Blog Written by ACE Ambassador: Mike Azzaro
Coming to school my freshman year I had no idea what I wanted to major in. At first I thought maybe I wanted to get my degree in Biology or Anthropology but quickly changed as I wrapped up my first year on campus. It wasn’t until halfway through my sophomore year that I transferred from DGS into ACE with a concentration in Markets and Management. After that, there was no looking back for me. Taking both the required and optional classes and getting to know the faculty that lead them have been extremely rewarding. What I have enjoyed the most, however, is the emphasis that ACE places on experiential learning.
While in ACE I have had many opportunities to learn outside the classroom and apply course concepts to the real world. The past two summers, I had internships with companies in the food and agriculture industry. In addition, my junior year I traveled to Sierra Leone to research with a group of fellow students during our winter break. My most recent opportunity that ACE provided me was this past February when I represented the University of Illinois in a national case competition held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Three other students and I were selected to work on a case competition sponsored by the National Grocers Association and were flown out to Vegas to meet with industry professionals and show off how much we learned. ACE has helped me inside and outside the classroom to become a professional. With networking opportunities such as the one I had in Vegas to meet with people from the industry have been invaluable. We ended up placing in the top six at the competition and gained a lot of experience.