Category Archives: Community

Chicago Women in Business: 2013 Conference Recap

Booth’s Chicago Women in Business (CWiB) recently held its Fall 2013 conference. CWiB is one of the largest and most active student groups on campus, and provides great programming for Booth’s women to network with one another and alumni in a variety of fields, and participate in educational programming such as golf and self-defense lessons, wine tastings with Booth faculty, and investing strategies.
To get a sense of what the conference was like, check out The Booth Experience’s interview and video with conference organizers Gigi Wong and Aditi Mehta (Class of 2014). In this edition of The Booth Experience blog, second-year students Michelle Breunig and Elizabeth Kim also offer their perspectives on what the conference meant to them.
–Matt
 
Michelle Breunig
One of the best things about being at Booth is having the chance to hear and learn from top business leaders. There are so many different opportunities –the Corporate Speaker Series, the Alumni Breakfast Series, conferences organized by the various student organizations, and more. As a first year student last year, CWiB’s annual fall conference was one of my favorite activities and was a great start to the year and the recruiting season. I was excited to attend the event again this year – and it was another great conference! The CWiB co-chairs and volunteers did an excellent job.
The theme of this year’s conference was Success Redefined – Defining Success in a Personal Way. This theme was reflected in the keynote addresses and throughout the different panels. Panel topics included the art of negotiation, networking, leadership stories, and managing career changes. Two Booth alumnae gave the keynote speeches. Paula Fasseas, ’96, Founder and Chair of PAWS Chicago, talked about starting her career in banking and bringing her business training and knowledge to PAWS in Chicago to help spread the No Kill model to shelters across the country. Valerie VanMeter (’04), Senior VP and CFO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, took her own spin on Sheryl Sandberg’s popular “Lean In” message to women. Her message was incredibly powerful and very personal!
I enjoyed learning about the different paths to success everyone has had – and the constant message of pursuing your passion. I also appreciated the candid advice – including the recommendation to take full advantage of all of the opportunities here at Booth. Definitely a great reminder to carry through my second year!
Elizabeth Kim
CWiB is a terrific resource for Booth women. Apart from the practical programming the group hosts to prepare women at Booth for internships and full-time jobs, women can also leverage CWiB to build meaningful friendships and professional networks. 
When Gigi Wong, one of the two Co-Chairs in charge of organizing the CWiB Conference, asked me to facilitate two of the panels, I was grateful for the opportunity as a second year to give back to Booth and to get more involved with the CWiB conference attendees and panelists. The panels I facilitated were called “Leadership Stories: Definition of Success” and “Moving Up and Managing Career Changes.” As I listened to the stories of the panelists, I recognized themes of flexibility, leveraging relationships, and being tenacious. Something that I learned from the panelists and observed first-hand last year was to be attentive and cordial to others. This will build goodwill with others and yourself, which will also pay dividends while at school and beyond.
About the authors:
Michelle Breunig is originally from the Milwaukee, WI area and went to the University of Wisconsin – Madison for an undergraduate degree in Accounting. She then worked for a big 4 public accounting firm. At Booth she is pursuing Concentrations in Finance, Economics, and Entrepreneurship. This past summer Michelle interned at Goldman Sachs in Private Wealth Management in the firm’s Chicago office, and will be returning full time after graduation. At Booth, she is an active member of Chicago Women in Business (CWiB), the Investment Management Group (IMG), and the Dean’s Student Admissions Committee (DSAC). In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and their dog, traveling (currently planning a 2 week trip to Italy post-graduation), and enjoying Chicago’s fabulous restaurant scene.
Elizabeth Kim is a second year at Booth and is a Co-Chair of the Management Consulting Group and the Latter-Day Saints Students Association (LDSSA) in addition to being an Admissions Fellow. She is currently pursuing concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Operations Management. This past summer, Elizabeth spent her summer at McKinsey & Company in Chicago where she will be returning full-time. Elizabeth grew up in California and attended UCLA, graduating cum laude with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in Accounting. She joined Deloitte & Touche LLP upon graduation and was an Enterprise Risk Services Manager in the accounting consultations group in the D.C. area prior to coming to Booth. Elizabeth enjoys cooking for her friends and family and exploring the city of Chicago.

Chicago Booth Random Walk 2013: Chile

Each year prior to Orientation, small groups of incoming first year Booth MBA students, led by seasoned second year MBAs, spend a week traveling on “Random Walk” trips to exotic locations and getting to know one another.  Chicago Booth Class of 2015 MBA student Caroline Lu produced this video of her Random Walk to Chile.  In addition to Chile, other Random Walk groups this year went to Fiji, Russia, UAE, Alaska, and about 20 other locations around the globe.

Enjoy!

Modern Families: Booth’s Flexible Cohort System

Chicago Booth has a cohort system which matches our independent and flexible outlook on the MBA experience.  We start off with our cohorts during orientation and our leadership development class in the first few weeks of school, but our flexible curriculum means that we have the opportunity to take the classes we want, with any of the other 1,000+ first- and second-years at Booth.
Jen Tan is a first year MBA student at Booth, and was elected by her peers as president of the Bond Cohort.  Jen is currently the only dual-degree MBA-MSW in both of her programs. Her earlier career includes unicorn hunting (“recruiting”) for the Clinton Foundation and rainmaking (“fundraising”) for Facing History and Ourselves, two non-profits headquartered in her hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. Jen is transitioning into healthcare as part of her pursuit of social justice.
Here, she shares her unique perspective on what the Booth cohort experience means to her, but before you get started, she’s just got to say that Bond is the best cohort at Booth of all time. OF. ALL. TIME.
–Matt Richman (Bond Cohort)
For the first decade of my life, I grew up in a house that contained 15 people: my two parents, three brothers, four cousins, and six aunts and uncles. In the years that have followed, the families have moved apart. But my big family, which has only gotten bigger and closer, has provided me with a lifetime of experience in building and maintaining relationships that are as deep and complex as they are diverse and time-tested.
For me, the Booth cohort experience creates that same sense of home for its individual members, much in the way that sharing a house together provides the essential bonding experience by which most families grow together. Booth students are assigned to cohorts which operate primarily during the first two months of school. Students begin orientation together as a cohort by participating in our one required course, Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD) and spending a weekend out-of-state competing against other cohorts in the Leadership Orientation Retreat (LOR), Fall Frolics, and a host of other events offering equal parts delight and aggressive competition (at least, for Bond cohort). Throughout the remainder of the MBA program, the Graduate Business Council (GBC) hosts occasional cohort competitions, trivia nights, or t-shirt days to show cohort spirit.
The Booth cohort experience is unique among business schools. At other programs, cohorts take all of their classes together for part or all of the first year, sometimes in the same assigned seats. At Booth, however, the onus to maintain the cohesion that was initiated at the beginning of the year is largely up to the cohorts themselves. Specifically, it is a responsibility of the cohort president to set the tone for the culture and to help foster the sense of community that each cohort ultimately has. For all of these reasons, I decided to run for president of my cohort, a role that I serve with joy and pride.
Much in the way that one’s family can often feel like a household that has randomly gathered together people who share very little aside from an address and, perhaps, some facial features, the Booth cohort provides students with a space to share with people who are smart, social, and passionate in an infinite combination of ways. But while your cohort is assigned to you and you to your cohort, ultimately, each person is given the choice to determine how much meaning that designation can have. It is an arrangement that provides us with the opportunity to forge deep relationships with people we might not have met otherwise, while also allowing us the freedom to hang out with other people if we choose. As one would expect at Booth, given the similar flexibility provided by the course selection process, students are trusted to learn to the best of their abilities and respected for the choices they make in doing so.
Indeed, the opportunities and challenges that are uniquely presented by the Booth cohort echo the school’s philosophy toward the community it has created: that people can find a social environment in which their individualities are respected and appreciated, and that every person feel encouraged and supported in pursuing whatever it is that makes her/him happy.
Growing up in a large family wasn’t without its challenges. As with any large group, you find variety across interests, personalities, and communication styles. But being able to grow into our individual selves and forge unique relationships with each other in the process is the thing I love most about my large family and the lives we now share, no longer in the same house but now across states and time zones.
The same is true for this school we love: your Booth cohort is the big family that will always welcome you with open arms—all you have to do is reach out.

Booth Networking in Unexpected Places

Hongtae Kim worked in investment banking in Hong Kong prior to coming to Booth. He was an undergraduate at the University of Chicago and decided to return mainly because he loved the academic atmosphere of the University of Chicago and Booth, and enjoyed the city and the Chicago Bulls. He is concentrating in Marketing, Strategy, and Entrepreneurship at Booth, and will be working at AccuRadio, an internet-radio startup based in Chicago, over the summer.


His story shows that in order to land your ideal internship, it sometimes requires patience, motivation, and a little luck—coupled with leveraging the huge, diverse, and generous Booth alumni network.  While Booth alumni are well-represented in finance, consulting, and corporate fields, the independent and entrepreneurial nature of our students and alumni means that you can find us in unexpected places.

–Matt Richman

Coming to Booth, one of the most common pieces of advice I got was to fully utilize the Booth alumni network. As an international student, I was a bit skeptical of how much I would be able to leverage the alumni network and didn’t know how I was supposed to do it. On top of that, I was looking into a music-related career path which isn’t a “traditional” post-MBA field.


While it sounds like a cliché, the Booth alumni network is everywhere and willing to help you out, and you could encounter alums in some random places.  For instance, I met Kurt Hanson, Class of 1980, in San Francisco at the SF Music Tech Summit  which is a conference for music tech startups. I had decided to fly to SF to make connections and learn about what’s going on in the industry, but I wasn’t expecting to meet any MBAs, let alone Booth alums.  Naturally, when I bumped into Kurt (by accident) at the cocktail networking session, we were both pleasantly surprised to meet someone from Booth at the event. Kurt was invited as a panelist as a veteran in the radio industry and the Founder / CEO of AccuRadio, an internet-radio start-up based in Chicago. We casually talked about Booth, our backgrounds and the conference, and the following week, Kurt invited me to visit his office in Chicago. We continued our discussion on the music tech industry over dinner.

After a couple of meetings, I asked if I could work for his company over the summer as an intern, and he was excited to have me on board. Like most start-up recruiting, there was no formal vetting or interview process. He talked about his company and his views of the industry and I expressed my strong interest in the business. I also identified a couple of areas in which I could help the company as an MBA intern. I will be working in a broad range of projects including revamping the company’s search engine marketing efforts, supporting fund raising efforts, and identifying international business opportunities. While the projects are varied, I am certain that the range of my summer experience will help my transition from banking into technology. I am very excited about the opportunity, as the company sits in the exact field I was pursuing, and I will have the autonomy to define my own projects and apply my classroom studies to my summer internship.


When it comes to networking, especially if you have a narrow target list, I think the most important thing is to be aggressive and seek out different venues, rather than relying solely on the on-campus recruiting process. My decision to fly out to San Francisco to attend a conference that fit my interest was what made the difference for me. I ended up meeting a potential mentor in the music tech industry and a Booth alum who was happy to help me out. Especially as a career switcher, having first-hand interaction with an insider helps you express your interest and make a case for yourself.

I am looking forward to my summer in Chicago, especially after going through four winters in Chicago! More importantly, I am excited to get great experiences and networking during my summer that will help me achieve my career goal of carving a niche position in the evolving music tech industry.

A-Team Perspectives

Admit Weekend is a great opportunity for admitted students to experience life as a Chicago Booth MBA. Admits learn about the Booth curriculum, tour Chicago neighborhoods, and have plenty of time to get to know prospective and current Booth MBAs. The “A-Team” is a group of volunteers who are members of the Booth Dean’s Students Admissions Committee (DSAC), and who are responsible for planning all of the weekend’s activities. Here, several A-Team members offer their perspectives on Admit Weekend.

–Matt

Tiffany Lee, International Captain

I ultimately chose not to take the 15-hour flight from Hong Kong to attend Admit Weekend here at Booth, and boy, did I regret it. Many of my fellow first years still often fondly refer to the “you-had-to-be-there-moments” of their own Admit Weekends. So, I chose to do the next best thing when I became a Booth studenthelp plan Admit Weekend and convince international admits to not make the same mistake I did. What I like about being International Co-Captain is that not only do I get to interact with potential new classmates from all over the world, but also, I am able to use my past experiences to help make the selection and transition process easier for students that are moving to the US for the first time. For example, my co-captain and I created a moving guide that is tailored for international students to answer any questions they may have, such as where to buy winter clothes and which country captains they can reach out to. We hope to see many international students at Admit Weekend and in the coming school year!

Marina Lidow and Amanda Litzenberger, Partners Captains

Working on the A-Team and planning Admit Weekend has been a great experience! Both of us attended Admit Weekend last year with our partners and were inspired by how the weekend was not only a great opportunity for us to interact with and learn about Booth, but also a wonderful way to show our partners what the next two years would really be all about. As Partner Co-Captains we help plan and execute the partner-specific programming for Admit Weekend. Through events such as panel discussions and conversations about neighborhoods, we illustrate the Booth partner experience, clarify what to expect, and answer questions about Chicago. It has been a great experience making new friends with each other and the rest of the A-Team, and also getting to know the members of the incredible partner community at Booth!

Emily Stetler, Music and Stage Captain

I had such an amazing experience when I attended Admit Weekend last year that I knew I wanted to be a part of it this year. As Music & Stage Captain, I am responsible for planning all of the music that you will hear throughout the weekend as well as the slideshows showcasing life at Booth. Given my love for music, this role enabled me to embrace my inner DJ in an effort to help create a fun, high-energy weekend that you won’t forget. Being on the A-Team has been a great opportunity to work alongside my classmates and meet the incoming class, who we are excited to have join us next year!

On behalf of the A-Team and Booth Admissions, we look forward to meeting you all this weekend!