Woman working at a laptop in a coffee shop

Leading-edge programs delivered online or in-person

Our commitment to developing and providing transformative educational experiences does not stop with a degree. The changing world of business requires leaders who continually evolve to meet new challenges. Professional and Executive Education at Gies College of Business provides continuing education that empowers senior executives, managers, and all lifelong learners to achieve their potential.

We offer certificates, noncredit workshops, and digital badges for individual learners as well as custom solutions for enterprise partners. 

Online Courses, Certificates, and Badges

Not every learner wants to earn a degree. Some are looking to upskill or reskill; others want to pursue noncredit courses as a first step toward earning more advanced credentials. We have the online learning expertise and infrastructure to serve these lifelong learners with professional and executive education. Our stackable options provide direct access to Gies online content and allow all learners to choose their point of entry and their path on the continuum, from skill development to degrees. This flexible, stackable structure makes a Gies education accessible for all lifelong learners.

Data Analytics and Visualization for Accounting Professionals

Data Analytics and Visualization for Accounting Professionals

Designed to help professionals develop an analytical mindset and prepare them to use data analytic programming languages like Python and R.

Skills iCademies

Skills iCademy: Business Analytics

The Business Analytics iCademy provides foundational and advanced resources to help ease the burden you face when learning data analytics.

Earn CPE Credits

CPE Credits

CPAs who are licensed in Illinois and any states who have reciprocal agreements are eligible to earn CPE credits with our courses.

Enterprise Partnership Programs

Our Enterprise Partners program offers employers the opportunity to advance their workforce through customized online and on-site educational experiences. For employees, the program helps accelerate their careers. For employers, it advances the organization. We invite you to partner with us to access customized, high-quality, and engaging content to cultivate your employees’ business skills. From information about the fundamentals of business to disruptive technologies, we provide the global workforce access to the highest quality, stackable, in-demand content.

"Developing the program with Gies as the partner was a very strong message of how serious we were about [internal promotion]."

Dr. James C. Leonard
MD President, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
The Carle Foundation

Gies News and Events

23-year veteran Chicago-area cop returns to finish finance degree

Jun 3, 2021, 08:27 AM by Aaron Bennett
Chicago-area detective Lou Hayes, a 23-year veteran of the police department, has returned to Gies to finish his undergraduate degree in finance more than 25 years after he started.

The ease with which his second and fourth graders adapted to online learning during the pandemic has inspired a Chicago-area police detective to finish up his undergraduate degree in finance at Gies College of Business more than 25 years after he started.

“I’ve always fallen back on economic principles when interviewing suspects, without using business terms like supply and demand or incentives,” said Lou Hayes, Detective Sergeant and Major Crimes Unit Investigator. “If you want suspects and witnesses to talk to you, you have to diminish their fears and accentuate their motivations like you would any customer.”

Lou HayesHayes was just one semester shy of graduating from Gies College of Business when he traded the Quad for the Police Academy. Between his junior and senior year, he started the six- to nine-month process of applying for a job in a suburban Chicago police department. He scored well on the entrance exam, accepted the position, and finished his fall semester a handful of credits short of a degree.

“My dad was a career officer and my uncle spent time policing as well. They weren't doing the typical desk job I’d have as a finance major. I enjoyed listening to their stories and knew they felt like they were making a difference. That excited me,” said Hayes, who initially headed to the University of Illinois as an engineering major. “STEM was easy for me, but I realized a business degree was more in line with my personal goals. I wanted the benefits of financial literacy and a degree in something other than criminal justice.”

With his education on hold, Hayes moved up the ranks. Within four years, he was promoted to detective, making him one of the youngest on the force. He was assigned to the SWAT Team and rose to become a trainer and supervisor. He was promoted to sergeant in 2017 and is currently the commanding officer of the Investigations Division. 

“My business education’s biggest influence has been looking at things from a systems perspective, instead of isolated, linear cause and effect,” said Hayes “I teach my team to consider multiple causes and multiple effects – many of which are going to be unpredictable – and how to make decisions in an environment where something very small ends up having a very large impact.”

For the past 10 years Hayes has also partnered with fellow off-duty police officers to teach decision-making to SWAT teams, intelligence analysts, detectives, and supervisors through a training company he developed called The Illinois Model™.  He recently completed a large program for the New York City Police Department that focused on teaching officers how to develop better critical- and adaptive-thinking skills.

Now, 23 years into his law enforcement career and nearing retirement eligibility, Hayes has begun to think about what’s next.

“This unfinished degree has been quietly looming over my head for over two decades. A lot of factors are aligned now, including work, family, and personal commitments. It feels like the perfect time to get back to college,” said Hayes.

“Part of my motivation to return to school was seeing how engaged my kids were with online learning during the last school year. I decided it’s time for dad to step up and do it, too,” he said.

Hayes reached out to Gies, working with an academic advisor to determine if he could complete his remaining coursework remotely. He took his first course this spring and is about to start another this summer. Because of graduation requirements that have been added since 1998, he has eight more courses to complete.

“I've been really impressed with the students in my class. They are so engaged and driven, having started clubs for machine learning and video game design in their high schools,” said Hayes, who continues to work 8- to 10-hour shifts.

Hayes said he returned to Gies because of the quality of the education and its reputation for job placement. He hopes to use his work background to help some of his younger classmates better address disagreement, debate, and conflict during online instruction.

“In my unit I make sure I create an environment that breeds dissent. There has to be democratized decision-making, not just following what I said because I'm the boss. In policing, we call it ‘red teaming’ –  being critical of the ideas and your own assumptions in a productive way. not attacking the person.”

Hayes jokingly said his mom will soon have to find something besides his unfinished education to bug him about. “She continually reminds me how close I’ve been to this degree. It will be a huge relief to finish it. To do so at Illinois, where I started, will be quite special to me.”

After he graduates, Hayes hopes to take the critical thinking he’s learned from his law enforcement career and apply it to his work in the financial sector.

“The bulk of my case load now is based on Chicago street gang crime, which has shifted from predominantly street drug sales to highly sophisticated identity theft, auto theft, and financial crimes,” he said. “I hope to apply and transfer my knowledge of criminal patterns and social network analysis to make sense of business data and financial trends in ways that haven’t been seen before.”