Today marks a year since I moved to Chicago to pursue my MBA at Booth. I remember feeling excited about this new chapter but also feeling anxious about all the unknowns. I had created a list of what I thought to be the most important things to accomplish: classes I would take, student organizations I would join, and companies I would apply to, etc… But as I reflect on my first year, I realize that it wasn’t always the activities I took part in that I remember most today, rather it’s the people I shared those experiences with. Here’s a look at a couple of my most memorable ones.
Volunteering for the Emerging Market Summit (EMS)
EMS is an annual conference that brings together professionals in business, technology, media and public policy to offer insight into recent trends and share learnings from doing business in emerging markets. On the day of the conference when I arrived at the Harper Center to support my panel, the place was brimming with excitement. My phone could not stop buzzing due to the continuous flow of messages from on the EMS Groupme, where student volunteers coordinated the day’s events and exchanged help.
The energy was infectious. I was again reminded of the values that both fuel and bind the Booth community: curiosity, teamwork, and passion. Whether you are involved in an initiative, or just strolling past the Winter Garden during lunchtime, you can always feel it. And seeing 9 student organizations in-action, collaborating to make such a huge event successful was not only inspiring but also an experience I’ll never forget.
Small group get-togethers
Booth organizes small group dinners as a way to get to know classmates, but I have found that sometimes impromptu and informal events can be just as powerful. Another memorable moment was a small gathering that was hosted by a second-year student for first years, at the beginning of the year. We got together and talked about our hometowns, life before and at Booth, concerns as well as what we looked forward to the most in the year ahead.
Now I had heard about the pay-it-forward culture back when I was applying, but in a way, I also assumed that second years would be super busy folks and have limited time to give. But they often went above and beyond what was asked, and helped in all aspects of Boothie life: from how to bid for classes strategically and pre- and post-interview pep-talks, to which events to add to your social calendar and how to get over FOMO!
Events like these helped me forge meaningful connections with my classmates, who became mentors and friends as I navigated my first year at Booth.
So as I look ahead at my second year and what I takeaway from year 1, I am updating my list, and narrowing it down to a simple goal: to create even more memorable experiences I can look back on and still smile about in 10 years’ time.