Ahead of NCAA Tournament, Gies Business junior relishes entire experience
Being a student-athlete isn’t easy. Just ask Jackie Quade.
“It’s a lot. It’s very busy, and there are not very many days off,” Quade said.
Now imagine being a student-athlete at one of the top business schools in the country while also serving as a leader for one of the nation’s elite volleyball programs.
“If we don’t have volleyball, I’m doing school or vice versa. But it’s a lot of fun, and all really great opportunities, so just taking those opportunities and running with them has been exciting for me,” she said.
Quade seems to make the most of every opportunity. The 6-foot-2 junior outside hitter is a starter—and one of the most reliable players—for one of nation’s best volleyball teams. She has helped lead Illinois to a 28-3 record and a No. 3 national seed in the 2018 NCAA Division I Volleyball Championships, and her head coach isn’t surprised she carries that success into the classroom.
“She’s playing one of the toughest positions on the court,” said head coach Chris Tamas. “It’s very hard physically and mentally. The fact that she is doing that, while also excelling in one of the tougher Colleges here at Illinois—it’s awesome to have someone like that.”
The junior from Fort Wayne, Indiana, admits she didn’t always know she wanted to study business, but she said she was inspired to follow in her father’s footsteps. Rick Quade is the president at Q3 Business Technology Corporation, a third party administrator for insurance benefits.
“I was very undecided, so I thought I might as well apply to Gies College of Business,” she said. “I got in, and I really enjoy a lot of my classes, and that’s encouraged me to continue with business.”
Quade has done more than just “continue” with business; she has excelled. Quade was named Academic All-Big Ten her sophomore year.
“It’s definitely a huge honor just to be a part of Gies College of Business,” said Quade. “It has a great reputation around campus and across the country. It’s exciting. All of my professors are top notch, so that’s been cool to learn from them.”
One of those professors who has made an impact on Quade is Associate Professor of Business Administration Tiffany White. Quade is taking White’s Marketing Communications course.
“We’re doing a branding proposal for a company, which I think is very exciting. It’s a lot of work, but it’s really fun work. I think my group has really enjoyed that quite a bit.”
Quade has enjoyed it so much that she’s convinced she has a future in marketing – potentially either branding or sports marketing.
“Marketing is a pretty creative major, and it’s broad,” said Quade. “I think it’s the perfect major for someone who likes business, but also allows for a good variety of career choices.”
No matter what she chooses, her coach knows she’ll be successful.
“We demand a lot, both academically and athletically,” Tamas said. “Jackie responds to every challenge we give to her. She works hard and gives her best every day.”