Joined: 20 Jun 2016
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Re: Illinois MSA [#permalink]
20 Jun 2016, 07:21
I have attended both UIC and DePaul for my MSA. I started at UIC and after 1 semester RAN away and transferred to DePaul. Prior to my enrollment, I did my research, and read all that was available on all forums. I decided to go to UIC. This was the biggest mistake ever. UIC's entire graduate business program (MSA, MIS MBA, etc.) is a joke. I had 4 years of full time work experience in Finance before I decided to obtain my MSA. UIC makes it look like they have a competitive program, with great faculty, and "fabulous" employers coming to their career fairs. LIES LIES LIES !!! Below I will explain very "informally" my experience in UIC's MSA program in 2015.
Yes, UIC is cheaper than DePaul, but are you going to graduate school to save money or gain knowledge and branding that will make you money for the rest of your life? To anyone who falls for "UIC is cheaper" ... it is MUCH cheaper in the level of education provided and cheaper in the opportunities you will have after you graduate.
2. UIC's career services:
It is horrible. People who work there do not give a damn about your career as many of them are students who work to get tuition money, and put zero effort into their jobs. They are not held accountable for their work. Your complaints will fall right through the cracks. Your emails and phone calls will NOT be returned the majority of the time. Don't forget it is a PUBLIC school and its administration operates just like the DMV. Everyone working there acts as if they are doing you a favor. I swear, once I was given information about a career fair from 2013, yet this was January 2015. Can you imagine if I did not question it? I would have shown up on the wrong day. The person who gave me this information clearly had no clue, and he/she did not care. I mean, come on people, this is your career on the line. This is a public institution, and it is very hard to "terminate" people who don't want to perform. But the only one who suffers is ... YOU !
The "Student Outreach Manager for accounting students in the Business Career Center" (I will not post her name here) is someone who lacks ANY real experience in finance or accounting yet this is straight from UIC's website (check for yourself).
"She works closely with undergraduate and graduate students and assists in the preparation of internship and full time opportunities. She is happy to meet with students to review their resumes, assist with mock interviews, and conduct workshops to prepare qualified candidates for success".
This "Student Outreach Manager in the Bussiness Career Center" HAS NOT held a job in a real and competitive business environment, but she is suppose to teach you how to interview or conduct workshops? I mean seriously? Shouldn't you be prepared by someone who has a great deal of hiring experience? Someone who actually worked in Human Resources or Talent Acquisition and performed hundreds of interviews? This is just a facade! On numerous occasions, she failed to return my calls or my emails. Also, because UIC is a public school, you are able to see what everyone employed there gets paid (it's yout tax money). While making a decision between UIC and DePaul, check out what these "Managers" who are suppose to "prep" you for success make, and a red flag will go right off. Someone who is making $15,000 less than a STARTING new employee at the Big 4 is going to help you figure out a way to "success," really? Maybe it's just me, but quite frankly, I think that UIC should hire someone with at LEAST 10 years of hiring experiences in Finance or Accounting to conduct these "mock interviews and workshops," which are all VERY important in optimizing your chances of success. Now mind you, this is the same person who is suppose to "advise" UIC's MBA students who should have at least a few years of professional experience prior to their enrollment. 9 out of 10 MBA students will have far better experience in interviewing for finance jobs than that "Career Center Manager". So ask yourself "WHATS THE POINT?"
The majority of their faculty is horrendous! Look up Michael Kirschenheiter (he is "sort of" in charge of their Accounting program). Try to find his syllabus online. In HIS syllabus he explains that your Midterm Exam grade will depend on your Final Exam grade? What? He tells you that you don't need a book. He tells you that you will submit "cases," yet they will not be graded based on their correctness. As long as you submit ANYTHING you get full credit; he does NOT grade them, and he does NOT check them! He uses the very same cases from the 90's in all of his accounting classes across all levels because he does not feel like doing anything to prep for his class. His blackboard website is a mess. There is stuff on it from the past 20 years. I am not kidding. He puts ZERO effort into his class; he has been teaching for many many years, and it is clear that he is just collecting a paycheck (your tuition money). Overall, the level of teaching is poor. Employers know that. I feel bad for a couple of the teachers who DO care, but they are over shadowed by the rest of the "bad apples". Again, this is your career, and you should demand the highest quality of teaching you can get for the money.
UIC claims to have some of the best employers come and hire their graduates. They post all the logos of PwC, Northern Trust, etc. The problem is that while some of these employers HAVE shown up in the past, they ONLY recruit a couple of people. I was told by one of the Big 4 recruiters that they have sort of "hiring goals" where they will hire 2-3 people out of UIC. But then they will hire 10-20 out of DePaul, and more from University of Illinois or Notre Dame (obviously). Hope you get the point. Are you going to graduate school to optimize your chances of starting a great career or are you going to put in all this work, and spend that much money, to have very little exposure (if any) to good employers?
If you could see the list of employers that come and hire on any given year, you would see that large majority of the firms are just "nothing to write home about". UIC's career services should not allow employers like TCF Bank or Verizon Wireless to come and hire at all. Why in the world would anyone want to become a Teller or Personal Banker, or a cell phone sales associate after receiving their graduate degree? These seriously are the types of companies that will "recruit you". Again, YES there are a few well-known firms, but they only HIRE a few of the students, IF ANY!!! If you compare the list of potential employers at UIC to the ones at DePaul, you will be amazed by the significant difference in branding.
I honestly can say that there is a huge difference in the attitude of students at UIC and DePaul. First and foremost, I am only GENERALIZING this part because naturally there are serious students at both schools. In my opinion the majority of students at UIC are not as mature or serious about their studies and their careers as are those at DePaul. Perhaps this is due to the different levels of requirements imposed by the admissions office. For example, at UIC ANYTHING over 500 on your GMAT will get you in. While the GMAT score might not predict your success in life, it is a way for higher institutions to optimize their chances of admitting students who are willing to commit a great deal of time and effort to achieve great results in school and in their career. I saw A LOT of people at UIC who slacked, did the bare minimum, and did not really care. In my opinion, it is important that you associate yourself with others who want to achieve more in life- just my opinion on the student body at UIC.
At DePaul, PwC, KPMG, EY, Deloitte, RSM (formerly McGladrey), hire a large number of students every year, all year long- Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring internships, full time positions, and across all areas. But that's just accounting. If
Now, after being exposed to all of these atrocities, I said "enough". I applied to DePaul, got accepted, received an $8,000 transfer scholarship, and I LEFT!!!
And you know what? It was the BEST decision that I made. I absolutely cannot explain how DIFFERENT DePaul's graduate program is. The professors, students, the career services, buildings, etc. are different. At DePaul, I actually felt like a graduate student! YES DePaul is more expensive, but you get ALL of your money back in the quality of education you receive and the quality of the JOB OPPORTUNITIES presented to you when your are done. DePaul has a fabulous career center website called Handshake. It is a platform where you will create your profile (it's quite nice), and you will be able to apply for jobs with a couple of clicks. The jobs, internships, interview schedules, etc. are updated daily!!! Employers (real employers and not TCF Bank) will be able to see your profile and reach out to you. It has happened to me many many times. The first career fair at DePaul, led me to a full time job offer with one of the Big 4 and I still had a year left. It was fantastic. There is a reason why DePaul is MUCH MUCH MUCH more known in Chicago for business than UIC. Now you can go and fight the system and take your chances at UIC, but if you are going to graduate school for Accounting and you REALLY want to put your time and money to good use ... do yourself a huge favor and go to DePaul for your MSA. You will NOT regret it! You and I can't change it, so again, in my opinion, don't make it harder on yourself in this already hard economy. Pay a little more for DePaul's MSA or MBA and get a lifetime of A LOT MORE money and a lot better opportunities!
Clearly you can tell I am quite upset with UIC, but such a poor level of education should NOT be offered to anyone. Your chances of taking you career to the next level are MUCH higher at DePaul than UIC. It is your money, your time, your effort, and your sacrifice. You decide whether you want HIGH chances of success or low chances of success. That is all that I want to say here, and I will post this in other forums because I remember how important it was to get as much of real info on these two programs as possible. People should know what the reality at UIC is. They pay for it with their hard earned money.