Tag Archives: Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship

Leadership Spotlight on Michael Wright (MBA ’20), PE Conference Co-Chair

The Booth Experience connected with Michael Wright (MBA ’20), one of the two Private Equity Conference Co-Chairs, to hear about his experiences planning and running the conference.

TBE: This conference is a tremendous undertaking and one of the largest events that any student group hosts. What was the overall planning process like?

MW: Planning the conference was a tremendous leadership experience. It was both lengthy (nearly a year of planning) and involved (averaging 25-30 hours per week during the peak period in the weeks leading up to the event). We managed 15 first-year volunteers and coordinated with countless other constituents (speakers, panelists, moderators, sponsors, venue personnel, Polsky staff, attendees, and others).

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How Hopeful Entrepreneurs Get Their Start At Booth

In the first week at Booth, when meeting people for the first time, the norm is to mention where you come from and what you’re looking to recruit into, just to build a base for conversations. Suffice it to say that my introduction (which contained the key phrases “I plan to go back to India after graduation” and “While at Booth, I’m looking to work on my own startup as a full-time role”) attracted a few second looks of a particular kind. But then, these were followed immediately by “Oh, you know what? I know a couple of people who are doing something like that, let me introduce you to them.”

This feeling of community from the first week is what has defined my time at Booth as one of those hopeful entrepreneurs.

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Booth’s Private Equity Conference: what is the state of the industry?

Last week, I heard from some of the heavy hitters in PE on just that question at Booth’s 19th Annual Private Equity Conference. Hosted by the Private Equity Group (PEG) and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Booth welcomed more than 400 industry professionals to the event, including many alums in private equity. Taking place in downtown Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, the conference, titled “Investment Thesis Evolution: Growth to Buyout,” aimed to explore how firms are specializing and segmenting themselves to differentiate within an increasingly competitive industry.

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Teaming up for Innovation & Design Club’s first-ever innovation challenge

I had no idea what to expect when I signed up as a “free agent” for the Innovation and Design Club’s first ever design competition —the University of Chicago Innovation Challenge. Who was my team going to be? What were we going to be doing? The kickoff included free Chipotle and was hosted at the beautiful (and free, we learned) Chicago Cultural Center, which was to be our client organization. I met my team: an undergrad Econ major, a policy student, and another Boothie. Each of us had varying levels of knowledge about human-centered design ranging from “I have no idea what this is!” to “Design? I went to a design high school.”

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Starting Our Own Company at Booth. Entrepreneurial Boothies Tell All

During orientation at Booth, we had the opportunity to hear from Booth Alumni from a variety of different backgrounds. Their number one advice to us was about the importance of taking risks while in school. Turns out, we may have taken that advice a bit too seriously. This past summer, we gathered the courage to forego a traditional summer internship in order to start a company. It was an experience that far surpassed our expectations.

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