I never considered myself as an extrovert. That is, until my wife pointed out the differences between us—claiming that we are situated quite far apart on the extrovert / introvert spectrum, hence fueled by very different things. This got me thinking about the matter and its connection to the MBA.
Many argue that where an individual falls on the extrovert / introvert spectrum shapes his or her life significantly. As I reflect, I acknowledge that being an extrovert has been valuable in my MBA career switch from Cyber Security to Venture Capital, which has substantial entry barriers. I had to network heavily, send “cold call” e-mails, and have dozens of phone calls a week. While for me, this intense phase was energized and empowering, it could have felt draining for a more introverted person.
The business world is often seen as a playground for “Type A” extroverts, and I bet that many think only these types of people pursue an MBA. But, my experiences and Oma Nwabudike’s post about the introvert MBA experience prove that this is not the case with Chicago Booth. Frankly, it’s quite the opposite: Booth is proof that you must have both extroverts and introverts to create a healthy, balanced, growth-driven environment.
This was first evident to me during LEAD, when through small group dynamics, I was able to learn and appreciate different roles within a group setting (I am not going into details here to keep things surprising for next-gen Boothies ;). In this special programming, I developed social insights that stayed with me throughout my first year at Booth.
Both extroverts and introverts can make the most of their Booth Experience through the diverse programming and curriculum. You do you, absolutely no pressure. To name a few resources, the Public Speaking & Communication Group offers Storytelling workshops and Improvisation classes, and Booth Insights facilitates small groups of students to bond over deep conversations. Moreover, the flexible curriculum allows students to shape their academic journey through an array of courses that rely on class participation (Negotiations), working in small groups (Entrepreneurial Selling), or solo contributions.
What does that all mean? Chicago Booth is for everyone, as it is utterly respectful of who we are as individuals and the unique contributions we bring to the table. Neither extroverts nor introverts are pressured to change, but rather are encouraged to be enhanced.