It feels like yesterday when I found out that I was accepted into Booth. Despite how the global pandemic has reshaped my business school experience, I’m still confident that pursuing my MBA at Booth was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I have learned so much from my fellow classmates, all coming from diverse backgrounds, and each bringing sharp insights into either the classroom or virtual environment. We came to Booth with different industry experiences and post-MBA career aspirations and the flexible curriculum gives each of us the opportunity to customize our own MBA journey. I want to share in this blog how I have used the flexible curriculum to crystalize my career goals and expand my business leadership skills.
As an engineer by training, I wanted to build a knowledge base in business foundations by attaining my MBA and explore industries outside of semiconductors, the industry which I came from. I started my first year with the fundamental classes in finance, marketing, and strategy. By doing so, I filled in my functional knowledge gap early on in my MBA and knocked out the prerequisites for the more in-depth classes that I was interested in taking during my second year. Thanks to the flexible curriculum, while I was taking intro-level finance classes, I was able to skip the basic marketing class and jump into the more specialized marketing classes because of my previous work experience. During my second year, I took more leadership courses like Managing in Organizations and Interpersonal Dynamics to build management skills that will prepare me to become a future business leader. Furthermore, I took full advantage of the lab courses that combine lectures with hands-on industry experiences to explore different career opportunities.
One of my most memorable Booth experiences was the VC lab that I took in San Francisco. This popular course integrates lectures on Venture Capital fundamentals with an academic-year internship at a VC firm. As a first-year interested in the industry and wanting to go back to California after graduation, I participated in the pilot San Francisco initiative and got the opportunity to intern with GGV Capital. During the winter quarter before the COVID outbreak, I flew to San Francisco to do my internship during the first half of the week and flew back to Chicago to take classes on Thursdays and Fridays. Because of the heavy time commitment for VC lab, I balanced out my schedule by choosing light-loaded classes that didn’t require frequent group meetings. It wasn’t an easy quarter, but I had an amazing experience meeting inspiring startup founders and venture capitalists at the heart of Silicon Valley as a full-time Booth student.
After my summer internship at Amazon Web Services (AWS), I decided to attain more operating experience and professional network in the tech industry right after MBA and pursue VC as a potential longer-term career path. As I entered my second year at Booth with a solidified post-MBA career goal, I took more tech-focused courses like Data-driven Marketing, Platform Competition, and Technology Strategy. Moreover, the lab in Developing New Products and Services that I’m in right now gives me a clear view of product development process in tech. The flexible curriculum at Booth has not only equipped me with the business foundations and leadership skills that I came to MBA for, but also supported me to navigate through identifying career aspirations.