Military MBAs at Booth

Prior to b-school, Shaliya Dehipawala was a Field Artillery Officer in the United States Army. Knowing that he was making a big transition from the military to business, Shaliya wanted to be challenged in the classroom and to have a tight-knit community he could count on. The responsiveness of Booth’s Armed Forces Group during the MBA admissions process signaled to Shaliya that it would also be a supportive environment as a student. This proved to be true! Read on to hear more from Shaliya’s experience at Booth.

What’d you do in the military?
I was a Field Artillery Officer in the United States Army. Like most Veterans, I led teams across several different functions: logistics, operations, planning, etc. 

How did AFG support you during the MBA application process?
I had reached out to Booth’s Armed Forces Group (AFG) during the admissions process and was struck by how responsive they were. Each time I reached out, I had a response within 24 hours. Now that I’m at Booth and understand how busy students are, I realize how much effort it takes to make that happen and think it is indicative of our culture of helping veterans. 

Why’d you choose Booth?
Two things really stood out to me. One was the academic environment. Knowing that I was making a big transition from the military to business, I wanted to be challenged in the classroom. Second was the AFG student group. I knew business school was going to be tough and I wanted to know that I would have group I could count on. The AFG’s responsiveness during the admissions process signaled that it would be a supportive environment as a student. This proved to be true!

How have you focused your academic experience at Booth?
Booth’s flexible curriculum has been great for me. I have a diverse set of interests and the ability to choose my classes allowed me to take multiple courses in finance, economics, and marketing all in my first year.

What student groups and activities are you involved with?
I’m on the student leadership of UChicago’s Institute of Politics. At Booth, I’ve enjoyed participated in case competitions, like the Aspen Institute Business Society Case Competition and the Net Impact Case Competition. I’m also an active member of several clubs.

How would you describe the community/culture at Booth?
The pay it forward culture is huge here! I’ve learned a lot from my fellow classmates. Many of them came to Booth from the industries I was considering. Getting their perspective was valuable in making an informed career decision. Also, the alumni support, particularly AFG alums, in the recruiting process has been tremendously valuable.

What have you enjoyed about Booth so far?
The thing I’ve enjoyed most about Booth is the freedom to choose. Whether it is the course offerings, programming put on by the school, or events hosted by student groups, there is a tremendous menu of opportunities here. For me, it has simply been a matter of choosing which set of great opportunities to pursue with my free time.  

What do you want to do post-MBA?
In the long-term, I’m interested in working at the intersection of technology and government. As the pace of innovation increases, I would love to help the government improve the way it acquires and develops technologies so that it could keep up.

For more student stories from military MBAs at Booth, read our Q&A with Matt Johnson who was an Assault Amphibian Officer in the Marine Corps prior to coming to b school.

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