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November 4, 2013

BoothED: A Happy Marriage between Business and Education

By Lauren Anderson '15  |  november, 2013, Issue 1

What happens when you bring more case teams to a competition than any other school, including the host school, then dominate with first and third place prizes? Maybe you realize that you rock and that you may have something valuable to offer. This is one of the nudges that pushed a group of first years to start an official BoothED club. Another nudge was when they began meeting informally last year and had 55 people in their Google group.

"We realized we had legs!" said co-chair Miriam Owens '14. They wanted to provide a space for Booth students with any sort of interest in education. Now they have 47 members, already up from 30 in early October.

But why have an education club at a business school?

"Education now is where healthcare was 30 years ago," BoothED co-chair Evan Coughenour '14 explained. There is a lot of venture capitalist and general business interest in the education space, which is where Booth students come into play.

"We [Booth students] are uniquely positioned to do great things," said Coughenour. Education is not just for teachers or social impact lovers – which can be a good and bad thing. One of the unanswered questions that co-chairs Owens and Coughenour have in the business/education space lies around ethics. Can there be a happy marriage between business and education? There are swindlers in every industry. But when someone's education (and future), not just their money, is at stake, does that make a difference? From textbook companies to government subsidies, there are many hot-button topics that would benefit from innovative and creative thinkers tackling the issues. There's tension in the space and that creates opportunity for problem solving – and Boothies.

BoothED is working hard to bring opportunities to Booth students who are personally or professionally interested in the education industry. Last year they took an informal trek to California to visit 14 organizations in the education/technology field. This wasn't sitting in the back of the room with loads of students getting gimmicky product samples. This was sitting at the table and having down-to-earth discussions with people, including CEOs of startups. And they are doing it again this winter! BoothED also prides itself in first year student involvement, not simply participation. There are dedicated positions within BoothED for first years – important for a new club's succession planning. And in the next couple years, Owens and Coughenour are hoping to see the club grow with strong employer relationships and a slate of 20-30 employers coming to campus to recruit talent into the education sector. And these folks are dedicated, as shown by their persistence in forming the club, so we can all look forward to what this group will bring to Booth.

So, join BoothED, they say! Altruism and profits both reside here.

Interested in BoothED? Sign up here to become a member. Or, visit the website or contact any of the co-chairs with questions: Nitin Chandra, Evan Coughenour, Krystle Goh, Miriam Goldberg Owens, Ned Levy, Suraj Patel and Jennifer Schwartz

Last Updated 11/5/13
Last Updated 11/5/13