Rosemary Concepcion shares her transformative experience navigating the analytical wilderness at Chicago Booth and beyond. From a liberal arts background in a financial services firm to the thrilling trek in Tanzania, discover the unexpected adventures, diverse cultures, and lasting connections that have shaped her MBA experience.
Tell us about yourself and take us along your journey to Chicago Booth
Working at a financial services firm with a liberal arts undergraduate degree is how my journey to Chicago Booth began. I knew that I wanted to gain the experience needed to succeed in the industry, and after several years of pushing the application process back I decided to pursue my MBA. Booth’s focus on strong analytical skills and the multidisciplinary approach to learning was what drew me to the program and since then I have been pleasantly surprised in what I have been able to accomplish during my time within and outside of the classroom.
What’s one word or phrase that best describes your experience at Booth?
“Why are you here and not somewhere else” is a phrase that I find to be particularly helpful as I navigate through the many experiences I’ve had at Booth.
Tell us about your experience on the trek to Tanzania.
Exhilarating is the word that best encapsulates the feeling of being completely immersed in wilderness, surrounded by wildlife in a way that cannot be compared to previous experiences. The first safari the group traveled to was Tarangire National Park, where we saw giraffes, elephants, antelope, and an array of other animals in their natural habitats. As the safari vehicles navigated through the park, I was in awe of the variety of wildlife and the landscapes.
Our safari journey continued to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to a former volcanic crater. This park offered a much bumpier ride as we rode through rugged terrains to reach the lower level where most of the animals resided. Here, we were able to encounter rhinoceros and lions! In addition, we saw hippopotamuses, zebras, buffalo, and hyenas. Beyond the thrill of the mammals, the diversity of bird species was a delight to take in as well.
The last safari of the Trek was the Serengeti National Park, a massive park known for its annual wildebeest migration. Driving through the Serengeti felt as if it was endless– at one point we were surrounded by hundreds of zebras. Here we were able to see leopards, the last of the “Big Five” animals on our list! One of my favorite parts of the trip was watching a herd of elephants cross right in front of one of our safari vehicles. It was heartwarming to see the baby elephants skipping happily as they made their way through the road.
Our accommodations ranged from lodges to tented camps, each providing a unique experience to get to know the local environment. The tented camps allowed us to maximize our time in the Serengeti, while testing our comfort with proximity to the wild. Beyond the wildlife, the safari trek provided an opportunity to learn more about the traditional customs of the Maasai tribe. The Maasai people are nomadic warriors that are known for their cattle herding and distinct culture.
The Trek would not have been complete without a trip to the sunny beaches of Zanzibar, where the group was able to learn more about the island’s global influences and explore water-based activities like snorkeling and dolphin watching. In essence, the Tanzania Trek fostered a deep appreciation for the beauty of the natural world, reinforced the importance of conservation, and created lasting memories of a once-in-a lifetime adventure. Many thanks to the team at Windfall Safaris for being extremely knowledgeable guides and providing the group with a great experience!
How did you connect with your fellow Boothies?
One aspect of the trip that I really enjoyed was the small group size. We were able to really get to know and connect with one another, especially during the game drives. In addition to traveling, there were many opportunities to connect with one another during sit-down dinners and picnic lunches. By the end of the trip, it felt like we had all gone through this amazing lifetime changing experience together which allowed us to have that special bond with one another.
What would you tell prospective students that are interested in learning more about international travel opportunities available for Full-Time students?
Between trips organized by student-led groups and longer-term commitments as part of the study abroad program, there are plenty of ways to pursue international travel while at Booth! The Chicago Booth website has ample information on the various opportunities, but the best way to learn more would be through conversations with current students. If you’re not sure who to reach out to, feel free to ask Student Life or Admissions for some assistance!