Worldwide Booth Night: A Country Captain’s Perspective

On September 14, the Chicago Booth community came together in 100+ cities around the world for a celebration of school pride and the values that make Booth so unique. In case you are not familiar, this global mega-event is a school tradition that stretches from Austin, TX to Zurich, Switzerland on a single evening of events and fun called Worldwide Booth Night.

Tel Aviv, my hometown in Israel, also hosted a Worldwide Booth Night this year. Oh, what a night it was. Dozens of accomplished Israeli Booth alumni enjoyed dinner, networking, and lectures by key Israeli figures.

Among our distinguished speakers, we had Chicago Booth Professor Guy Rolnik, Start-Up Nation Central CEO Eugene Kandel (MBA ’87 and PhD from UChicago), and Itay Gat from Mobileye, the biggest Israeli startup success story to date. Even if you are not Israeli, you can imagine that this gathering was a big deal for our community.

While I could go on and on in describing every aspect of Tel Aviv’s amazing Worldwide Booth Night, I actually want to focus on what I learned about Booth working on this project as a Country Captain. Just as an FYI, Country Captains at Booth are ambassadors serving as a gateway from Booth to prospective students in international communities. Since Israel is a small country of 8 million citizens, my group of six Country Captains decided to focus also on the alumni community, and with the help of faculty, was active in putting the Worldwide Booth Night together. While working on this project, I experienced a few “Eureka!” moments. Here they are:

• “Student-led” in not an empty slogan: Before arriving to Booth, I knew that the school was about empowering students to carve their own paths and take on leadership opportunities that shape the surrounding ecosystem. This was very much evident in the fact that no one at Booth restricted my team to a pre-assigned definition of the Country Captain role, like focusing on prospective students only. Quite the contrary: We received a lot of support from the school that encouraged us to define how we could produce the most meaning for our local community.

• Booth cares worldwide: On top of the Country Captains, many Booth officials were active in bringing the event to life. To name a few, Professor Rolnik was monumental in event strategy and on-the-ground execution; Professor Dennis Carlton came all the way from Chicago to show his continued support in the Israeli Booth community; and Booth orchestrated and sent two representatives from London’s campus to the event. To see how invested Booth is in a small country like Israel was touching and showed the depth of connection the school has with its local alumni communities.

• Booth MBA can take you anywhere: When us Country Captains were reaching out to Israeli alumni as the event neared, we got to witness first-hand how diverse the post-MBA paths of Boothies are. I was amazed by the wide array of locations from which alumni were responding, and by their awe-inspiring positions. From managing startups in the Bay Area to investing in Asia, it’s clear that the Booth MBA really takes you places.

On top of all of these revelations, the Worldwide Booth Night in Israel taught me how ambitious yet collaborative the school spirit is. With an approach of “the sky is the limit,” many Booth forces came together to achieve one goal—and one giant cross-continental event! To me, this spirit is one of the pillars of my personal Booth experience.

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