Alison McAuliffe: 2016 Best and Brightest

Alison McAuliffe Illinois

Alison McAuliffe

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Hometown: Marion, IL

High School: Marion High School

Major: Accountancy

Favorite Business Courses: Badm 395 (Social Entrepreneurship), Accy 312 (Individual Tax), Finance 241 (Real Estate)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Enactus—Project Manager, Executive Manager and ew Member Director
  • Illini N Motion—4 year dance member
  • Business Honors—1 of 32 students selected to participate in a leadership program to better the College of Business
  • Petullo Scholar—Scholarship program and participant in community/college give back opportunities

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Northern Trust; Chicago, IL; Income Collections Intern
  • The Boeing Company; St. Louis, MO; Financial Planning & Analysis Intern
  • Edward Jones; St. Louis, MO; Financial Adviser Intern

Describe your dream job: To own a dance academy that is in cities across the U.S. that would transform communities and children’s lives through the art of dance. Various forms of dance for all ages would be taught to ensure that children are able to still participate in the art of expression.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? I really enjoy the people portion of studying in a business field. Making connections, learning about others’ experiences, and meeting new people really is the most enjoyable part. Being able to grow your network of business people with various different careers, experiences and backgrounds is also very rewarding and worth every minute of my business education.

Where would you like to work after graduation? I have already accepted a full-time position with KPMG Tax in St. Louis, MO starting October 2016.

What are your long-term professional goals? I hope to always be challenged in any career or job that I choose to pursue and continuously make an impact in communities. For me, it is not so much about the actual position or job, but instead more about the impact I am making.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Meet as many people as possible with different goals, experiences and backgrounds to try and grow your network to as big as possible. 

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…my accounting teacher in high school became my mentor and always strived to ensure I was being challenged.” 

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…traveling the world and getting to know and understand other cultures and parts of the world.” 

 What was the happiest moment of your life? The happiest moment of my life so far would be when I received praise for my choreography for the musical Cats. In the middle of the big dance number, the audience provided a standing ovation, which meant so much to me.

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of choosing to attend the University of Illinois College of Business because I can attribute any and all of my successes to this College and the people I have come in contact with. I really believe that without getting into this College or not having chosen to come, my successes and accomplishment would not be anywhere close to where they are now. Any accomplishment I have had can truly be related to my overarching accomplishment of coming to the College of Business.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? I would choose a lion to represent my professional brand because lions represent courage and pride. Personally, I continuously strive to take risks and advantage of new opportunities and challenges in my professional career, which I associate with having courage to experience new things. Also, everything I do professionally (or even personally) I do with a purpose. I really take ownership and responsibility of my professional brand and choice and do so with pride.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents, Tim and Deanna McAuliffe. They have provided me with so many opportunities including the ability to attend UIUC, spend a semester abroad, and much more. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish the things I have done thus far without the support and help from them. Also, I thank them for setting such high expectations for my siblings and I as children because we have always been expected to aim high, but understand that it is okay to fall too. With having such high expectations from my parents as a kid, we knew we wouldn’t be able to just slide by. Mom and Dad, thank you.

Fun fact about yourself: I have traveled to 19 countries and have plans to continue traveling.

Favorite book: Tuesdays with Morrie

Favorite movie: Footloose

Favorite musical performer: Idina Menzel

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere with a beach

What are your hobbies? Dancing, traveling and cooking

What made Alison such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016?

“Alison exemplifies the tenets of servant leadership and her impact will be felt for generations to come both on and off campus. Her selfless work has been both on a national and international scale as she has provided workshops across the globe on financial literacy in emerging nations. Additionally, on campus she was instrumental in the creation and presentation of a “how to” workshop on winning case competitions for fellow students. Alison leads by example and we are fortunate to call her an Illini.

Richard T Johnson
Assistant Dean for Student Enrichment
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

“While it is amazing to see how well students perform in the classroom on the ‘BIG 10’ stage at Illinois, sometimes what occurs outside the classroom truly amazes me. Alison McAuliffe approached me last month with a note from her Enactus advisor to say that she would miss a class because she would be traveling to Nicaragua. And why is was this? She was starting the first Chamber of Commerce office in this socialist country to plant the seed of industry and business development.

Service to others is the basis of the Illini business spirit, and Alison leads in an accomplished and quiet way. As one of those: “You can’t teach this” moments, this is where leadership becomes visible and operative. Doing so in an international framework is the Illinois way. Cultural understanding is a big part of Business at Illinois, and Alison has embraced this philosophy.”

Jim Bodtke
Lecturer of Accountancy, College of Business
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign