Over the past several years, Booth has invested significantly in many areas of concentration outside of the traditional finance field. The Kilts Center for Marketing is one of the great beneficiaries of that effort. In addition to sponsoring research and strengthening the marketing curriculum, Kilts invites top industry leaders to campus to share their experience with Booth students firsthand. Cognizant of the growing interest in the technology industry, the Kilts Center for Marketing invited an industry powerhouse that epitomizes marketing success and leadership in the technology industry: Gary Briggs, the Chief Marketing Officer at Facebook.
One of the major draws to Booth for me was its structured program that would allow me to work on my “soft” skills (or as Booth’s Leadership Development office calls them, “action” skills), like teamwork, public speaking, and leadership. The Leadership, Effectiveness And Development (LEAD) program at the beginning of my first year allowed me to do just that: I had a chance to study how my personality affects my leadership style, understand the default role I tend to play within a team, and practice giving a persuasive speech to my classmates.
These skills and insights were immensely valuable and came into play for me numerous times throughout my first year and my summer internship. So I decided that being a leadership facilitator in my second year would be a perfect way for me to “pay it forward,” while continuing to work on my own leadership skills.
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.
Coming from a non-traditional background of majoring in biomedical engineering and working as a software developer, I have to admit that I was nervous about coming to business school. Not only did I have a lot to learn in the classroom (since I had only taken one business course during my entire undergraduate experience), but I also had a lot to learn outside the classroom when it came to management and leadership styles. The flexible curriculum at Booth really helped me brush up on my business skills for the former, but Leadership Exploration and Development (LEAD) was what really helped me excel at the latter.
Decision making is a vital prelude to any business transaction or strategy execution.
My two years at Booth have provided me tremendous resources to learn not just from the best faculty but also from the best leaders in industry. And who better to learn from when it comes to decision making than from the people who deal with it every instance of every day –- the CEO alums of Booth.
As a part of the Road to CEO speaker series, I got the opportunity to interact with one of the most powerful people from the energy sector, John S. Watson, CEO of Chevron. Make or break decisions involving billions of dollars, managing relations with political heavyweights, and in spite of all that, staying level-headed in an industry that is literally ‘volatile’ at all times, were just a few of the topics covered.