Tag Archives: Why are you here and not somewhere else?

Making “Group Work” Work: Leadership at Booth

Every applicant has a primary motivation to attend an MBA program. It may be a two-year pause for self-reflection away from the corporate grind, the chance to broaden knowledge across business functions, or even an opportunity to pivot one’s career to a new industry. Whatever the primary reason, most of my classmates mention that they would cherish the opportunity to sharpen their leadership identity – honing strengths, pinpointing weaknesses, and experimenting in a secure environment.

Deputy Dean for MBA Programs Stacey Kole presented a finding from a 2018 year-end survey that, “the Class of 2019 is highly interested in developing leadership skills: 60% say it’s essential, 30% say it’s important, and 10% say it’s preferred. Communicating persuasively was one of the most common skills that students sought to improve.” Once we kickoff our MBA at Booth, we are given a myriad of instances in our daily activities that we can harness to push ourselves to be better leaders.

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Exploring my passion by volunteering at the Shedd Aquarium

Business school offers you the opportunity to have a lot of new experiences. Many are what you’d typically expect: exciting classes, building your leadership skills in a new environment, and traveling with your new friends. Having managed to check all of these boxes during my first year, I wanted to make sure I spent some time during my last year at Booth on things that had personal significance to me. 

With a vibrant passion for the environment and animal-welfare, I explored different options of getting-involved with the Chicago community that focused in these areas. Through my research I found volunteer opportunities at the Shedd Aquarium. I’ve always been fascinated with aquariums because of how they can transport you to another world that’s supposed to be inaccessible, yet there it is in front of you on the other side of the glass. Because of this, I was extremely excited for the opportunity to volunteer.

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Why I Became a LEAD Facilitator

At Booth, we pride ourselves on the flexible curriculum, but there is one required class every first-year student must take their first quarter: Leadership Effectiveness And Development—or LEAD for short. Through LEAD, students explore how their personality and cultural experiences impact their leadership style and receive valuable 360 feedback on how their professional behavior is perceived. But the course doesn’t only provide value to first-years. For a select group of ~40 second-year students (including me), it provides the unique opportunity to develop and facilitate a curriculum for the incoming first-years that directly impacts the culture of leadership at Booth.

We call ourselves LEAD Facilitators (Facils for short)—recognizable by our stylish Leadership Development Office polos and unmistakable charm. But we don’t do it (just) for the free swag and recognition. Every Facil’s motivations may be different, here are mine…

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Travelling with locals – Discovering Lebanon

Roughly 30% of Booth’s full-time program is composed of international students, hailing from all corners of the earth. Over the years, international students have planned “unofficial treks” to their home countries and invited fellow Boothies along for a glimpse of their rich cultures, customs, and stomping grounds.

Before heading back to Chicago to start classes, I travelled to Lebanon with a group of 11 2Ys for a week-long country tour. My classmates, Jad Houry and Stephanie Saade, grew up in Beirut and were the perfect guides to show us all that Lebanon has to offer. We got the opportunity to not only visit Lebanon, but experience the country through the eyes of locals.

And what better way to share this Booth experience than to show you?

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Being an Introvert in the MBA

Last year, TBE blogger Oma Nwabudike posted an article about being an introverted MBA student. It turned out to be one of our most-read blog posts of all time! 

Whichever way you lean on the Myers-Briggs scale, this is a raw look into how the less extroverted types thrive in the business school environment, especially at Booth.

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