In this second installment of our Booth through the decades series, we speak with Earl Van Zyl, ’07, who works in investment management in South Africa. Earl chose to pursue his MBA despite the observed differences in educational expectations between South Africa and the US. Whilst the chartered accounting qualification is a more popular and recognized post-graduate degree in his home country, Earl saw a unique need for and opportunity in pursuing the Booth MBA: here is his take on how his experience stands out from the rest.
Have you ever wondered what Booth was like 10 or 20 years ago? How the student experience has changed and which elements of the Booth experience still stand true today? No matter where you are in the world?
In this series, we speak to three African alums from the classes of 1997, 2007, and 2017 to trace back their journeys and learn how the student experience here at Booth has evolved through the decades. We’ll also see what the Booth MBA has meant to their careers and to furthering growth in various countries in Africa.
In this first blog post, Richard A. Osei, ‘97, who currently works in Venture Capital and Private Equity in Accra, Ghana, talks about his motivation to attend Booth, how a leadership course with Harry Davis continues to be instrumental today, and growing the Booth brand in Ghana.
One of the things you realize as soon as you get to Booth is the how much the flexible curriculum differentiates your MBA experience—not only from other schools, but from one student to the next. When looking around the classroom, no one is there for the exact same reason as you because everyone has a distinct motivation for why that course is important to their specific MBA plan. But the flexibility actually goes way beyond just being able to build out your coursework however you want. I remember reading an article a couple years ago by Kurt Ahlm, the Associate Dean of Full-Time Admissions at Booth, about the real impact of Booth’s flexibility. Thought it might be of interest, especially as people have some extra time around the holidays to dig deep into the distinguishing factors of what makes Booth such an exceptional place to get your MBA.
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.