• Profile

    Vageesh Kumar, '13


    After the small technology firm he worked for was acquired by IBM, Vageesh Kumar moved into strategy management at Booz & Company. Following a couple years in marketing with Bayer, Vageesh decide he wanted to further explore his interest in tech, which led him to Chicago Booth. There he found himself at the “intersection of entrepreneurship, technology, and business”—a perfect spot to secure his senior product manager position in web services for Amazon.

    Booth was the first choice for Vageesh when he decided he wanted to make the career shift from strategic marketing of consumer goods to product management in the technology industry. Booth impressed Vageesh when he visited the campus as a prospective student, and he was even more delighted with what he gained once in the program, and beyond.

    From day one Vageesh was blown away by how advanced the topics of discussion were in class—a level on par with even the most successful tech start-ups in existence today. “What we covered in Week 3 were the kinds of things that people were using at Facebook,” said Vageesh. “There is nothing better than this. You are learning the best of the best.”

    Being on the vanguard of how business is done, no matter the industry, is what makes a degree from Booth so versatile. The flexible curriculum offers another element of versatility that allows students to strategically select courses important to their individual career path. As Vageesh said, “I was able to quickly get up to speed on how start-ups work and how to solve problems in the technology industry… I was taking classes in entrepreneurship and working with a start-up group right in the first quarter.”

    The high caliber of analytical skills is one part of a Booth education that Vageesh recognized in his own success story. Another prong is how it prepared him to be confident in the workplace. “If you are going into a meeting, you have to be able to discuss all the possible angles, challenge assumptions, including your own, and to draw this out in other people.”

    Vageesh was similarly impressed by the power of the Booth network. “I got my internship through Booth alumni,” said Vageesh. “I received a call from an alumnus who had graduated last year and he said, ‘I have heard about you and I think you will be a great candidate for our tech company.”

    Booth’s influential network was also helpful to Vageesh when he was inquiring about Amazon. He reached out to a number of alumni working at the company and through his conversations with other Booth graduates, he got a feel for the company culture, how to prep for interviews, and how to navigate building a team once an offer was extended.

    Vageesh also has a bachelor’s of technology in metallurgical engineering and materials science from the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, India. While at Booth he was a co-chair of the Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital group and participated in the High Tech and Marketing groups, and helped run “Startup Academy,” which helps students learn how to build start-ups

  • Profile

    Swanand Gupte, ’14


    Swanand Gupte already has globally recognized companies such as Deloitte and McKinsey on his resume. However for this Mumbai native to reach his long-term career goals, he would have to go back to the US and back to the books to gain a fundamental understanding of business from a top-tier school.

    Now in his second year at Chicago Booth, Swanand is building off a solid foundation of business frameworks and real-world experience.

    Swanand had the opportunity to use his general management skills over the summer as a corporate strategy management intern at Cummins, Inc., in Columbus, Indiana. Working mainly on initiatives flowing out of the CEO's office and the company’s leadership team, he attacked projects ranging from growth strategy for Cummins’s smaller lines of business to evaluating potential partnership prospects for the firm.

    Cummins’s senior director of corporate strategy noticed how well Swanand was able to accomplish the duties of his specific role. “Swanand enthusiastically took on the challenge of understanding the complex supply chain of a business under consideration and looked for opportunities to partner. He quickly got up to speed on the intricacies of an industry new to him, classified parts of the chain based on their strategic value, and zeroed in on the most critical parts.”

    Swanand’s performance came as no surprise to his boss. “Cummins has had a great run with Booth students for the three years that we have been recruiting,” he said. “Our Booth interns and full-timers stand out in a lot of ways. They are consistently well-rounded, including skills like modeling and stats as well as softer, less tangible skills like communication and leadership.”

    He went on to note that all of their student hires from Booth have aligned well with company values. “Swanand has exceeded Cummins’s high hurdle in a number of ways. His enthusiasm is as remarkable as it is contagious and applies to both work and social situations. His intellectual curiosity has also been a great add to our corporate strategy department.”

    Swanand also has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Mumbai University in India and a master’s in engineering from Georgia Tech in Atlanta. At Booth, he is involved in the Corporate Management and Strategy Group, South Asia Business Group, Operations Strategy Group, and Management Consulting Group.

  • Profile

    Katy Leoni, ’14

    Boston Consulting Group

    After her first year at Chicago Booth, Katy Leoni was more than prepared for a summer consultant position at Boston Consulting Group. Using the problem solving and critical thinking skills she had learned in class, Katy took on her new role in a way that caused even her boss at BCG to take notice.

    “Katy has really impressed me with her ability to come into a topic with which she has had no experience, hit the ground running, and come up with real insight,” said the BCG principal based in Washington, DC to whom Katy reported. “She is truly tenacious in her approach, looking for paths to success rather than letting hurdles get in her way.”

    Katy credits Booth’s unique MBA program with her competence on the job. She explains that the option at Booth to take courses in year one that would be available only in the second year at other schools is invaluable.

    “The curriculum allows me to take a lot of interesting electives, like in economics and in organizational behavior,” Katy said. “And because of that, I’ve looked at many different case studies in my first year and was able to pull examples from and apply them to real-life situations.”

    At BCG, Katy’s skills were recognized and appreciated right away.

    “One part of Katy's work was to try to size and define a next-generation market in a complex medical diagnostics area—a very vague and difficult task, especially as this market doesn’t even really exist yet,” said the principal on her project. “Rather than being stymied by this, Katy developed a plan to leverage a set of relevant analogues, interviews with experts, and her own analysis to come up with a reasonable estimate—truly impressive.”

    The internship, which revolved around analyzing the viability of pursuing a new technology for oncological treatment for a global pharmaceutical company in New York City, was an opportunity for Katy to exercise the rigorous analysis, critical thinking, and problem solving she had been exposed to in school. In addition to conducting research on the potential market, she built a financial model to evaluate potential partnerships for the initiative.

    Katy’s efforts are on par with Chicago Booth’s reputation. As her boss noted, “I have worked with many Booth graduates. I find them very intelligent—as expected—but also highly committed to getting to the heart of a problem and a desire to solve it.”

    Katy comes from a background in international business. She went to the NYU Stern School of Business for her undergraduate degree and worked in Washington, DC, as a contractor for the US Agency for International Development before enrolling at Booth. She is an active member of Booth’s Management Consulting Group, Business Solutions Group, and Chicago Women in Business.

  • Profile

    Jocelyn Florence, ’14


    No one from the New York City theater company where Jocelyn Florence worked had gone to business school or even had “MBA” on their radar. Jocelyn was definitely “branching off into unknown territory” when she left her job as a producer for stage music and comedy to pursue a degree at Chicago Booth.

    “I felt like I really had a tailor-made experience,” said Jocelyn of her first year at Booth. In addition to her courses, Jocelyn had an internship with Redmoon, a 20-year-old Chicago-based performance arts group that does large-scale spectacles in public spaces. “Redmoon brought me on to help create a business plan for their new space and to drive the creation of some capital campaign targets, pitch documents, and other related communications.”

    Hiring a business school intern wasn’t exactly on the docket for Redmoon co-artistic director Jim Lasko. However, after meeting Jocelyn at a benefit in March 2013 he decided to structure an internship around her skills and proposed business solutions.

    “I have given Jocey an enormous job,” said Lasko. “She has been given an idea and it has been up to her to lay a structure over that idea and to test each aspect of that structure. She is solving problems every day and working toward a more comprehensive plan by building upon each solution in a methodical, step-by-step way.”

    Redmoon recently expanded to a 57,000-square-foot warehouse in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood with the aim of creating a venue for rental and ticketed programming. Jocelyn says she focused on the bigger picture of creating a framework for the organization to eventually produce its own shows and events. She used fundamental approaches she learned at Booth to consider challenges with a critical eye and from many different angles.

    “The general Booth ‘question everything’ philosophy has been really helpful to me this summer,” said Jocelyn. “When it came to developing a business plan, I wasn’t just accepting the first opinion or that things had to be done a certain way because that is how they had always been done.”

    After graduation Jocelyn hopes to continue working in the industry of live event production that’s open to the public. “I am interested in, for instance, joining a team that does major political campaigns of parties or other large-scale public events,” she said.

    Jocelyn also has a degree in English from Middlebury College, a small liberal arts school in Vermont. She is involved in Booth’s Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital club, the planning committee for SeedCon (an annual entrepreneur conference), Media and Entertainment Club (including the LA Trek), and the Travel, Transportation & Hospitality Club.

  • Profile

    Guy Feibish, ’13

    JP Morgan Chase

    Guy Feibish jokes that, before going to Chicago Booth, he didn’t know what a networking event was, had never written a cover letter, and hadn’t worn a suit and tie since his Bar-Mitzvah. Now, Guy is employed by JP Morgan Chase as part of the company’s highly exclusive Management Associates Program (MAP), a two-year rotational leadership program for select students from top business schools. As an associate, Guy will rotate across the firm’s different lines of businesses and geographical locations.

    Following an eight-year career as an officer in the submarine fleet and naval headquarters of the Israeli military, Guy transitioned into consulting and worked for Ernst & Young for a few years before deciding to get his MBA at Chicago Booth. Two years and a handful of offers later, Guy describes his experience as transformational.

    “Coming from a different background, different culture, and speaking a different language, I was able to achieve all my goals thanks to the skills and the support I received from Booth,” said Guy, who received offers in general management, finance, international strategy, and operations.

    He cites the school culture and pay-it-forward attitude for Booth’s ability to impact and influence. “People are very warm and everyone works together. Second-years are eager to give something back, whether it’s being a co-chair, a career advisor, or admission fellow,” said Guy, who was both a co-chair of the Armed Forces Group and a career advisor for first-year students during his second year at Booth. “As an alumnus, it doesn’t matter if you are an executive, even if you graduated 20 years ago, you are always willing to help.”

    As students go into their careers, many find the collaborative nature they embraced at Booth affords an advantage once in the working world.

    “I think what makes the difference is the interpersonal skills, the ability to communicate, to create a bond with your managers, peers, and subordinates,” said Guy. “Living in a culture like Booth for two years gives you the skills and the mindset to act that way in your workplace. It really helped me build my relationship within my team working at JP Morgan Chase.”

    Being able to relate to and effectively communicate with colleagues is only one side of what Guy took away from his time at Booth. He also left with a solid framework of how to apply business thinking and use comparative strategy to tackle client problems and present precise, detailed solutions.

    “If you do the analysis by this methodology, you are able to come up with a specific recommendation to say we should target XYZ for these specific clients and offer this kind of investment tool so we can have a win-win situation for both clients and the firm,” said Guy. “My first rotation will focus on the JP Morgan Chase credit card business, building the firm brand, thinking about strategy, and new initiatives. The goal of the program is basically to grow and train the firm’s next business leaders for the long term—five, 10, 15 years down the road.”

    For his undergraduate education, Guy went to the Tel Aviv University Recanti School of Management where he double-majored in economics and accounting. While at Booth, Guy participated in the 2011 Leadership Challenge and was actively involved in the Dean’s Student Admissions Committee, Corporate Management and Strategy Group, Technology Group, and the Jewish Business Student Association.

  • Profile

    Francisco Lynce, ’14

    Morgan Stanley

    Francisco Lynce was an accomplished civil engineer in Portugal with published work to his name. When he decided to switch careers to banking, Francisco knew his journey would take him across the globe to the United States, to the school best suited for advancing his new professional aspirations.

    “The MBA industry is much more developed in the US. I always wanted to study in a country that is known for its excellence in education and research,” said Francisco. “Especially as a career switcher going into banking, I need to be associated with an MBA that is strong in finance. All of that led me to Booth’s program.”

    After his first year, Francisco landed a summer internship with Morgan Stanley working in its investment banking division in London. Francisco said getting into Morgan Stanley was one of his top priorities. “It is a very challenging industry to get in to and you need to think on your feet. You need confidence in your ability and to be prepared… That’s what I got with Chicago Booth.”

    Booth’s flexible curriculum allowed Francisco to focus on courses in finance during his first year so he could get up to speed and secure an internship in banking, even with no prior experience in the field. In his second year, Francisco is taking classes in strategy, marketing operations, and general management.

    Upon his arrival, Francisco was immediately impressed by the academic excellence he encountered around every corner. “At Booth I have access to the most brilliant professors in their fields,” said Francisco. “They have vast experience in the real world and teach with the most exciting cases that can be explained in a systematic way with what we learn during classes.”

    Through his understanding of the Chicago Approach, Francisco became very comfortable questioning business practices and constructing new ideas. He brought that confidence to the table at Morgan Stanley and provided professional insights of his own, whether it meant thinking about a problem differently from his end or examining the viewpoints of senior people in the firm.

    While he is still planning his next steps after getting his MBA, Francisco said his ultimate goal is to go back to Portugal—where the economic landscape is less stable—and start his own business, “Bringing together research, industry, policy, and management will make me a better leader with versatility to face the challenges and uncertainties of the future.”

    Francisco also has a master’s degree in civil engineering from Instituto Superior Tecnico in Lisbon, Portugal. His extracurricular activities at Booth include participating in the Soccer Group, Investment Banking Group, and European and Latin American groups.

  • Profile

    Ezra Galston, ’13

    Chicago Ventures

    Chicago’s growing venture capital community is competitive for job openings every year. Yet Ezra Galston never sent a single resume to any of the VC firms he interviewed with, including the one that offered him a job. What are the odds? Ezra says Booth gave him the upper hand.

    Following a two-year stint as a professional poker player and a marketing role with a gaming start-up, Ezra wanted to backup his on-the-job, trial-and-error training with a more formal, analytical-based education. He knew there wasn’t a better school than Chicago Booth to build up his quantitative and data-driven marketing skills, and to provide a fluency in financial services and trading. But what Ezra didn’t expect was the insight and support of second-year student mentors that, he says, essentially got him where he is today.

    “Without having been a part of Chicago Booth I don’t think there is any realistic chance I could have gotten a job at the firm I’m in right now,” Ezra said, referring to his senior associate position with Chicago Ventures, a $40 million seed/early stage VC fund. “The other person we just hired spent three years at one of the biggest venture capital groups in the country, and I had relatively little experience – but I did have a Chicago Booth degree.”

    For Ezra, the biggest differentiator at Booth was the guidance and unique networking tactics of the second-year Career Advisors. Each year, a group of 40 second-years are selected to work with Career Services to help first-year students with goals ranging from finding an internship to figuring out what career path they want to pursue.

    “Booth puts this entire framework in place with student advisors, mock interviews, and creative ways to cold email, cold call, and network,” Ezra said. “I was very impacted by second-year mentors who had managed to get jobs in venture capital. They probably put in 40 to 60 hours of one-on-one mentorship with me during my first year.”

    Ezra said he was blown away by the intensity, work ethic, and drive of students at Booth. “I’ve met people who deeply care about the work they produce. It’s not just about money or brand or pride. In a professional capacity Chicago Booth students are extraordinarily grounded and extremely driven to produce successful results,” he said. “I’ve heard this from so many different people, that they recognize Booth students are the hardest working post-MBAs and summer interns they’ve seen. You’re hiring a different caliber of student.”

    With venture capital increasingly shifting into a service industry that is more about relationships and adding value, it is more important than ever to showcase interpersonal skills, creative thinking, and innovative approaches to business. With the suggestion of his career advisor, when reaching out to prospective employers Ezra supplanted the customary resume with “dynamic collateral” that highlighted his network and expertise. Rather than list the companies he had worked for, he put together a “relationship map” cataloging those he knows in the gaming industry—media, technical trades, celebrities, people on the marketing side. A venture capital firm interested in gaming investments sees the immediate value Ezra brings with him. That Booth-inspired approach to the job hunt opened nearly a dozen doors for Ezra with some of the biggest VC firms in the world.

    “There are a lot of brilliant people vying for very few jobs no matter what industry you’re in,” Ezra said. “Booth is really an extraordinary positive signal and a big stamp of credibility. The school literally opens doors.”

    For his undergraduate studies, Ezra attended a division of New York University called Gallatin School of Individualized Study where he majored in Happiness (no joke). While at Booth, he was a co-chair of the Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital group and for the Jewish Business Students Association, and he organized two VC treks (to New York and Silicon Valley).

  • Profile

    Elspeth Wilde, ’14

    Kurt Salmon

    The path Elspeth Wilde took to find her first consulting job is a prime example of the Chicago Booth network at work. When recruiting for her internship, she contacted alumni from around the world and received eye-opening insights that helped her secure a position in the consulting industry.

    Elspeth comes from a background in retail. She worked for three years in buying and merchandising at Saks Fifth Avenue’s corporate office. While the experience was relevant to her summer internship as a senior consultant for Kurt Salmon’s consumer and retail group, it was through her interactions with the Booth network inside the company that recruiters discovered Elspeth was the right fit for the role.

    “I recruited at a variety of different firms. When I came across Kurt Salmon, I used our Community Directory and learned there were a number of alumni who have worked or currently work there,” said Elspeth. She reached out to a Booth alumna who is a current employee at Kurt Salmon to show her interest in the company. “I was able to get in touch with the firm and make connections. It was a good opportunity for them to get to know me and screen whether I was a good fit for them as well. And actually, the alumna I initially contacted ended up being my mentor throughout the summer.”

    Elspeth and her team were responsible for multiple work steams including the data analysis and validation for several internal surveys being conducted for the client. The surveys were comprehensive and resulted in extensive information that the team needed to present to the client. Due to the strong analytical foundation at Booth, Elspeth was well equipped for her task of sifting through survey responses to identify and creatively present data that would validate pertinent information as needed by her team.

    “When you come into an environment and are expected to be at a certain level, it’s really important to hit the ground running,” said Elspeth of her internship duties. “I feel like Booth students are definitely prepared in that respect.”

    In addition to the analytical frameworks Booth is known for, Elspeth said the school teaches future professionals how to hone the soft skills and work better in teams.

    “It is less competitive in that sense which really helps in the workplace because it makes you more adept at working in a collaborative environment, as opposed to leaving school with a more individualist mentality,” she said. “Teamwork tends to be one of the most important things companies stress as critical to success on the job.”

    Spending so much time with a diverse group of classmates—listening to their experiences and learning from them—provided Elspeth with reference points for thinking through different situations that she could apply throughout her internship at Kurt Salmon. “It all comes back to being self-aware, observant, and understanding that people have different personalities.”

    Elspeth also has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a certificate in business from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At Booth, she is an Admissions Fellow, Career Advisor, and a member of the Retail, Apparel, and Luxury Group, Marketing Group, Management Consulting Group, and Chicago Women In Business.

  • Profile

    Chloe Kelley, ’13


    As a graduate of Chicago Booth, Chloe Kelley is in good company at her new job with Pacific Investment Management Company. Chloe was one of nine Booth students who did an internship with PIMCO last year, and this year she joined the ranks of Booth alumni employees when she accepted a full-time position as an account manager in the organization’s New York office.

    “PIMCO has a fairly large internship program, and many of us were from Booth,” said Chloe of her time at the company’s Newport Beach, California location last year where she worked primarily with corporate sector clients.

    “During my internship I traveled to meet with clients to talk about their portfolios. Being from Booth really helped: “In my first-year coursework, I had a chance to look at portfolio theory, understand portfolio management, and get a better feel for the industry and the different types of clients in the industry and their needs.”

    Chloe used the frameworks she had learned in portfolio management and other classes, including marketing and competitive strategies, to think about what clients needed and to tailor presentations and conversations to those needs. “Even as an intern I could take the data, parse it in the right way, analyze it, and put together a presentation and actually present it to a meeting of fairly high-level employees in the firm who were making decisions about the direction of a marketing campaign.”

    In the day-to-day of the role that Chloe calls being the “face of PIMCO,” she meets with clients to help them understand what’s going on in the world, gives them a sense of how their money is being managed, and provides confidence that PIMCO is best positioning their portfolio to outperform in the future. But beyond the extremely important client interface, it is also crucial for Chloe to have a deep comprehension of the data behind the decisions and management of her clients’ assets.

    “The firm has recognized that Booth students have strong analytical capabilities, which is something they are looking for in all of their roles in account, product, and portfolio management,” Chloe said. “At Booth, we have the opportunity early on in our curriculum to focus on what we knew would be important for investment management roles helped us stand out in the interview process and throughout the internship as well. We were able to do some of the higher-level analysis, data analysis, and statistical analysis using different macroeconomics frameworks.”

    Chloe also has a degree in international business from the University of Georgia. Before attending Booth she spent two years as a credit research analyst at JP Morgan in New York and three years as a fixed income portfolio manager at EARNEST Partners in Atlanta. While at Booth she was a co-chair and macroeconomics advisor of the Investment Management Group and participated in the African American MBA Association student group, Emerging Markets Group, and Epicurean Club.

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