Hispanic Heritage Month, from September 15th – October 15th, celebrates the contributions of Hispanic-Americans who have influenced American culture for centuries. In celebration, the Booth Experience Team is highlighting students Juan Pagan, ’21, and Alexandra Salgado, ’21, as they share their unique experiences. This year, we are celebrating Latinx Heritage Month at UChicago with a series of events and festivities.
My HABSA Community
When I was exploring schools to pursue an MBA, a perfectly-timed trip to Chicago for Booth’s Diversity Day solidified my decision. I met both students and alumni who shared my background and experiences, and groups such as the Hispanic American Business Student Association (HABSA), who were eager to support me in my business school journey. As I reflect on my identity and significance for my Booth experience during this Hispanic Heritage Month, I can best summarize it in one word: community.
Being Hispanic American at one of the top business schools in the world also allows me to pay it forward. I hope to be a leader for my community and in turn, support others interested in pursuing a similar path, just as I’ve been supported at Booth.
Throughout my career in education, I saw how underrepresented Latinos were in all industries despite the rapid growth of the population nationwide. Latino students represent 1 in 4 public school students; they are projected to characterize 1 in 3 by 2026. Yet Latinos are underrepresented in the professional workforce. Only 8% of CEOs and executive team members and 7% of board members identify as Latino.
As I prepare to pursue leadership opportunities and leverage my preparation from Booth in the education field, I am eager to celebrate my Hispanic heritage and create inclusive opportunities in the industry.
As a Hispanic American student, the community support from my fellow HABSA members helped me see myself as a Boothie from the very beginning. Second-years offered interview preparation and ongoing check-ins to expose me to all of the resources Booth has to offer. For those of us who do not come from families with business backgrounds, the knowledge sharing and resources offered by HABSA helps to level the playing field in very tangible ways.
I feel that I have been welcomed into a community within Booth that celebrates my identity and wants to see me succeed. And that community support is invaluable as the stressors of recruiting inevitably ramp up.
Stay tuned for a post from Alex Salgado about what Heritage month means to her. More information about Hispanic Heritage Month at UChicago can be found at: voices.uchicago.edu/hispanicheritagemonth/events/