Category Archives: Leadership

Booth Hits the Slopes: The Booth Ski Trip in Photos

Brandon Jones is a first-year student at Chicago Booth. Prior to Booth, he worked as a project manager for construction firms in Chicago and Los Angeles. Outside of school, Brandon is an avid snowboarder and diehard USC Trojan fan. At Booth, he is a member of the Management Consulting Group, Giving Something Back, Dean’s Student Admissions Committee, and is a Dean’s Student and Alumni Representative.

He recently returned from the Booth Ski and Snowboard Club annual trip. It is a fun opportunity for Booth students to hang out and let loose after finals. As Brandon’s photo essay shows, the trip is not just about skiing; it’s also filled with themed parties and great bonding experiences for first- and second-year classmates. Enjoy his pictures!
–Matt

It’s Friday evening and I just turned in my last final. The first quarter of school at Chicago Booth is officially done, but it’s not time to celebrate yet. I head home, grab a quick dinner with my wife and pack up for the Ski and Snowboard Club trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. After a 2 hour nap, I manage to pour myself in a cab with two second years and we’re off for our 6:30am flight.

By 9pm, 253 Boothies and partners are checked in to The Lodge at Steamboat and headed to one of the slopeside restaurants for appetizers and much-needed libations. I head back to the condo relatively early to catch up on sleep so I’m ready to hit the hill early.

My roommates and I were more tired than we expected. After sleeping in, we scramble up some eggs and bacon and finally get to the gondola by mid-morning. It appears a few of our classmates have already left their mark in a deep snowbank. It’s going to be a great day.

After a solid first day of skiing and snowboarding, we change into our most radical attire for an 80’s-themed après ski happy hour hosted by the Ski and Snowboard Club. From the photo, you can see that rock star Axl Rose (me), several members of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” USA Olympic hockey team are here, and a few random 80s people.

After a quick dip in the hot tub, we head back to the condo to transform into angels and demons for the Heaven and Hell rave, because the only thing better than a themed party to celebrate the first day of skiing is two themed parties in one night. Rumors have been circulating that a special musical guest might be at the rave, but no one was saying who. Halfway through the night, The White Panda appears and Steamboat is temporarily transformed into an EDM mega-show (at least for the Boothies).

The next day of skiing and riding is gorgeous. We manage to track down some hidden powder stashes in the hike-to-ski double black diamond chutes on Steamboat’s perimeter. Our legs are definitely feeling the gym days we skipped during the last two weeks of class and recruiting.

Of course, not everyone on the trip is a skier or snowboarder. Quite a few people just came along to hang out with friends. A few of these folks discover that Steamboat offers bumper cars on ice and head over to the rink to take out some post-finals aggression on one another. Others go for an adrenaline-packed snowmobile ride or an idyllic snowshoe tour.

Three more days of skiing are punctuated by more après ski events, including a costume-mandatory flip cup tournament, where the Second Year Goths prevail over the First Year Onesie Directions, a pub crawl, a visit to the local hot springs, and an impromptu late-night grilled cheese bake-off. The week culminates with the Ski Bum Prom at Thunderhead Lodge atop the gondola. Everyone puts on their best mountain formal wear for a sit-down dinner before showing off their moves on the dance floor.

It’s finally time to pack up and head home for the holidays. Looking back at the last 6 days and nights makes me realize how fortunate I am for the opportunity to be at Chicago Booth and for the amazing friendships I’ve developed already. Finding a group of people with wildly different backgrounds that can learn from each other in class, support each other during recruiting, and travel across the country to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, and raise a glass together is what defines the Booth Experience for me. I can’t wait to see what the next year and a half brings.

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.

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.

The Practice of Leadership in Business

Prospective students will often ask current students, “What is your favorite course at Booth?” It can be difficult to pick just one! This week, Elizabeth Bozek tells us a bit more about one of her favorite classes at Booth thus far, The Practice of Leadership in Business.

One of the questions prospective Chicago Booth students and those recently admitted to the MBA program often ask me is “What is your favorite class so far?” Although I have only been at school for about a quarter and a half, I already have a strong opinion. It may seem a bit funny for a student who is intending to concentrate in finance, but I have actually been enjoying a more qualitative class. The course that I am enjoying most is called The Practice of Leadership in Business, taught by Professor Linda Ginzel. On day one, Professor Ginzel was very upfront with the fact that this course would not be like most of the other classes at Chicago Booth. The class is intended to be abstract – discussions focus around ideas and methods – and there are no right answers or solutions to the topics we cover. Professor Ginzel warned us that it takes a very particular approach in this class to succeed, and that the goal of the course wasn’t so much to teach a particular subject, but to become wiser by turning insights into action for now and in the future.

Continue reading The Practice of Leadership in Business

The Importance of Leadership Opportunities at Booth

In my first two posts I wrote about the diverse academic and professional opportunities available to Booth students and discussed the work of the Graduate Business Council (GBC), Booth’s student government. In this post I explore the long-term professional value of leadership positions.

Continue reading The Importance of Leadership Opportunities at Booth