An MBA was never a part of my career plan. Three years ago, I was at one of the biggest ad agencies, running social media for a global automobile company but felt that I wasn’t making the kind of impact that I’d hoped for. When I finally decided to do an MBA, I was sweating buckets because I felt there were many things going against me – I was past the median MBA age and a non-traditional applicant. I’d been out of school for nearly 5 years so I honestly wasn’t sure that I could hack homework, studying or student life again. The research didn’t help either – there were hardly any non-traditional profiles out there.
So when I got into Booth, I wondered if it was pure luck. I’d heard how it was the perfect school for bankers, which I didn’t want to do. given the school’s academic rigor, contemplated if I shouldn’t come here. Today, I am so thankful that I didn’t listen to my inner critic. At Booth, I found a renewed sense of vigor about making my mark on the world. While I’ve grown professionally, what was completely unexpected was the personal growth I’ve experienced.
Through classes, the student life and extra-curricular activities, I developed an insightful understanding of how to work with different personalities. I’m so amazed at the friendships I’ve had – some right from my Random Walk days are still going strong! A welcome bonus was familiarizing myself with the strengths and weaknesses of my best asset – me.
There have been other, more subtle learnings as well. For example, traditional thinking is that the harder you work, the more rewards you reap. A profound learning has been that sometimes things don’t work out even if you put in your best efforts. The extreme A-type in me has struggled against this for 30 years and finally come to accept that (reluctantly) during my time here at Chicago. On the flip side, Booth has provided a safe space for me to push my boundaries
Booth has helped silenced that critical voice and helped me believe that I didn’t get in on luck. It’s a strong reason why I chose to write for the Booth Experience. I wanted to champion a school that has shaped me and believed that a non-traditional student like me was as good as any traditional applicant out there, if not better. If my experiences give even one non-traditional applicant the confidence to apply for their MBA, I’ll take that as a win.
Here’s my last shameless plug for the school I’ve loved since First Day – definitely consider Chicago Booth – when you’re a student here, they have your back!