It isn’t often that a young professional gets the chance to meet and engage in meaningful conversations with dozens of CEOs, CMOs, and senior executives, especially in a single afternoon. However, as a Booth student, myself and many of my classmates, had the opportunity to do just that, thanks to the Marketing Day Forum put on by the Kilts Center during Spring Quarter.
One of my goals when I was looking at MBA programs was to develop myself as a leader, and I chose Booth because I recognized the school’s focus on this goal as well. The indicator was that our sole mandatory class is Leadership Effectiveness and Development, better known as LEAD. Taught by second-year students, LEAD is our first class at Booth. It teaches you a range of important leadership skills, from first impressions to cross-cultural communications.
For me, what the LEAD course kick-started in my leadership development during my first quarter — Leadership Practicum truly helped round out as I finish up my second year.
As I’m wrapping up my last quarter here at Chicago Booth, my mind is running through a whirlwind of what seems like far-off memories. The drive from Colorado, first day of classes, investment banking recruiting, trips across the world, and the list goes on. Contemplating what I imagine will eventually seem like a small glimpse in time, I find myself reflecting on one aspect of this experience that I feel is illustrative of the whole.
My first year at Business School was tough. Awash with a number of competing tasks—moving to a new city, navigating the waters of recruiting, maintaining a family, nurturing lifelong friendships—it was critical that I had the right network in place to help alleviate some of the stress, so that I may successfully emerge from this experience. More often than not, I came to find that members of the African American MBA Association (AAMBAA) were more than willing to fill this gap. AAMBAA has served as more than just a professional resource, it has been my family.
After coming back to Chicago from Japan Trek 2018—the experience of a lifetime—I received one email. It said: “Dear Atsushi, We had such a wonderful time in Japan and you put in so much effort it was just wonderful and we cannot say thank you enough for all your energy. Thank you.” It was sent by the Japan Trek participants with a gift card.
I was so excited that I immediately showed it to the other Trek leaders, and realized they had also received the same message! What more could I ask for as a Trek leader?
While there were some challenges to organize the trek, it was an incredibly rewarding experience. The thank you note reminded me of what made the trip so special. Although this could be self-applauding, the beauty of the Japan Trek truly came from the diversity of experiences of the trek leaders and how well we worked together.
This week, Poets & Quants released their annual list of Best and Brightest MBAs — and a couple of our fellow Booth classmates were featured! Who are they? Jonathan Osser is a former child actor looking to pivot into biz dev in the entertainment biz, and Rodrigo Studart is in the midst of launching his own low-calorie ice cream company in Brazil called MUU.
Take a closer look at what these two Boothies are up to and find out their biggest achievements during b-school, which classmates they most admire, and what their advice is for anyone applying to Booth.