Nicole Wain ‘18 and Lisa Twu ‘18, co-chairs of the Dean’s Students Admissions Committee, close off another admissions year with the last week of interview greeting, campus tours and first-year volunteer engagement.
Members of Mothers-at-Booth share their experience as young mothers pursuing MBAs, this Mothers’ Day!
Chris and Betsy reflect on their two years of organizing the wild and wonderful adventure that is First Day.
Lital Orlev candidly shares her experience discovering her second pregnancy while at Booth - the adventures and nightmares.
Taylor Carson ‘18 reflects on his year as the co-chair of OUTreach, organizing Booth’s flagship Pink Party.
She has run the gamut from advertising at Starcom, to entrepreneurship via New Venture Challenge, to consulting at Bain & Company, to tech at Google. Today, she brings it all together at Pinterest Chicago!
I was sitting at my desk at work in Houston when my husband, Chris, called to give me the good news from Booth. My immediate instinct was to jump up and down and scream with excitement, but with my colleagues in close proximity, I had to settle for profuse congratulations and a little happy dance in my chair. It was only after I left work and we got the chance to celebrate that reality set in.
Renuka Agarwal reflects on friendships, self-discovery and priorities through her two years at Booth.
Nikhita Giridhar (NG): What made you pick Barcelona?
Michael Teh (MT): Language played a critical factor in choosing where I wanted to go. I always knew I was going to do the exchange program in a country that allowed me to practice my Spanish. Spain and Mexico were my two choices. I was committed to getting better at the language and picked IESE in Barcelona for that reason.
NG: What was the highlight of your exchange at IESE?
MT: The most fun event that IESE organized was this big party called ‘multi-culti’. As the name suggests, this is a 700-person school-wide multicultural event. Everyone dresses up in their traditional clothes, performs dances from their home countries and sets up stalls of their national food and drink. We put together a traditional Aussie stall with food and frosty beverages and played games for people to learn our unique Australian lingo!
NG: What was the one main difference between Booth and IESE?
MT: One light-hearted difference that I noticed was that the Europeans dress really well! There’s a certain dress-code that most people follow, unlike in Chicago. No hats in class, either. Academically, IESE is 100% case-based which made for a unique experience and engaging class-environment.
NG: What would you recommend to those considering an exchange next year?
MT: Research matters. I researched the school really well and thought about my reasons for wanting to do an exchange – it’s 1/6th of your time at Booth spent elsewhere so it’s important to be sure. It also helps to speak with Boothies who have done an exchange program at your target school. Knowing how each school is different academically and socially is key to a good experience. There were 10 Boothies in Barcelona while I was there which was also great!
NG: What’s the final word on Spain?
MT: The cool aspect of being situated in Barcelona is the ability to travel easily and cheaply in Europe. I travelled around Spain, Paris and Israel while I was there. One highlight was going to a Barca game and watching Messi in action! I’m also a huge Nadal fan and wanted to visit his home island but it was unfortunately too cold to go. I guess I’ll just have to go back again in the summer!
Author: Nikhita Giridhar ('19)
Nikhita Giridhar [NG]: Leadership obviously comes naturally to you – what’s your earliest memory of taking a stand?
Elise Hogan (EH): I switched elementary schools between 2nd and 3rd grades and to ease the transition, my parents put me in a summer program at my new school. Part of the program was a musical production and I was very dismayed to learn that there was only one solo vocal part and that it was for a male character. I made my case for being allowed to audition for the male part and a video of the final performance may or may not be on YouTube. I made a great Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk.
NG: Who influenced you the most to get to where you are today?
EH: I have almost never not taken my father’s advice. My dad is my adoptive father – he opted in to being a parent to me when he met my mother, who was raising me on her own, and I think I would have been lost at points in my life without his love and support. I know that people say that you “don’t choose your family,” but I disagree – we do get to choose, every day, through our actions and commitment to the wellbeing of others. I was never shown the way or told what to do with my career… I mean, I got to college and didn’t understand why anyone who didn’t live in New York City would care to read The New York Times. That’s a silly example, but I think a good one. I’ve been shooting from the hip this whole time and struggling with imposter syndrome, but when I check in with my dad all of the noise quiets down and I know that I can keep pushing forward. Sometimes we are both out of our depth, but he believes in me and it is amazing how just one person believing in you can change your life.
NG: Is there anything no one (not everyone) at Booth knows about you?
EH: I started studying classical singing and musical theatre at the age of 8. That turn as Jack must have really lit a fire. In high school I performed in 9 musicals both at school and at the community theatre and competed in state-wide vocal competitions, one of which gave me the opportunity to perform with the Naples (Florida, don’t get too excited) Philharmonic. In college, I was the musical director of an a cappella group called the Dartmouth Dodecaphonics and continued to perform with the Glee Club, Dartmouth Chamber Orchestra, and local opera/theatre companies. Hit me up, AudioBooth!
NG: When did you know you wanted to represent your peers as GBC President?
EH: During the first few weeks of school, I attended a lunch with Dean Kole during which I voiced some of my frustrations and fears. When I got to Booth and I wasn’t immediately happy, I was looking for someone or something to blame; I missed my friends, I felt alone, I felt out of my league professionally, and I was afraid that I had made a huge mistake. In that conversation with Dean Kole she encouraged me to run for GBC if I had ideas for how to better the Booth student experience. The longer I was on GBC and at Booth, the more opportunities for coalition forming I saw and I thought that I could assemble a team of genuinely kind, approachable people, who could be your friend and who could make you feel less lonely and who could really hear what people wanted and make those things manifest. Another Dartmouth alum, Mindy Kaling, wrote a book called “Why Not Me?” and in moments of self-doubt I ground myself with that same question. Those of you who know me know that I can roll with the punches, am very open to feedback, and have an annoyingly loud laugh. Those of you that don’t, just follow the annoying laugh and tell me anything you’d like to see improved upon at Booth. I’m here and I’m willing to put in the work to make a better Booth.
NG: If there’s one thing you want your GBC slate to be remembered for – what will it be?
EH: I know that each member of our slate is talented, kind, and genuine and wants our GBC legacy to be one of servant leadership – we are committed to the growth of this community through empathetic and open-minded engagement with all of Booth’s varied stakeholders. We want to be remembered for taking action together as a slate, the student body, the alumni community, and the administration. If you leave Booth feeling like we really heard you, we will have done our jobs.
This past Friday, AudioBooth hosted an LPF at Reggie’s Rock Club in South Loop showcasing some of Booth’s finest musical sounds. Talented Boothies took the stage and serenaded us with their DJ spinning, acoustic and a cappella melodies, and guitar jamming skills. ChiBus spoke with a few of the artists to learn a little about them.
Kyle Veatch (KV): How are you involved in the music scene at Booth?
Renuka Agarwal (RA): I'm a co-chair of Economies of Scale and AudioBooth, and sing in the Booth band Maroon 7.
KV: Share with us a bit about your music background.
RA: Growing up in an Indian household, I was immersed in song and dance. When I had to pick a musical class in middle school, choir happened to be the easiest and cheapest option! Since middle school, I've sang mainly in choirs, jazz ensembles and a cappella groups. While at Booth, I joined my first band and have absolutely loved it! I love the rush of performing on stage - it's unlike anything else, and Booth audiences are always supportive!
KV: What has been your favorite music moment at Booth so far?
RA: Definitely performing at Battle of the Bands last year. The Vic is an unreal venue, and I felt very professional on that stage.
KV: Anything you are looking forward to in the Booth music scene before graduation?
RA: I've always wanted to crowd surf - maybe my fellow Boothies can help me with that?... I am really looking forward to continuing to jam with my band (some of the most talented and humble people I know), singing fun arrangements with Economies of Scale, and finally winning against Kellogg at Battle of the Bands!
KV: Plans to continue singing after Booth?
RA: Singing is definitely a tough talent to keep up while working, but I would love to find some peers at work in SF or friends in the area to jam with for fun. There's also always karaoke! I would love to learn to play guitar, and maybe even expand to writing my own music.
KV: Tell me a bit about your music background.
Kevin McCarthy (KM): I’ve been into music my entire life, starting with very uninspired piano lessons as a child. However, I got an electric guitar for Christmas in 8th grade and the rest is history. Throughout high school I was a huge metalhead with long hair and a general appearance that most people at Booth couldn’t imagine. I also picked up the drums in high school. Most of my time not in school/sports was spent jamming and playing music. I sadly got away from playing music when I went to college but I gained something else - a deep love for music festivals and electronic music.
KV: How did you find yourself DJ’ing on stage at the Reggie’s Rock Club?
KM: My sole inspiration for playing was a chance morning Uber ride with Renuka Agarwal because it took nine minutes to get to the ground floor of MPP and I missed the train. The MPP elevators are the worst - but in this case the best.
KV: How did you feel about your first DJ performance?
KM: To say I had a blast would be the understatement of the century. I was on cloud nine. I practiced and rehearsed my set a ton, although there were a couple of unanticipated hiccups during the set. For example: when mixing in ATLiens from Unforgivable I was flabbergasted at barely being able to hear the incoming track, ATLiens, in my headphones. I thought I looked at every knob but it turns out that I had the high pass filter on from that deck’s previous transition-out. Oops. All you can really do in that situation is keep moving forward.
KV: What’s next?
KM: I would absolutely love to DJ going forward and am available to any and all Boothies that want to hire me. I come at a pretty good price (free ninety-nine). I had so much fun. The best part of it all was seeing people moving and dancing from what I was playing on stage. I consider myself an extrovert who gains energy and happiness from the vibe of others around me. D’Jing is the perfect match. Sorry Goldman, KMAC is here.
Author: Kyle Veatch (‘18)
Aman Parikh ('19)
Hometown: Chantilly, VA
I'll be honest, I usually forget about my New Year's resolutions by mid-January. But not this year - New Year, New Aman! I'm going to start eating healthier (i.e. stop getting donuts after every TNDC), become a morning person, exercise more often, and learn how to cook more kinds of food. I'm also making an effort to get out of the Loop and explore more of the city, so let me know if you have any recommendations when you see me around the Winter Garden!
Rebecca Beagan ('19)
Hometown: Belleville, MI
Since starting the sedentary lifestyle and long hours of management consulting in 2013, my resolutions were always "eat better, exercise more," but 2017 was different. I actually did it - after the weekly travel stopped, I started cooking for myself, jogging every other day (usually...), and lost some pounds to boot. My 2018 goals (not into New Year resolutions anymore) are focused on the simpler things: flossing and using mouthwash more consistently (because TNDC close quarters is real...), learning how to use my Instant Pot with a fellow Boothie, who also recently acquired an Instant Pot (please join us for some cooking), joining/attending events for wine and epicurean clubs to make even more Booth friends, and getting back into Latin/ballroom dancing! Hope to see/meet you in 2018!
Matt Freund (‘18)
Hometown: East Lansing, MI
When it comes to New Year's resolutions, I’ve historically lived by the words of Canadian Poet Laureate, Aubrey “Drake” Graham, that “you got the resolutions, we just got reservations.” This year, however, I’ve changed course and I’m taking a momentary respite from frosty b’s (colloquially known as “Dry-uary”). This has opened up a strange new world to me: plans made at TNDC that actually come to fruition, turning directly to the “mocktails” page of drink menus, and a (very slight) decrease in “insufficient funds” notifications per week. Like old me, new me still “got reservations,” they’re just for a spot in 6am Yoga Sculpt.
Emma Boston (‘18)
Hometown: St. Petersburg, FL
You may not know that I spent the first formative years of my life in Baton Rouge, the heart of cajun swampland, hundo p True Detective first season type of stuff. I was raised in the art of voodoo ways, but have lost touch over the decades. The new me plans to re-master the use of good voodoo energy to ward off evil spirits from Booth students -- to prevent things like winding up on crutches multiple times and having dead people's body parts put inside you, or getting sent to Aspen jail on ski trip, or being made fun of at Tuck Winter Carnival for our consumption skills. Laissez les bon temps rouler...and be careful not to cross me.
Author: Nikhita Giridhar (‘19)
Robert Wynne MBA Class of 2019, U.S. Navy Lieutenant
Nikhita Giridhar (NG) : Do you come from a family of veterans?
Robert Wynne (RW) : My grandfather attended the Naval Academy in the 50’s, but he only served a few years before separating. Other than him, only my brother and I decided to serve in my extended family.
NG: When did you decide to join the Navy?
RW: Fall of junior year of high school I visited Annapolis, Maryland to tour the campus and shadow some Midshipmen. I was totally blown away by how well-rounded, confident, and larger-than-life they all seemed. I decided then that I wanted to attend the Naval Academy, but was unsure if I wanted to join the Navy or Marine Corps.
NG: Memorable moment from the Navy?
RW: I had the opportunity to serve in three very unique jobs, so I’ll take the liberty of listing two of my favorite events. Aboard USS BLUE RIDGE, I had the opportunity to navigate the ship into the port of Sydney in 2013, which if you have ever been is nestled in a harbour flanked by beautiful white cliffs and has a very unique urban topography you can survey from the ship’s bridge. It was incredible! Second one’s from my most recent command - I had the privilege to lead the Navy platoon in the Presidential Escort during the 2017 Inauguration. We practiced twenty seconds worth of marching probably a hundred times, and fortunately when the moment counted we looked great!
NG: Was it challenging to settle back into civilian life?
RW: Random Walk made the transition surprisingly easy. I love all my Prague/Berlin folks and they have been anchors (pun intended) throughout this emotional journey through Booth. The Armed Forces Group and Rugby Team have been fantastic and supportive. But really, my wonderful pupper Edmond Honda has been what keeps me most sane through the frenetic pace of recruiting, classes, and extra-curriculars.
NG: What’s the one thing that changed about you because of your time in the Navy?
RW: One of the unique things about the U.S. Navy, even relative to the other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, is how constantly engaged you are around the world in foreign cultures and climes. The Naval Academy allowed me to study in Beijing for a semester and I spent the majority of my time from graduation to starting at Booth either living in or deploying to foreign countries. I look at Booth as a continuation of a lifelong exposure to a variety of cultures.
NG: How did your Naval experience prepare you for Booth?
RW: During the many times of uncertainty I face through the journey at Booth, I think back on the things my Sailors, friends, and I accomplished in the Navy and it gives me the confidence to press on. Also, the knowledge that there are Sailors across the globe standing the watch humbles me when I get too complain-y.
NG: Is there something that no one at Booth knows about you?
RW: I have an insatiable appetite for spicy foods and contend that I have the most tolerance for spice of anyone at Booth (challengers welcome).
Author: Nikhita Girdhar (2019)
Christina Ngo, MBA Class of 2019, WTA Singles Rank Holder
Nikhita Giridhar (NG): How did your tennis journey begin?
Christina Ngo (CN): When I was 2, my parents moved from Vietnam to Russia. I used to be a sickly child with a constant cough and cold and my mother decided to enroll me in sport so I could develop better immunity. By 9, I was much better in health and also in tennis and started training under Preobrazenskaya’s former student (who also trained Anna Kournikova). I won several junior tournaments in Russia and finally moved to Barcelona so I could train at the Top Team Academy run by former French Open Champion Bruguera. I guess that was the start of the journey.
NG: What are some of your best memories from your time as a tennis athlete?
CN: In Barcelona, I trained with Johanna Konta who became No. 4 in the world. My peers also included Joao Sousa and Garbine Muguruza, who are doing remarkably well today. It was great to see Garbine go on to win Wimbledon this year. I also got to travel - I’ve played in Egypt, all over Europe, India and the rest of Asia. I’ve been to over 15 countries and 60 cities while playing tennis.
NG: When did you decide to move to the United States?
CN: At the SEA Games in Thailand in 2007, I met the former Clemson men’s head coach Chuck Kriese. He advised me to go to Georgia Tech. Back then I did not think it was a good idea because I wanted to go pro. However, in early 2008, while in Egypt and Mexico I played practice matches against two Georgia Tech alums and I was absolutely amazed by their performance. They thrashed me! I contacted Georgia Tech and the assistant coach flew to Barcelona to watch me play. She told me I could go if I cleared the SATs. I took the last available test that year on standby. I remember I was playing somewhere in Spain and I ran into the player’s lounge, sweating after a game and looking for a computer to check my SAT results (we didn’t have phones with internet!). My scores were in, I had made it and a month later I was at Georgia Tech.
NG: How did the move to the U.S. help your tennis and your career?
CN: My coach at Georgia Tech was one of the best I’ve had. He really walked the talk. He set the highest standard for us on and off the court and encouraged us to pursue our strengths. Towards my senior year, I realized that I wanted to explore the world outside of sport. I decided to join IBM and eventually moved on to consulting. Tennis is such a mind-game. There is so much physics, probability and strategy that I felt I could apply all of it to the business world. As an athlete, you have to force yourself to go the extra mile and you have to learn how to deal with failure. In that sense, tennis made me who I am today.
NG: Why Booth?
CN: Georgia Tech was all about tennis. I was with my tennis team from 6am to 11pm, every day. I wanted to dig deeper into school and academics and get to know my classmates. So now, I’m at Booth to get the whole experience. I do play tennis at Booth, but without all the pressure – it’s a great social game, a great way to make new connections and stay mentally and physically fit.
Author: Jordan Cleare (2018)
JC: What has been the hardest part of transitioning back to school?
KN: The hardest part of transitioning back to school is getting used to learning and absorbing a lot of new information instead of teaching and sharing knowledge. It is a bit different than what I am used to - standing in front of students leading a classroom or in front of teachers leading a professional development session. Also, I am used to having more hours filled with discussion amongst peers about curriculum development, policy, and ways to move the needle forward for students. I am now transitioning to days filled with classes, studying, and recruiting events that require my active listening skills. This transition has been challenging at times, but I am getting the hang of it!
JC: What has surprised you most about Booth?
KN: First, the level of talent combined with the humbleness of my peers at Booth has surprised me. I am constantly impressed by the diversity, intelligence, and kindness of the students at Booth. From one-off conversations to class discussions to friendships, the demonstrable skills, level of professional achievement, and support that I have felt from the Booth community has reinforced my first impressions of Booth.
Secondly, the fit that I personally feel at Booth has surprised me. I am also constantly amazed by being surrounded by highly effective and nerdy people. I love that I can geek-out about education policy, scientific developments, or my color-coded notebooks and find a Boothie who is ready to learn more about the topic, contribute to the discussion, or completely share an understanding of why such level of organization is necessary. I have clearly found my people at Booth.
JC: What is your #WhyBooth moment?
KN: My #WhyBooth moment is, firstly, a collection of the small moments outlined above. But, there have also been a few key moments that stand out to me as representative of why I am at Booth. The first that comes to mind is when David MacLennan, CEO of Cargill, Inc., spoke during the Distinguished Speaker series. I really appreciated his insights on leadership, on work-life balance, and on ways that businesses can have a positive impact on society. The latter underscores why I came to Booth and why I am a career switcher. Mr. MacLennan’s reflections connected in many ways with my personal values and reinforced why I am here.
JC: As a Double Maroon, what’s it like being back on campus?
BS: It’s comforting and strange at the same time. While on the surface everything looks familiar, everyday something new catches my eye where I think, “that didn’t used to be there before”. Overall, I love being back “home”.
JC: What has been the most challenging part of transitioning back to student life?
BS: At work, even if I had multiple workstreams or projects, the ultimate goal was still the same. Because of this, my frame of mind was essentially the same no matter what I was working on. School is like juggling 3 totally different jobs, and oh by the way one of the jobs is your personal life. Finding that balance has been a struggle.
JC: What is your #WhyBooth moment?
BS: As an undergrad, I took a course called UChicago Campus, which was essentially an art history lesson on the architecture at UChicago. Every couple weeks, we’d tour buildings on and around campus, with the Harper Center being one of the last tours. I ended up writing my final paper on how the Harper Center is a perfect architectural reflection of traditional UChicago values and forward-looking innovation. I think I convinced myself through writing that paper that Booth was where I wanted to be.
Author: Jordan Cleare (Class of 2019)
JC: How was transitioning from professional golf to Booth?
SW: In some sense, the transition has been tough because I applied in the third round and everything happened really quickly. I got my acceptance call on May 17th, and from that point had three months to get everything ready to move to Chicago. So, it was definitely a busy few months preparing for Booth and preparing for my last few events on tour. However, I couldn’t have asked for a better send off to my professional golf career - playing in the Women’s British Open in St. Andrews about 20 minutes from where I learned to play. All my friends and family were there to enjoy that last week. It was a nice ending to my four years on tour.
JC: What are the parallels between being a professional athlete and a business school student?
SW: I think time management is key. With both lifestyles, there are lots of responsibilities and people pulling you in different directions. In the tour, you are trying to prepare for each event, but you also have sponsor commitments and different roles within the Ladies European Tour. In business school, time management is key because there are so many opportunities. FOMO is definitely a real thing. In your head, you are constantly thinking, “that will be the one thing everyone’s talking about,” and before you know it, you are booked from 8am to 8pm every day.
JC: What is your #WhyBooth moment?
SW: I wanted to come here because of the people - my classmates are truly incredible people, and so supportive and friendly. Coming from my background, I’m utilizing my classmates as much as possible and everyone has been so helpful and they make me feel like no question is a silly question. My notebook of business terminology is filling up quickly... So, my #WhyBooth moments occur on a daily basis when people around me do something to help me that they don’t have to do. It is a reminder of the reason why I came here - the people!
JC: How is living in Hyde Park?
CC: Living in Hyde Park has been great for a few reasons. It’s a beautiful neighborhood to live in and walk around and, especially since it’s been warm this fall, I’ve really enjoyed all of the green space. Additionally, it’s great being so close to the school and being able to roll out of bed and still make it to class on time. I’ve also enjoyed meeting my classmates who live in Hyde Park. A lot of the first years who live in Hyde Park are interested in giving back to the Chicago community and we’ve found a lot of common interests. Its nice to part of a little community within the larger Booth community.
JC: How has it been transitioning to business school while preparing to be a new father?
CC: My wife is due to have our first child next month. So, in many ways this is the calm before the storm. It’s certainly a unique way to start off business school and I am spending a lot of time putting together baby furniture and buying baby clothes after class. Experiencing this life changing event in business school has and will be great. I have also enjoyed talking to other Boothie parents - they have been really supportive.
JC: What has been your #WhyBooth moment?
CC: I really enjoyed the high ropes course at LOR. The activity “High Commitment,” where two people stand together on opposite tight ropes and try to shimmy from one tree to another, was something I was absolutely terrified to do. But, having another person willing to do it with me helped me get out of my comfort zone and give it a shot. We didn’t make it very far.... While we didn’t successfully cross from one tree to the other, I did successfully face one of my fears with a fellow Boothie. I’m hoping to have more experiences where I get out of my comfort zone and go for things even if I’m unsure of the outcome.
KV: Why did you want to study abroad at Booth?
MV: I have never lived in the U.S. and wanted to try something new. Booth being a top-ranked university with a large focus on finance (my past) and consulting (my future) and boasting an extensive list of Nobel laureates was extremely attractive. I applied, was lucky enough to have the grades required, and quickly accepted.
KV: First impressions of Chicago? Of Booth?
MV: The city is beautiful - way nicer than I expected. The rumors of Chicago being a cold, gritty place could not be further from the truth. The architecture is beautiful, there is a great live music and stand up scene, and there are loads of great restaurants and bars. In general, the city has a very easy going feel. As for Booth, the campus is great - from the iconic towers to the grass fields and top-notch lecture halls. My favorite thing about Booth so far has been the sports - coming from a smaller business school, we don't have the numbers or the facilities to really get into more niche sports such as rugby. Here, the greater university has top notch facilities and joining the Booth Rugby team has been a great way to integrate as an exchange student.
KV: How is Booth similar to IESE? How is it different?
MV: The caliber of teaching is very similar. In my head, I have already compared professors and found similar characters, styles, and abilities. The main difference is that IESE is a 100% case-based MBA, so every class is full of discussion.
KV: Anything on your bucket list while studying abroad?
MV: Attend Booth Ski Trip in Aspen, visit Yosemite national park, rent a Harley and drive from California to Las Vegas, and visit the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. Additionally, I want to find a good stand up comedy club and a gritty old school blues bar to frequent in Chicago.
KV: Why did you want to study abroad?
JB: I spent my junior year in high school at a boarding school in Massachusetts and fell in love with the U.S. and its people. During that time, I made a lot of great friends and we have kept in touch since. After that experience, I always wanted to come back. In my opinion, the U.S. is a fascinating country with many contradictions, especially in today’s time, which makes the current exchange even more exciting.
KV: What have been your favorite aspects of Booth so far?
JB: My favorite aspect so far has been the people I’ve meet and the interesting conversations I’ve had. I believe that living abroad and getting to know a foreign culture and its people (no matter how similar or different they might be from yours) is the best way to overcome resentments and prejudices. Hearing other students’ perspectives on particular issues and learning from their experiences has been very inspiring.
KV: In what ways is your Booth similar to LSE? In what ways is Booth different?
JB: LSE teaches management from a social science perspective and its teaching is, in my opinion, much more theoretical than the teaching at Booth. Furthermore, students at Booth are much older than they are in my cohort at LSE, which makes class discussion more interesting. Both schools are very similar in regards to student diversity, something I highly value.
Author: Kyle Veatch (Class of 2018)
Ben Wackerlin (‘18)
Former U.S. Army Infantry Officer
Summer Internship: Strategy & Operations (Boat Division), The Brunswick Corporation
Hometown: Sandwich, IL
KV: How did your prior military experience prepare you for your summer internship?
BW: A big part of my role in the military was dealing with and leading my teams through ambiguous situations. I believe a common misconception about the military experience is that it is all about receiving and regurgitating clear, direct orders. This, of course, is not the case. At Brunswick this past summer, my assigned projects were ambiguous in scope and depth – I had to process the information I received, decide which direction to go, and seek buy-in from stakeholders. I believe my time in the military, dealing with ambiguity, really prepared me for that role. Another important parallel between the military and civilian experience is taking on a role as a leader. A newly-minted officer in the Army is like a newly-minted MBA - you probably have little actual experience, but are given leadership over many older, more tenured people. Of course, this is a delicate situation and while your reports may be obligated to do what you say, they will ultimately determine if you succeed. Being humble, building rapport, and recognizing the knowledge base of those working for you is as important in the Army as it is in the civilian world.
KV: What was a challenging aspect of your first civilian role?
BW: In the military, it is inappropriate to go to someone above you in the chain of command that is not your direct commander with questions, feedback, or even casual conversation unless prompted. This summer at Brunswick I often held back on questions or comments, largely from habit. After a few weeks, I received feedback and was encouraged to feel comfortable to approach anyone at the firm, regardless if he or she was my direct boss. The less rigid nature of Brunswick took some time to get used to, but the feedback was invaluable and ultimately allowed me to have a more successful summer.
KV: Any recruiting advice for the 1Y Vets?
BW: Play to your strengths and don’t assume that your strengths are known. My strengths are dealing with ambiguity and leading small teams through trust and rapport, yet many interviewers will not assume a military background brings that skillset. I made sure to communicate this during my interviews.
Former Signals Intelligence Analyst, U.S. Marine Corps
Summer Internship: Investment Banking Summer Associate, William Blair
Hometown: Waco, Texas
KV: How did your prior military experience help you/prepare you for your summer internship?
SO: I think the two most helpful tools the military gave me are 1) the ability to persevere through difficult circumstances, and 2) perspective on what is important vs. not important. I took comfort in knowing that no matter what, no one was dying if my financial model didn’t tie out perfectly.
KV: What was the most challenging aspect of the transition into your first civilian role?
SO: In the military, there is a clear designation of who is in charge at all times via rank on the collar. This makes it so you can walk into any room or attend any meeting, and you immediately know the seniority of the person you’re interacting with and their place in the management hierarchy. In the civilian world, this is simply not the case and it was challenging to navigate a new company without the luxury of being able to look at a person’s collar to understand their position within the company and their level of influence over decision making.
KV: Any recruiting advice for the 1Y Vets?
SO: People will love that you’re a vet and they will fixate on your deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. It will be important to not get stuck telling “war stories” – touch on one briefly, but then bring the person back to the topic of the industry that they represent. This will be harder than you think. Also, at the end of the day, the most important thing to remember for your recruiting process (and beyond) is for you to be authentic and true to your core values.
Author: Jordan Cleare (Class of 2019)
JC: How have you enjoyed returning to Chicago?
JL: Moving back to Chicago has been an awesome experience - I missed the Midwest a lot. I am originally from the Midwest and I worked in Chicago right after undergrad, but I spent the last few years in Boston. I really love the architecture of Chicago – it never ceases to amaze me. Every time I walk outside, especially after TNDC, the architecture looks even better than before. So far Chicago has been a great blast from the past, and I look forward to sharing my love of Chicago with my new classmates.
JC: What has surprised you most about Booth?
JL: The people are not as nerdy as I expected. I mean…have you been to TNDC? Or any other social gathering? Students love to let loose and have fun.
JC: What is your #WhyBooth moment?
JL: I know everyone who went on a Random Walk had a great time. I had a blast on my Random Walk. The Italy group is a great group of people who I will be friends with at Booth and beyond. From the lost luggage in Florence to staying in the servants’ quarters in Tuscany at the villa - I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you [RW Italy] for making my first Booth Moment a fantastic one!
JC: What has been the hardest part of transitioning back to school?
JL: Re-learning how to organize my time. I used to work in finance and my days were organized into specific fragments of time that were centered around the financial markets. At school my days are more fluid, so learning how to schedule and prioritize new things has been a little difficult.
JC: What has surprised you most about Booth?
JL: I knew about the "flexible curriculum" and how we can "make our own path" here at Booth, but I didn't realize how that would really translate into having the autonomy to decide what's important to me. There is so much programming going on all the time, but I have the power to decide what I attend and how I make the most of my time here. Everyone is doing something unique, and I think that's great.
JC: What is your #WhyBooth moment?
JL: Throughout LOR and LEAD I've been able to build on my relationships with my squadmates and through every exercise we've become closer. So by the time we sat down together after only knowing each other for a week to reflect on our first impressions, it felt like we had known each other for forever! Sharing our thoughts about our first impressions of one another showed how far we had come in such little time. We trusted one another to be honest and were also willing to be vulnerable to feedback. It just solidified the idea that while we're here to further our careers, we're also here to find a supportive network, and I know I've found one that I can count on.
I'm in kind of a sad state right now. Missing my friends, packing my belongings, being slapped in the face with the reality of my futility. Uprooting myself from my beloved MPP, to try to strike out on my own in New York. Still unclear with exactly how long a New York minute is, or whether or not the city actually sleeps. I wrote a haiku to encapsulate what I'm feeling, hopefully some of you out there have similar feelings. Despair. Reluctance.
A year in review,
Dust blankets my apartment,
To eat or to leave for 'Sam,'
F&%k him, they can rot.