First Second Year Duty: Leading a Random Walk

As an incoming first year, I went on a Random Walk to Vietnam—it was by far the best decision I made since coming to Booth. I got to know 15 amazing people from all over the world, share unforgettable experiences, and build lasting relationships. A large contributing factor to the success of my Random Walk was my amazing trip leader team. As a second year, I knew I wanted to pay it forward and do the same for the next incoming class. I got together with three of my classmates to help plan and execute (hopefully) the best Random Walk ever – this time to Iceland!

Introducing the 2018 Random Walk Iceland Leaders:

Leon: I’m writing this post running up a glacier, so I’m a tad out of breath! Before coming on my Random Walk, I was doing investment banking at J.P. Morgan in New York. Originally, I’m from Panama City Beach, Florida. My first year, I did the Mystery Random Walk, which meant I didn’t know where I was going until I arrived at the airport.

Miguel: I’m originally from Aguascalientes, Mexico, and lived in Europe for almost 7 years before coming to Booth. I interned at A.T. Kearney for the summer, and I am also working on my own venture, a craft beer company.

Sukriti: Originally from India, I was raised in South Africa and moved to Iowa in 2001. I have a background in finance and accounting, and I worked as a consultant before Booth.

Hind: It’s a bit chilly in Iceland (though nothing compared to those Chicago winters)! After a pretty tough summer of a demanding internship in private equity, I was so excited to meet my Random Walk first years, travel, and explore Iceland!

Why lead a Random Walk?

Leon: My Random Walk experience was the best introduction to business school I could have asked for. Meeting a group of strangers and traveling to another country created bonds that lasted through my first year and remain today. I wanted the opportunity to be one of the first people to introduce a new group of first years to Booth and be a role model like my leaders were.

Hind: My Random Walk leaders last year were amazing and turned out to be not only mentors but also friends of mine. As an incoming first year, I was nervous and excited about starting school. I had so many questions and didn’t want to miss out on anything. My trip leaders were there to calm my nerves and make sure I enjoyed my Random Walk trip. They had been through the same thing the prior year and knew exactly how I felt. I’m so grateful to my Random Walk trip leaders, and in the spirit of paying it forward, I wanted to provide the same to the next class.

What has been the best part of the trip?

Miguel: Hiking on a glacier and enjoying hour-long conversations with the group. It’s amazing how diverse our group is, as well as how much I’ve learned from everyone.

Sukriti: My favorite part of Random Walk is getting together a band of mostly strangers and watching friendships blossom.  I am so proud of the people on my trip — taking risks, putting themselves well outside of their comfort zones, and gaining support and encouragement from their classmates — it has been a humbling and inspiring transformation to watch.

What surprised you the most on this trip?

Leon: The scenery in Iceland is stunning. Dramatic waterfalls, volcanoes, and glaciers are the norm here.

Hind: I was not expecting to learn so much about Iceland, but I’m glad I did. The country is tiny with less than 350,000 inhabitants, but they make up for it in their heart and spirit!

Any advice to those considering going on a Random Walk as a first year or leading a Random Walk as a second year?

Leon: First, sign up and do it. Second, when you feel like going to sleep, don’t. You can sleep once it’s over!

Miguel: This is the best introduction to life at Booth. Don’t think about it, do it.

Sukriti: For future Random Walk leaders: it’s up to you to make sure that everyone feels safe and supported. Make sure you make time to check in with people to see how they’re doing. For future first years: my first piece of advice is to do it. It is a huge investment, but to date, some of my closest friends in b-school have been people I met on Random Walk. No matter what trip you take, you cannot replace the feeling of walking into school for the first time and knowing you have a tribe that has your back (or has saved you a seat).

Hind: Do it, definitely do it.

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