Let Me Be Me

You don’t conform to Booth. It conforms to you.

At a recent Booth LIVE LPF, a prospective student asked me a question, “How did you know Booth was the right place for you?”

Three years ago I attended a student-hosted event in Boston, where I met some amazing second-year students. We had a great conversation, and when I mentioned that my background was in advertising, one of them offered to connect me to another second-year with a similar background. This Boothie chatted with me at length about my background, what I was trying to get out of the MBA, and how the Chicago Booth MBA fit in.

I thought, “If this is how nice they are before I’ve even been admitted, I wonder what it would be like when (okay fine, if) I am?”

As a non-traditional student, I knew I didn’t fit the business mold. I was worried that I’d have to pretend to be someone I’m not in order to be taken seriously. With classes, extracurriculars, and recruiting, sometimes 24 hours in a day aren’t enough to get everything done – so I’d have to keep up appearances 24/7 for 2 years straight?

Thankfully, I’ve found I can be my authentic self at Booth. I also like to humor myself as being more than one-dimensional, so the fact that Booth manages to accommodate ALL sides of me is rather amazing. There’s the creative me – who loves dancing and writing (hence this blog). There’s the academic me – one who likes to read cases and argue her viewpoints in class. Finally, there’s the professional me – although it’s one I’m still figuring out, Booth has given me the opportunities to understand just that.

Booth has a diverse student population so I’ve been fortunate to have many groups of friends with shared interests – travelers, similar career trajectories, foodies, winos, Catan-lovers, and more. (Side note: Clubs do a really great job of giving you value for your membership dues, but make sure to budget for them!)

My background is in marketing but I was very keen to gain exposure beyond this function. At Booth, I felt like I could succeed even if I took ZERO marketing classes. In fact, almost a year in, I have taken only one class that counts towards the marketing concentration. Instead I have immersed myself in finance, venture capital, entrepreneurship – sampling a little bit of everything on Booth’s flexible curriculum buffet.

Mostly because, why not?

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