The Path Less Traveled

The Path Less Traveled

Similar to any graduate program, you’ll find that Booth has its fair share of “traditional” post-MBA career paths. In the past these paths were in finance and consulting, though in recent years post-MBA career paths have expanded to include marketing, big tech, and private equity. If you fall outside of these areas, like many Booth students do, you’ll have a bit of a unique MBA experience that’s filled with slightly more ambiguity, but all of the reward.

Over the next few months, I’ll be diving into the non-traditional career paths at Booth. I’ll cover everything from leveraging the flexible curriculum and academic advising to the feeling of needing to conform. I’ll highlight my experience of finding my summer internship at a multi-family office and interview others who are pursuing dual degrees and entrepreneurial endeavors.

We’ll start with some statistics. Around 3 percent of full-time Booth students pursue one of the ten joint degree and certificate programs. Students get into a variety of fields once they graduate, but below is a consolidated list of industries for the full-time program’s class of 2019:

  • Consulting – 33%
  • Financial Services (includes private equity and venture capital) – 31%
  • Technology – 20%
  • Other – 16%

While 16 percent in the “other” category doesn’t seem like a lot, this accounts for almost 100 students. 100 students who are pursuing careers in real estate, non-profits, or entrepreneurship, and who are all supported in their own way by the Booth community.  As I begin my anthology of writing about non-traditional career paths at Booth, I want to start with three pieces of advice I’ve added to my arsenal (and what I will be writing about in weeks to come):

  1. Ask for help. I know this sounds cliché, but there are tons of Booth resources that you can, and should, leverage. The flexible curriculum is one of the biggest draws to Booth, so meet with an academic advisor to make the most of your class schedule. Understand what classes and professors are going to get you to where you need to be once you graduate.
  2. Don’t feel the need to conform. This one is easier said than done, but just because you feel like everyone is pursuing a certain career path doesn’t mean that you need to jump on that band wagon. Conformity culture is easy to get sucked into, but fight the urge and focus on why you came to Booth and what you want to explore when you graduate.
  3. Stay connected with your classmates. Booth students come from all sorts of backgrounds and have networks that reach around the globe. Whether you’re in the career ideation phase or actively searching for your full-time role, your classmates will prove vital in connecting you with people in their networks. 

Non-traditional career paths are totally worth it, I mean that’s why you’re at business school in the first place. So, get excited about being in the “other” 16 percent group and take learnings from your predecessors in order to make the best of your Booth experience down the path less traveled.