not just about learning how to maximize your profits, it is about thinking critically to solve issues that people face on a day-to-day basis.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Psychology. I find it very fascinating to understand how people think and why they make the decisions that they do.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Eunice Wangadi has been a role model that I had in college. She graduated this past year from Gies and is now working at Deloitte. I met Eunice through Business Council and Enactus and immediately I knew she would be an amazing role model and inspiration. She always helped me get through whatever I was dealing with. She also just has a very positive and motherly aura about her that always brightens up every room. Eunice helped me understand how interesting, creative, and impactful a path through business can be.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of serving as the President of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board. It was a board created to serve as the voice of undergraduate students for Gies College of Business. Ever since I entered the College, it has felt like home for me, and I wanted to ensure a more cohesive, connected culture and environment for all. I have been able to lead some of the most amazing students in addressing the most crucial concerns in the College.

Which classmate do you most admire? I admire Nathan Gaertner. He always puts others ahead of himself, puts 110% into everything that he does, and will never back down from a challenge.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my dad. He instilled the values of hard work, dedication, and selflessness from a young age. My dad is a small business entrepreneur, and the passion and care for his employees he brought to work every day is something that pushed me to live a life for others. It is because of him that I understand that success is not measured by the money, fame, or recognition – but rather the positive impact you make on those around you and those less privileged than you.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Travel to every country
  • Learn to surf

What are your hobbies? Cooking, exploring, reading, playing and watching sports.

What made Krish such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“I had only served in my role as Associate Dean for a couple of months when I first met Krish. He and a couple of other students reached out to me for an introduction and some casual conversation. As our conversation began, within minutes it was clear that Krish is a bright, passionate leader. To be clear, Krish doesn’t wear his passion on his sleeve. There are jokes about Krish’s stoic demeanor and unflappable temperament. Yet Krish’s passion is undeniable and felt (as much as observed) through his willingness to speak openly about the need for change, and his commitment to fostering change. As our College becomes more intentional in its efforts to build a serving and relational culture and community befitting its namesake, Larry Gies, Krish has been at the forefront in serving and encouraging other students to own their community. Changing a culture is most effective when it comes from within; Krish has been invaluable to our College in leading the charge.”

Kevin Jackson
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Affairs and Associate Professor of Accountancy and PwC Faculty Fellow
Gies College of Business, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign




Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.