1Y on Hispanic Heritage Month and Her ‘Why Booth’

1Y on Hispanic Heritage Month and Her ‘Why Booth’

To me, Hispanic Heritage Month is about embracing all of who I am. As a half Puerto Rican from California, I have spent most of my life hearing that I was not enough to fit into any group. From my seasonal skin tones to my broken Spanish, I floated in the in-between space that confused most people. 

New conversations started with “So what are you?” then quickly progressed into breaking down why I wasn’t Hispanic enough. “Are you sure you’re not [insert wrong race here]?…But you don’t even [insert stereotype here].” 

I applied to Booth during this spring’s COVID-extended deadlines and did not have the opportunity to visit campus or  talk with many students. Before orientation started, I was not sure if introductions would elicit the “What are you?” question all over again. I was so thankful that my peers were more interested in learning about me as a person than why my name is so American. There was no vetting, just new friends. 

But why choose a school when you are unsure about who you will meet? For me, it was simple: I chose the school that chose me. I don’t mean that I chose the school that simply admitted me; I chose the one that showed genuine interest in knowing me. From the HABSA chair who gave me essay feedback to the admissions officer who listened to my financial aid concerns, I felt valued as a future student and community member. 

To Booth, I was not just a GMAT score and a resume. I was a bold, Californian, salsa-dancing, mixed Latina in tech who had a story to tell—and they wanted to hear it. 

Three weeks into my first quarter of classes, I couldn’t be happier with my choice to commit to Booth. From the Hispanic American Business Students Association (HABSA) and Management Consulting Group (MCG) to soccer and language families, I am finding people who I know will become my lifelong friends. With these lasting connections and the growth environment that is Booth’s Full-Time MBA program, I know that I will thrive in Chicago and beyond.

samantha malone in lake michigan
This is a photo of me the first time putting my feet into Lake Michigan after arriving in Chicago!