The Power of Female Friendships during the MBA

The Power of Female Friendships during the MBA

On the last day of my internship this summer, a mentor gave me the advice to invest in female friendships in business school. She shared that her female friends from her MBA experience proved to be some of the most valuable connections she made in her entire career.

After two years at Booth, I can already tell that these friendships will be the same for me. The friendships I’ve made with other women at Booth have been deeply meaningful personally and professionally.

The first female friendship that comes to mind is before I even started at Booth. I was choosing between two MBA programs and it was close to the decision deadline. I was randomly matched for a coffee chat with an incoming classmate who was already committed to Booth. This friend was completely opposite to what I thought the Booth stereotype would be—Midwesterner who works in finance. She was Brazilian, had lived in Paris and New York, and previously worked in luxury fashion. Our conversation provided me the assurance that the Booth community would be filled with unique voices from global backgrounds and diverse industry experiences. After our conversation, I submitted my deposit to Booth.

The next female friendships that come to mind were from when I was placed in a random Zoom breakout room during consulting recruiting. It was the beginning of the season and nerves were high. The breakout room was supposed to have 5 Boothies and a firm rep from one of the top consulting companies. Funny enough, no firm rep joined and it just so happened that our entire breakout room was women. We took a few minutes to break the ice and calm our nerves down before we were transferred into another round of breakout rooms. It was a safe space with awkward waiting and lots of laughter. This group turned into a great support system who became confidants throughout our summer internships and will continue on as we head into our full-time positions.

Zoom turned out to be very useful for me in cultivating female friendships because the next major female friendship I made was in a virtual Career Services networking night. I was briefly matched with a woman for a “speed round” of networking.  She was pursuing Investment Banking and was equally deep in the hard work of recruiting for a competitive sector. We reconnected after interviews were over and celebrated our shared success. We discussed our offers, shared our decision-making frameworks, and practiced negotiation strategies. Even though we were in different industries, it was so exciting to celebrate and push each other. We’ve continued to play that role for each other throughout our time at Booth. Whether it was her encouraging me to challenge myself with Finance classes or even pursue fitness goals together by going to workout classes before heading to campus—this friend always pushes me to be my best and I am so thankful.

These are just a few examples, but my entire Booth experience is built on the foundation of strong friendships, both male and female. While I cherish every connection at Booth, I am especially grateful for the friendships with other women who have helped me navigate big personal, professional and academic moments. From discussing fertility to full time job offers to Financial Statement Analysis, these relationships are the best ROI I could have asked for.

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