Put People First: IRL with Eileen Ward

Eileen Ward, Graduate of the Class of 2016

Eileen Ward, Graduate of the Class of 2016

If you know Eileen Ward, you know she lights up a room. Before she graduates, read what Eileen has learned from Booth and which lessons she has applied to Booth, in return.

Booth taught Eileen about negotiating. In her sales role, this is surely applicable everyday.

“You should over ask in negotiations, and expect to have a compromise in the end. You can optimize by finding small concessions to demonstrate that you respect the other party and their desires,” Eileen shares.

To Eileen, it is about how you made the other person feel.

“Psychologically, everyone desires feeling respected, likes winning, and also feeling like they are being nice or generous – so, if you play your strategy right, you can actually get what you want quite often, if you’re willing to appeal to what is most important to other people before instinctually being selfish.”

My favorite part of this interview is when Eileen added what real life has taught her and how she has applied that lesson to Booth:

“Put people first, and everything else will follow. Everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time. If you think about the burden or stress people feel in a given day – school, work, family obligations, money – they just want to feel like they’re getting by in a positive way. If you can help people in those endeavors – by pulling your weight to alleviate that level of stress, you’ll make friends very easily. If you do your best, chances are that’ll be enough,” Eileen says.

To new students, Eileen shares her advice:

“When you go in, go in positive, make friends, don’t worry about the academics as much, figure out where your heart leads you in terms of which groups matter to you. If you don’t come in with a roadmap, you’re missing the boat why you get an MBA.

“If you come in with a few things you want to take away from it and you aggressively pursue those things, you’ll be well served by the time you’re exhausted and burnt out in the backend. You’ll have talking points and friends and people who like you to survive the backend.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and no one enjoys the backend of a marathon. The stakes go up the further in you get - due to OCR, trying to change careers, or getting the promotion at work. So, you might as well maximize the stakes when they’re as low as possible. It’s all about optimizing,” she shares.

Catherine Frances Napier (CFN), Class of 2018

Catherine Frances Napier (CFN), Class of 2018

“Take an inventory – are there people you wanted to get to know that you thought were so cool, have you reminded the people that you met in the beginning that you love them, and what are you doing to show them that? Did you wish them a happy birthday or send them Christmas cards? Did you like their new job on LinkedIn? What’s the game plan to stay relevant?”

The best part about Booth for Eileen? “I met the most amazing, hardworking people who know what it is to be a good teammate and have really noble ambitions.”

Catherine works at Northern Trust in wealth management, loves yoga, creating content on www.cfndaily.com, and the peanuts at the Midway.