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Charles Oyibo, Economic Development


View Charles' paper, Economic Impact Analysis: Komatsu Diesel Engine and Construction Equipment Assembly Manufacturing Plant In Peoria (co-authored with Michael D. Kaplan). The paper was first developed in the required specialization course UPP 531, Economic Development II.

What is your academic and work background? What did you do before enrolling in the MUPP program at UIC?

After completing my BS in Information and Decision Sciences in the College of Business Administration here at UIC, I went to work for Accenture as a business and systems integration consultant. In that role, I helped various Fortune 500 clients including Verizon, Humana, U.S. Steel, Highmark, A.G. Edwards, and The Hartford to implement business process improvements and large-scale systems integration.

What attracted you to planning and made you decide you wanted to be a planner?

While I have always been attuned to development issues, I became increasingly interested in the realities of uneven regional development and income and wealth disparities around the fifth or sixth year of my tenure in the private sector—perhaps I started to pay more attention to the inherent contradictions of the capitalism mode of production. I started to become particularly interested in the issues facing the developing world and distressed parts of the developed world, convinced that I could bring the problem-solving skills I had developed in the private sector to bear in solving the thorny problems of the public sector. What drew me to planning was (still is) the field’s inherently multidisciplinary nature, requiring conversance with economics, political science, geography, sociology, anthropology, history, law, as well as facility with a broad range of tools including statistics and geographic information systems.

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Why did you want to study planning at UIC?

I always had fond memories of my undergraduate experience at UIC. When I decided I wanted to study development, I also knew I wanted to do so locally (in Chicago). Of the universities and programs I considered, the planning and policy program at UIC offered the balance of theory and practice that best aligned with my interests and aspirations.

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What are some of the highlights of your time as a student--classes, projects, internships, volunteer involvement?

The highlight of my studies in the MUPP program is undoubtedly the exposure I have gained to issues of local, regional, national, and international development. My exposure to planning history and theory as well as to globalization in my first semester was an opening of vistas, and every semester since has been a building upon and extension of that experience.

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Where do you see yourself in five years?

My goal is to be involved in economic development policy at high levels (regional, national, or international), working with key public sector policymakers, private sector leaders, and financial and other relevant institutions to develop strategies for, as well as to implement plans, programs, and policies in such areas as infrastructure development, workforce development, industrial policy, and affordable housing.

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