• Profile

    Moran Bar Gat, '14

    McKinsey & Company, Inc.

    Moran Bar Gat credits Chicago Booth with helping him make a smooth transition from engineering to business.

    Moran, who served as a communications specialist in the Israel Defense Forces, had a solid background in tech, but he wanted to move from engineering to the business side of technology. He set his sights on an MBA and knew a degree from Booth was the best way for him to accomplish his professional goals, as well as make the move into US business markets.

    “The Booth network was a key part in my job exploration process,” he says. “I found alumni as important contact points in every firm I was researching in the US and in other countries. Their willingness to provide insights is a constant reinforcement of the pay-it-forward frame of mind shared at Booth.”

    Moran says he owes a lot to the way Chicago Booth and Career Services creates collaboration among alumni, professional student groups, and coaches in Career Services. The combined efforts helped him land two internships during his MBA: an associate position at a venture capital firm and a summer associate internship at McKinsey & Company, Inc..

    At McKinsey, he restructured a development process for a leading media company. “It becomes a habit to think about academic principles when dealing with business situations,” he says.

    Booth students are taught frameworks that provide a variety of lenses through which they glean greater clarity and understanding, more imaginative analysis, and an ability to see connections that go beyond accepted knowledge. Moran, who worked as a software engineer at Microsoft and spent several years teaching computer programming, was able to leverage his industry expertise in a business setting by applying what he had learned in class.

    “Booth professors provide a holistic perspective to business by not only teaching about success stories, but also about failures,” explains Moran. “It’s the idea of challenging everything. For example, one of my professors would spend half the class to convince us that a company should make a business decision one way, then he’d spend the next hour explaining why it would be a very bad idea for them.”

    Moran used that frame of mind to evaluate potential investment candidates at his venture capital internship. By looking at every case from multiple points of view, Moran can uncover holes in arguments and find better answers. It’s an approach he will continue to use at McKinsey after graduation in his new full-time position in the company’s New York office.

  • Profile

    Maria Dangles, '13

    McDonald's Corporation

    For Maria Dangles, the business of art appreciation is more about statistics than aesthetics. Coming from Christie’s auction house in New York, Maria says much of her previous work involved researching and analyzing sales stats on the performance of artists and art categories. A desire to better understand the data to make wiser business decisions led her to Chicago Booth—and the option to explore different career paths, possibly in art or possibly in the art of food branding.

    With an interest in operations and promoting healthy food options, Maria split her time this summer at McDonald’s Corp. between the group that markets to families and another unit that works on innovative new menu items. In her internship at the restaurant giant’s suburban Chicago headquarters, she was charged with developing plans for the short- and long-term rollout of a strategy for family snacking.

    “All the knowledge that I’ve gained from my classes and figuring out what to ask has been helpful in my projects at McDonald’s,” says Maria. “I knew I needed to dig deeper into the product mix and see whether if, for example, a low profit for one item is actually boosting the sales of something else.”

    At Booth, students learn that knowing how to ask the right question leads to new ideas with enduring impact. The Booth classroom is where Maria first saw this approach in action.

    “My classmates are extremely engaged in the coursework in terms of questioning and really needing to find out, ‘Why is it that way?’ That line of thinking leads to challenging all ideas, even those of the professors,” she says. “Many of my classmates are applying this to what they are doing in real life in their own start-ups and work projects.”

    Inspired by fellow students, Maria hopes to launch a business of her own. She’d like to continue in the food industry after school, but the draw of her art history background is still strong, especially when there is a visible gap in art sales that an online start-up could help fill.

    Auction houses such as Christie’s face a bias among potential customers who feel they can’t purchase art unless they have a million dollars to spend, says Maria. “This presents opportunities for MBAs in the art world,” she says of a discussion she had with Canice Prendergast, W. Allen Wallis Professor of Economics, who helped curate the school’s acclaimed art collection, on display at the Charles M. Harper Center. “We talked about how we need a way to connect younger patrons with younger, emerging artists who then grow up and get coached by a bigger gallery. … There is space for that right now in the online art business world.”

    No matter the context of the job, Booth graduates approach situations with a fundamentals-based understanding of how organizations function, markets work, and people make decisions that carries through to how they tackle business problems. Whether Maria takes the entrepreneurship route in art, gourmet burgers (another venture she is considering), or continues her career in an auction house, she is excited to make an impact wherever she lands.

  • Profile

    Bayasgalan Enkhbaatar, '13

    J.P. Morgan

    Early years in Mongolia, college in Bulgaria, a professional career in Hong Kong—when asked what brought her to the United States, Bayasgalan Enkhbaatar instantly answers, “I came to Chicago specifically for Booth.”

    Bayasaa is no stranger to challenging herself in new environments. She has lived around the world, most recently in Hong Kong working in accounting and corporate development at an international coal mining company. After nearly five years at the company, she was ready to advance her career outside her current industry and to pursue job opportunities in other geographic locations.

    “I had always wanted to get my MBA, and I wanted to go to one of the top schools,” says Bayasaa. “Having met a lot of alumni in Hong Kong, I got a good sense of the very collaborative culture that is obviously present at Booth. I was also really drawn to the flexible curriculum. You have the opportunity to shape and structure your own experience.”

    Booth values personal accountability and independent thought, which is reflected in the flexible curriculum. So it is possible for Bayasaa to take classes outside her area of study to diversify, stretch, and round out her intellectual knowledge. In the same vein, the flexible curriculum allows her to choose courses suited to her individual career pursuit, whether the goal is career advancement or a career change.

    That flexibility also lets students take classes that will prepare them to make an immediate impact in their first-year internships. For Bayasaa, who was in finance before Booth and wanted to continue her trajectory in that realm, it was exposure to investment banking during Orientation+ that guided her first-year coursework and summer internship interest.

    “We get off to a very early start here with orientation, including Industry Immersion and career-related panel discussions. Later on there are Corporate Conversations,” she says. “It helps educate us in term of our options and a complete understanding of what is, for example, investment banking. Not just the day-to-day job functions but also the long-term opportunities and what is expected from those career tracks.”

    Bayasaa was an especially desirable candidate for her summer associate internship because she was able to take advanced classes during her first year at Booth that allowed her to fill the gaps in her professional background. She spent nine weeks at J.P. Morgan’s Diversified Industries Investment Banking Group and made quite an impression on her team, whom she will be working with full time after graduation.

    “There was an instance where we were looking at the structure of a certain transaction and evaluating the different tax implications related to it,” Bayasaa recalls. “When I mentioned my thoughts on how we should approach the issue, the full-time members of my team were truly impressed that I not only understood the situation but also had the ability to analyze the different options that were available and could recommend a solution.”

    Bayasaa says what she learned at Booth her first year, whether it was macroeconomics or finance accounting or leadership, taught her how to look at a situation from every different angle possible: “You are able to grasp the issue better and come up with an optimal solution or the best strategy when it comes to dealing with a problem.”

  • Profile

    Elizabeth Han, '14

    SV Life Sciences

    When she started business school, Elizabeth Han was interested in making a career switch to venture capital. She’d previously been in consulting and market strategy in the health care space, when a project she did for an incubator piqued her interest in VC. Without Chicago Booth, Liz says, she wouldn’t be where she is today—starting her new full-time role at venture capital firm SV Life Sciences, which focuses on opportunities in biotech, medical devices, and health care services.

    “The past two years really enabled me to accelerate in figuring out where I wanted to be and to make a quick transition to a new field,” says Liz, who did a summer internship with SV last year and was subsequently offered a position to work with the same team in a full-time capacity upon graduation.

    Liz was impressed with the sheer scope of experiential learning options in VC available through Chicago Booth. Student groups, competitions, fellowships, and labs gave her a wide range of ways to get involved outside of the classroom.

    “Hyde Park Angels, PE/VC Lab, Venture Capital Investment Competition, I thought those were great supplemental programs that aligned well with the courses I was taking,” Liz says. “And I liked the comprehensiveness of the MBA program offered at Booth.”

    Part of Booth’s multidisciplinary approach to business education is rooted in the enthusiastic engagement between people and a willingness to challenge assumptions—your own, your peers, and your professors.

    “Booth is very much an open and supportive community. In terms of being challenged, we would have pretty good discussions where I might have an assumption and I would get asked about it, and not because my classmates wanted to prove me wrong, but because they were genuinely curious and wanted to hear my thought process,” says Liz. “And ultimately we arrived at a better outcome as a result of the discussion.”

    During her internship at SV, Liz’s responsibilities included identifying potential investment opportunities for companies. She used the frameworks from class to develop an understanding of the market and the impact of different business decisions.

    “You need to be able to recognize what assumptions you should challenge and how to ask about those assumptions in the right way,” she says. “When is the market going to take off? How big is it? What are the dynamics? And what are viable business models?”

    Liz rejoined her SV Life Sciences team in September and continues to focus on health care technology and services, delving into everything from sourcing deals to investment opportunities to working with portfolio companies. “I can see myself in venture capital for a while, but knowing that in five, ten years, somewhere down the line, if I decide to switch careers I will have the frameworks and the support network of my classmates and fellow alumni I gained from Booth.”

  • Profile

    Eric Jeng, '13

    Disney

    In his first year at Chicago Booth, Eric Jeng found his niche in the film industry—not a traditional market for MBA students, but the Chicago MBA is effective in any field or focus, including entertainment. Eric comes from the West Coast with an undergraduate degree from UCLA and a previous career as a CPA in Silicon Valley. He points out the irony of moving 1,700 miles away from Hollywood to end up pursuing a profession in the movie business. But for Eric, the education he’s getting could happen only at Booth and is exactly what he needs to get his start and create a successful career in the film industry.

    “My classes at Booth have shaped the lens through which I view the film industry,” says Eric, who had a strategic planning internship within Disney’s motion pictures division over the summer. “For example, what makes these major movie studios unique? In terms of Disney, what is its competitive advantage? What added value does Disney bring to the industry?”

    Those are some of the questions Eric learned to ask when tasked with predicting box office trends across the international theatrical landscape and analyzing strategic decisions around the release and distribution of Disney’s movies.

    “At Booth you’re taught it’s just as much about asking the right questions as it is about finding the answers … and not just answers, but solutions,” he says. “Though the film industry was never specifically discussed in my classes, the frameworks, conceptual tools, and ways of thinking we learn can be applied to any business situation or challenge.”

    In Eric’s case, that means finding solutions to the bigger issues faced by movie studios as they navigate through constant technological and behavioral changes in the wider ecosystem of entertainment.

    “I’m fascinated by how technological and economic pressures can shape an art form,” Eric explains. “Right now the constantly evolving nature of entertainment, the growing influence of international markets—these forces can all potentially alter the type and styles of the films we see.”

    While learning how to use The Chicago Approach as a way to analyze the impact of economic pressures on an art form, Eric was also learning a lot about himself as a leader through LEAD, Booth’s leadership development program. It was eye opening to see differences between how he viewed himself and how others viewed him. He says that sort of self-awareness was crucial in understanding his leadership style and gleaning critical insights from outside perspectives.

    “Leadership development continues to grow through the personal interactions we have with one another on a daily basis, whether during a case discussion for class or a creative writing session for Follies,” Eric says of his co-chair role in the year-end skit performances put on by students. “I continually re-examine myself to figure out how I can best build relationships and trust to lead the group to the best show we can produce. That kind of awareness is what I realized through LEAD.”

    After graduation, Eric hopes to work at a major movie studio, which likely would mean a move back to Los Angeles. Wherever he goes, Eric will carry with him the leadership awareness he gained at Booth, as well as the fundamentals of how to approach and solve wide-reaching problems that affect the future of entertainment around the world.

  • Profile

    Sachin Kashyap, '13

    Janus Capital Group

    Sachin Kashyap spent the summer interning with Denver-based Janus Capital Group, a global investment firm. The company recruits with only a handful of the top business schools, and fortunately for Sachin, Chicago Booth is one of them.

    “It takes a village to make a great research analyst,” Sachin says of the support he has received from the Booth community. “I got my internship with Janus through campus recruiting.”

    Nearly half of first-year Booth students find their internships through campus recruiting, organized by Career Services. In addition to facilitating relationships with hiring companies, Booth helps its students connect with others who have similar interests and career goals.

    “As soon as I was admitted,” says Sachin, “I connected with Dain Tofson, now an alumnus. At the time, he was co-chair of the investment management student group at Booth. I looked him up and we sat down for coffee. He gave me some of the best advice you can get when recruiting for investment management.”

    Tofson, who is currently with Institutional Capital LLC, told Sachin to have his stock pitches down pat. When he goes to an interview, he needs to be able to talk about what’s in his portfolio, and know those companies left, right, and center. Sachin took Tofson’s suggestion to heart and ended up with one of only two summer intern positions offered by Janus this year.

    “I had no idea how seriously loyal Booth alumni are,” notes Sachin. “They really want to make sure other Boothies do well and have gone out of their with way visiting the campus and expressing interest in interns.”

    The tight-knit Booth network is a part of what makes an MBA from Chicago unique. It’s not just about being linked to 49,000 alumni around the world. It’s about the way Booth people like to help one another. This “pay it forward” attitude goes beyond making introductions or to getting a foot in the door; it pushes individuals to challenge one another to be the best and to really know their stuff.

    “When you go through that process of people questioning you and saying, ‘Have you thought about X, Y, and Z? And what is the impact?’ there is an appreciation of, ‘Do you know what you’re talking about? If not, let’s help you learn.’ That roll-up-your-sleeves and get-it-done mentality, a genuine concern for your success—it’s something I see from the alumni here, and it’s humbling.”

    Rigorous discourse around ideas and a sense of responsibility stem from an intellectual curiosity and respect for others’ perspectives that is intrinsic to Chicago Booth culture. It leads to insights on how organizations function, markets work, and people make decisions.

    “One of the hallmarks of a great investor is someone who can think about an opportunity and boil it down to the two or three critical factors that drive the outcome,” says Sachin. “You’ve got to figure out what matters, and everything else is noise. When you have a group that forces you to think logically and analytically about the issue and what’s the impact of the issue, you become really powerful in your thinking.”

  • Profile

    Darren Spicer, '13

    The Cambridge Group

    As a professional soccer player, Darren Spicer didn’t have a business background when he decided to get his MBA. In fact, he had never had a desk job. Booth provided him the opportunity to not only build his business acumen from the ground up but to also experience the day-to-day of working in a fast-paced firm, where he found his passion for consulting.

    Booth students test their interests through student clubs, experiential learning, and summer internships. Darren saw his internship as a chance to try consulting and to get a feel for what the everyday entailed. It also gave him a setting in which he could use what he had learned in class to address real-life business problems.

    Darren recently completed his internship at Chicago-based consultancy The Cambridge Group, where he worked on a project for the beverage unit of a large consumer packaged goods company. “TCG is a smaller firm that almost exclusively does growth strategy,” he says.

    “Booth was crucial in preparing me for what I came against this summer. First, by being able to tackle a really big nebulous problem. To break it down and understand everything that’s going on, all the factors and considerations you need to take into account.”

    Darren’s team was charged with figuring out what kind of consumer the client should target for a particular beverage category, and what different consumer segments want in a beverage.

    “Problems are never clear-cut,” he says. “There are always many different aspects to consider—the consumer side and their interests, the competitors and what they might do, the market and how it’s doing, and whether there are any macro trends. It really helped me to have a framework to approach the issue from all sides.”

    Darren and his team conducted primary research. They created surveys, talked to consumers, collected input, and analyzed the results to answer the question: What do people really want? “When you have a structured way of looking at those problems,” he says, “it makes it easier to solve them effectively and gain insights into what will give you the best outcome.”

    Darren’s multidisciplinary approach is shared by many of his fellow colleagues at The Cambridge Group. The company hires a considerable number of Booth graduates to join the firm. When asked why they recruit people from Booth, Darren replies, “Because we are able to delve into the difficult challenges in a way that is very quantitative, analytical, rigorous, and also very collaborative at the same time.”

    He credits that reputation and distinctive Booth education with getting a foot in the door at firms where he otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity. Most important, the introduction to consulting over the summer allowed Darren to confirm his curiosity in the field and put him on the right path to kick off a new career upon graduation.

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