More than a finance school

I get it okay – between the rockstar Economics professors and Finance gurus walking around these halls – it can be easy to think that Booth is a haven for the quant-inclined. And I won’t lie to you, it is. Notwithstanding the explosion in applications for big data, Booth’s analytical foundation has offered a great springboard for many students who are interested in careers outside of finance as well. Let them tell you in their own words:

Ritika Singh Degwekar (RSD)
Undergrad major: Economics
Concentrations at Booth: Marketing, Economics
Full-time role: Marketing at Ecolab

Madeline King (MK)
Undergrad major: Anthropology
Concentrations at Booth: Entrepreneurship, Economics
Internship: Strategic Planning Fellow, Education Pioneers

Emma Rotenberg (ER)
Undergrad major: Art History
Concentrations at Booth: Marketing, Statistics
Full-time role: MBA Leadership Training Program at H&M

TBE: Why did you pick your chosen career?
MK: I’m inspired to work in K-12 education due to the opportunities my own education has afforded me. I want every student in this country to have a high-quality, engaging learning experience. As a business person, it’s important for me to contribute my skill set towards a social mission so that we can accomplish big things in an efficient, data-driven manner.

ER: I knew going into business school that my top priority was finding an industry and a career that was right for me, even if it wasn’t the easiest path. I structured my time at Booth around that goal, and spent a lot of time networking and recruiting (more than most of my classmates).  While it was stressful at the time, it was worth it. I love working at H&M, I love the industry, and I love the company values. The industry is fast moving, constantly changing, and entrepreneurial. It is also extremely relatable, and I love working in an industry in which I had an existing passion. Retail also allows you to working in a field that mixes the creative with the quantitative, which is exactly what I was looking for.

TBE: So, let me ask the obvious question – Why Booth?
ER: I studied visual art and art history in undergrad, so I wanted a business school that had a quantitative focus. I was also looking for a flexible curriculum that would allow me to focus on the classes and develop the skills I needed for my career.

MK: I felt at home at Booth, in terms of it being so welcoming to non-traditional backgrounds. I think the analytical spirit of the school as a whole lends itself equally well to entrepreneurial and social impact-minded pursuits.

RSD: The academic faculty and class is full of rockstars! The flexibility of curriculum and plethora of world class opportunities to explore career interests appealed to me.

TBE: Which classes have been the most relevant to helping you get a head start?
RSD: The lab courses at Booth are a fantastic opportunity to experience a real life consulting project. The nature of consulting offered in the courses varies from strategy consulting, behavioral economics consulting, marketing consulting and so on.  For exmaple, In one of my lab classes I worked for a prominent aviation industry client to help them plan a change in their growth strategy which would significantly impact their future standing in the industry.  In my current lab class I am working with a global food and beverage company to help them identity new product innovation opportunities in the US.
Personally I found the lab courses to be fun and challenging. It is an experiential class making students apply the principles learnt in a more tangible manner. It serves to be a great exercise in team-building, time-management and client engagement because the projects are intensely packed in a 10-week schedule.

ER: I’m in a rotational program now, so different classes have proved critical at different times, depending on the role! Pricing Strategies with Professor Dube has been extremely useful in my Online Merchandizing rotation. Taking Cost Analysis and Internal Controls with Professor Gallemore really prepared me for my role in the Controlling department.

TBE: How did you go about finding your current internship/full-time role?
RSD: There are tons of resources at Booth – the alumni directory, the Corporate Networking Nights, Career Coaches, and Kilts Center events were very helpful in my job search. Career Services here are especially robust – they guided me on how to find out and understand the expectations around roles and responsibilities at different firms. They also helped me navigate offer negotiations with firms.

MK: Networking is incredibly important for a career in social impact, and I took every opportunity to meet people and learn more about the industry. In particular, I would highlight the Social Enterprise Initiative, the alumni network, Education Pioneers, and many different student club-organized events, such as panels and lunch and learns.

ER: Getting into an industry that doesn’t typically hire MBAs is difficult. Often times you are competing with a lot of people for one open position. Staying motivated to keep pushing for what you want is the only way it is going to happen. Career services was a real support for me, Jody was my coach! They helped me set benchmarks for myself so that I would stay motivated and on track throughout the year. The Retail & Luxury Club was critical to my job search and success. If you are interested in the field, being a part of that club and going on the Retail Trek is key. I developed a lot of connections that led to interviews, plus it is a great signal to companies that you are devoted to that career path. Stay focused on what you want to do and share your goals with everyone you meet, and good things will follow!

Leave a Reply