One part coach, one part confidence builder, one part role model.
Andrew Allen, the Gies College of Business’ director of experiential learning, was all that — and then some — to 2016 MBA grad Jacob Hoffman.
Allen “had a far greater effect on my development than he’ll ever know,” Sony PlayStation’s product manager for social experiences says from the Bay Area.
“Whatever I needed, Andrew provided. He led many students and initiatives across campus, yet always made time for me.
"He knew when to challenge me and when to support me. Under Andrew’s guidance, I gained confidence, grew skill sets and formed lasting relationships.
“At one inflection point during my time with Illinois Business Consulting, I felt like I let Andrew down. I would not have blamed him if he dismissed our relationship, but Andrew surprised me when he responded with resounding encouragement. At that moment, Andrew taught me the power of empathy and what it means to truly invest in relationships.
“Today, Andrew and I continue to cross paths. He’ll occasionally ask me to work with students, and I am always proud to be involved.
"Even as I settle into my new home away from Illinois, I still look for opportunities to work with students through local organizations. It’s safe to say that Andrew inspired my own passion to give back through experiential learning.
“To any student reading this, I would encourage you to seek out experiences beyond the classroom that align with your passions. You’re bound to stumble into some amazing relationships that will unlock your potential along the way.
“To Andrew and the many other relationships made through Illinois Business Consulting, thanks for the wonderful experience.”