Be Mine: Valentines Day at Chicago Booth

Be Mine: Valentines Day at Chicago Booth

Love is in the air today at Booth and in honor of Valentines Day, we’ve rounded up a collection of ten inspiring Booth couples. Each couple has shared their wisdom and insights on what The Booth Experience has been like together and we couldn’t be more excited to have these lovebirds in our community.

Isabel Rodriguez and Pablo Zalidvar, Booth ’22

“Going through this adventure together has been the most fun and exciting experience, more than we could ever imagine. We’ve made many new friendships that will last forever and allowed us to strengthen our own relationship by having the opportunity to think about our goals together and receiving the help to work toward them. Not to mention, Pablo’s strong financial background has been extremely helpful, making him undoubtedly the best study partner.”

About the couple: Before Booth, Isabel was working in Big Law in Mexico, but was looking to pivot to entrepreneurship focused on environmental impact. Booth’s strong Mexican alumni network and the New Venture Challenge were the deciding factors while applying to business school. Isabel is an inaugural recipient of the University of Chicago Obama Foundation Scholars award. She is the co-founder and CEO of Axo, a regenerative marketplace that helps climate-conscious farmers connect directly with food companies and other buyers. Before Booth, Pablo worked in a single family office in Mexico City and came to Booth to gain the tools necessary to break into Latin America’s growing VC scene. He has partnered with a classmate to launch Uno Ventures, an AngelList Syndicate (VC vehicle that allows investors to opt-in in each individual deal) focused on early-stage investments in top-tier startups based in LatAm. 

Sai Visesh Suresh, Booth ’22 and Bhavana Balakrishnan, Kellogg ’22

“After we got married, we knew we both wanted to get our MBAs. Thankfully, we chose the shortest long-distance relationship option, Kellogg and Booth. We’ve made it work by leveraging a careful regimen of weekend visits, monthly date nights, and frequent parties with each other’s friends. We’ve led varied MBA lives, with Bhavana focusing on student leadership (a member of the Kellogg Students Association and Kellogg Board Fellows) and myself focusing on social and professional clubs (South Asian Business Group Co-Chair and Management Consulting Group and Booth Technology Group interview family leads). Even though we are “rivals,” it’s been amazing for each of us to get front row seats of two MBA experiences.”

About the couple: Sai and Bhavana met in and started dating during their second year of undergrad in Singapore. Both are engineers by background, and Bhavana found her passion in healthcare (via her work at Novartis Pharmaceuticals) while Sai was looking for a career switch. Fortunately, their “long distance” is ending soon as both will be moving to New York after graduation. Bhavana will join JP Morgan in their healthcare IB coverage group and Sai will join BCG in their digital practice.

Michael Campbell, Booth ’22 and Aaron Dean, ’23 Loyola University Chicago School of Law

“We feel so lucky to have the opportunity to pursue our graduate studies together in an amazing city. When we’re not each on our own campuses, Aaron and I get to share in some of the best the Booth community has to offer, from Wine Club and OUTreach events, to dinners with Boothies on our floor, to MBA travel in Mexico. We’re fortunate to be part of such a welcoming community.”

About the couple: Michael is a 2Y joint-degree student at UChicago pursuing his MBA and MA in International Relations. Aaron is a 2L pursuing his JD at Loyola University Chicago. Before moving to Chicago, Michael and Aaron lived together in DC after meeting in college in Virginia. In DC, Michael was a Senior Consultant in Deloitte’s Strategy & Analytics practice and Aaron was a paralegal at Weil. After graduation the couple will move back to DC where Michael will return to Deloitte and Aaron will pursue a career in law.

Chanel Walker and Darren Williams, Booth ’22

“Taking this journey together has enriched the experience. The original vision for our MBA experience was through a lens of a single person and consisted of more superficial engagements and focus on self. The gift of our relationship has allowed for a broader perspective, that includes a brighter potential for the future, an opportunity to work as partners, and to have someone who SEES you and can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses that the outside world isn’t privy to. In business school terms, the personal growth ceiling has been 2-3x’d and overall the ROI for the MBA has been increased.”

About the couple: Prior to Booth, Darren was a cyber security consultant with Deloitte’s Risk and Financial Advisory Practice, in the Washington, DC area. Chanel was a merchandise planner at Abercrombie and Fitch and then a sales strategist at Kraft Heinz. Post-Booth, they’ll both be management consultants in Chicago, at LEK and McKinsey and Company, respectively. The couple met in their first year at Booth.

Kate Constantakis, Booth ’23 and Cam Harrigan, Booth ’22

We started our MBA journey in 2019 and were immediately impressed with the Booth community. We knew we both wanted to be a part of Booth’s collaborative, ‘pay it forward’ culture and Booth’s strong academics and powerful network would help make our transition from the Navy into the private sector smoother.

Because of our Navy transition timelines, we applied in different years. Being in separate classes at Booth has given us the unique opportunity to grow individually, yet together as a couple. We have different academic interests and hobbies, so it’s fun to compare our classes and days. We have also had the opportunity to expand our network and make close friends in both year groups. We are very grateful to go through our MBA experiences at Booth together!”

About the couple: Prior to Booth, Kate and Cam served in the US Navy. They met on vacation in Cancun, Mexico, and got married in La Jolla, CA in 2021. This summer, Kate will be working as an investment banker at Evercore. Cam spent last summer working for Sports Info Solutions doing sports analytics. He will be working in the finance industry after Booth at Lincoln International.

Austin Russell, Booth ’22 and Natalie Griffin, University of Chicago Law School ’22

“We’re Natalie Griffin and Austin Russell, and we’re both current students at The University of Chicago! Our journey in Chicago started in 2019 when Natalie decided to come to the Law School after spending time as a legal assistant in Washington, DC. I followed, and a year later, decided to leave Economic Consulting to get my MBA at Booth. Sharing our University of Chicago experiences together has been very rewarding.

We’ve been married for over 3 years now, and are really looking forward to adding a UChicago Class of 2043 graduate to our family in March.”

About the couple: Natalie and Austin met at the University of Maryland in their freshman year of college. Following graduation they will be moving back home to Washington, DC. Natalie will be working with Reichman Jorgensen in Intellectual Property and Antitrust and Austin will be working at Meta in their Reality Labs division for AR/VR products. They are expecting a baby girl this spring.

Alejandro and Maya Cadena, Booth ’22

“Being at Booth together has been an excellent experience. We both have a different focus in which classes we want to take and what areas we want to explore. We have been able to share such an incredible experience together and are blessed to do so with fellow partner couples at Booth. Our fellow classmates have been incredible and we feel blessed to have met them at Chicago Booth! We’ve loved our experience and are so thankful we embarked on this journey together. One of the biggest highlights of our time at Booth was leading 32 fellow Boothies on the Abraham Accords Trek to Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain this past winter break.”

About the couple: Maya was born and raised in Los Angeles and moved to Israel to serve in the IDF. She started her career as an entrepreneur and went on to work as a professional fundraiser for five years before joining Booth. She came to business school to pursue entrepreneurship and went on to co-found Vetted Pet Health, an annual membership platform that provides preventative health for pets. Alejandro was born in Ecuador and raised between Ecuador, Panama, and Israel where he served in National Service for two years. He is the CEO and founder of Global Cadena, an importing/distribution startup focusing on luxury foods. Post Booth, he’ll be continuing his career in the CPG space by joining the Consumer Retail Group of Alvarez & Marsal. The pair met during their respective services in Israel and this month will be celebrating 12 years since they started dating.

Delaney Wing, Booth ’22 and Ian Rinehart

“Getting an MBA from a top program was one of my biggest goals and when I met Ian, he supported me every step of the way. From scheduling dates to celebrate every milestone of my application process, to encouraging me to take classes that push me outside of my comfort zone, he is both my biggest cheerleader and teammate. We started dating in Chicago and were excited to move back together. We love living in a building with most of our friends and have gotten so much from the community.

Our highlights include a Boothie helping us find our adopted cats (from a shelter started by a Booth alum!), ski trip, and countless boardgame dates with fellow Booth couples. I joke that Ian has more Booth friends than me! Booth may have started as my goal, but it has become a life-enriching experience for both of us.”

About the couple: Prior to Booth, Delaney worked as consultant with Accenture’s Health Strategy Practice based out of the Washington, DC office. Ian is a Principal with the Ad Hoc Group focused on sustainability and climate startups. He is also a proud Northwestern alumnus, but we try not to hold that against him. The couple will be married this spring.

Christina and Guy Caland Puymartin, Booth ’22

G&C seeing “Casablanca” together for the first time this Valentine’s day. The music score was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

“Christina and I did our MBA together at Booth – while I was the registered student, I often joke that Christina got the same degree from her role as President of Booth Partners and involvement in the community. When I started at Booth, Christina and I began hosting dinners, cultural events, and excursions with our peers.

We made dear friends through these, discovered our hosting style, and had a ton of fun in the process. I asked for Christina’s hand at the scenic Botany Pond in the University of Chicago campus, and we organized a celebratory jazz show with our Booth friends later in June. Booth was a catalyst for Christina and I in so many ways, both in our personal lives and careers. And through the experience, I found my wings through her and she her nest with me.”

About the couple: Christina is a fourth generation Chicagoan of Mexican, Sicilian, and Romanian descent who has been involved in event planning and the arts. Guy is French and Lebanese – he comes from an artistic family and started his career in healthcare. He came to Booth to explore various business functions and later pursued the dual degree in Computer Science. Guy and Christina met at a mutual friend’s fundraiser when he was in town for First Day in April 2019.

Jahnvi Vaidya and Ishaan Jalan, Booth ’22

“Ishaan and I, like so many other modern day couples, had to navigate dual career priorities and being in separate locations for jobs we loved. We did six years of long distance before we finally decided that the MBA was our chance to be in the same place, and applied to all the same schools. It has been so much fun to be at Booth together – it’s amazing to have someone understand exactly what you’re going through, to share the good times and share the load during stressful times. 

We got married this past December and had a bunch of Boothies come to India for the wedding. A real highlight of the MBA for both of us has been how our incredible peers at Booth made us feel more loved and celebrated than we could have imagined. We are so grateful for this community!”

About the couple: Prior to Booth, Jahnvi worked in economic consulting in Boston while Ishaan was at DaVita’s US head office in Denver. Jahnvi then moved across the world to Mumbai to join a very early stage (pre launch!) startup in financial inclusion, while Ishaan moved to London to work on international strategy at DaVita’s new global headquarters in London. At Booth, the couple has been very involved in the community and both served as LEAD Facilitators for the Class of 2023. Following Booth, the couple will move to New York City where Jahnvi will work at BCG and Ishaan will work with healthcare startups.