News Bureau | University of Illinois

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign logo

Article »

Economic crisis spawns new MBA scholarships at U. of I.

9/3/2009 | Jan Dennis, Business & Law Editor | 217-333-0568;

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The University of Illinois College of Business is launching two new scholarship programs to help Central Illinois residents struggling amid a deep and lingering economic downturn, officials announced Thursday.

The scholarships will provide free tuition – worth nearly $50,000 each – for a
26-month Professional MBA program with a schedule of evening classes for people who have lost jobs, work hours or career-training opportunities because of the recession.

“Many in Central Illinois are suffering because of the economy, and the College of Business wants to help by providing a pathway to graduate degrees that will open new doors and opportunities,” said Larry DeBrock, dean of the nationally ranked business school.

The college’s “Fresh Start” program will provide up to two scholarships for people whose careers have been sidetracked by layoffs, downsizing or other corporate cost-cutting moves sparked by the recession.

“Fresh Start” scholarships are available to residents across much of Central Illinois, including Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Danville, Decatur and Peoria, said Stig Lanesskog, acting associate dean of the MBA program.

Another scholarship will be awarded under the new “Community Partners” program, targeting a Champaign County resident who is currently employed, but works for a company that is unable to fund advanced professional training because of the economic crisis. Applicants also must have a record of community service.

“The ‘Fresh Start’ program is need-based, for people forced to explore new career paths because of the economy,” Lanesskog said. “The ‘Community Partners’ scholarship is for promising business leaders who normally might get tuition assistance from their employers, but not in today’s economic climate.”

Applications must be submitted by Nov. 1 through the Professional MBA Web site and submit supplemental materials here. All applicants must take the Graduate Management Admission Test.

“Fresh Start” applicants must submit a statement of two pages or less outlining how their lives have been derailed by the economy and how an MBA would boost their careers.

Applicants for the “Community Partners” scholarship must include a statement of one page or less explaining why they should receive the award. Three reference letters also are required, including one from a supervisor and one from an organization where the applicant volunteers.

Lanesskog says winners will be announced by the end of November and scholarships are effective for the semester that begins in January.

[ Email | Share ]

Editor's note: To contact Larry DeBrock, call 217-333-4553; e-mail To contact Stig Lanesskog, call 217-244-8019; e-mail

Highlights »