There is a through line in Kate Constantakis’, Class of 2023, military service and her goals for her future career…she wants to make a difference. This Veterans Day, we’re pleased to share some of Kate’s story. Having served primarily as a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy, Kate shares the similarities she sees between that experience and her time at Chicago Booth, advice for those considering an MBA, and the support she’s received from the community.
Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up? Where’d you go to college? Are you here with a partner?
I was born and raised in Northville, Michigan and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2015. I knew that I wanted to develop leadership skills early in my career and have the opportunity to have an impact on my community and country and these goals drew me to the Naval Academy. Fast forward six years later, I am at Booth with my husband who was also in the Navy!
What did you do in the military?
In the Navy I served primarily on warships as a Surface Warfare Officer (SWO). In my first role, I was in charge of the Tomahawk and Harpoon Weapons Systems on board my ship as well as a team of about twenty sailors from all different parts of the country. At various times, I was in charge of the navigation of the ship. I also had the opportunity to lead small and large teams through different military exercises. During my favorite military exercise, I worked with foreign militaries, NGOs and local governments to increase natural disaster preparedness. I led the missions in Malaysia and Thailand which were truly life changing experiences!
Why was it important to serve your country?
I had a strong desire to be a part of something bigger than myself. I wanted the opportunity to give back to my country and make a difference through service. I also wanted to see the world.
What do you see here at Booth that reminds you of your military service?
The “pay-it-forward” culture of Booth reminds me most of my military service. Everyone truly wants you to succeed and accomplish whatever your “mission” is. At Booth, I’ve been surrounded by smart, driven people similar to the people I served with.
How did AFG support you during the application process?
The Armed Forces Group (AFG) was instrumental during my application process. Whether it was through different resume reviews or interview prep sessions, I felt like the AFG truly cared about my success from the beginning of my application process.
Why did you choose Booth?
I chose Booth because I felt the strongest connection with the students and graduates that I spoke with during the application process. The people were the most important factor in my decision. In addition, I wanted to develop my technical and analytical skills, and I knew Booth’s strong quantitative focus would help me look at problems in a different way. The professors are second to none, and I was very attracted to Booth’s flexible curriculum approach.
What student groups and activities are you involved with?
At the moment, I am currently involved in Chicago Women in Business (CWiB, the Armed Forces Group, the Investment Banking Group, Belgium Club, Volleyball, and Ski Club.
What do you want to do post-Booth?
I am pursuing a career in investment banking post-Booth. I am going through the recruiting process now. I believe that bankers have the opportunity to have a large impact on people, companies and industries as a whole, and in my next career step, I want to have that type of impact.
How are Booth and AFG supporting your career goals?
Booth and AFG are supporting my career goals every step of the way. Booth has a strong network within the banking industry, and I have had the opportunity to connect with bankers throughout the country. In addition, the Investment Banking Group (IBG) has a strong process in place to help people break into investment banking. The Armed Forces Group (AFG) is providing mentorship every step of the way.
What is your favorite part about Chicago?
My favorite part about Chicago is the Lakefront Trail. I am, obviously, biased towards the water, but I love biking or jogging along the lakefront or playing beach volleyball at one of the courts. It’s amazing having the lake and city on either side of you!
Any advice for transitioning veterans that are applying to Booth?
My biggest advice is to be yourself throughout the application process. It’s easy to get wrapped up thinking about what you think people want you to say, but it is so important to be you during your application and interviews. Also, it’s important to give yourself enough time to study for the GMAT/GRE!
Anything else you’d like to share?
My desire to serve didn’t disappear when I left the military. I am grateful that Booth provides countless opportunities to continue serving in different ways.