One of the things that Andrey appreciated most about Chicago Booth was that its Executive Program was actually equivalent to its Full-Time Program, in terms of faculty, coursework, and rigor.
One of the things that appealed to me about Chicago Booth’s Executive MBA Program was that the education and degree really are equivalent to its Full-Time program. Having done quite a bit of research on different schools, I found this to be rare and something that makes Chicago Booth such a unique opportunity for working professionals.
The Executive Program has the same requirements and demands as Booth’s Full-Time curriculum. And fortunately - or unfortunately, at times - you feel that during your classes. It’s tough and very demanding, but in the end, it’s very good. One of the reasons I came to Chicago Booth was to get a more systematic knowledge of concepts that I’d either learned superficially in my former roles, or hadn’t yet been exposed to. I was not very confident in a number of fields, but in coming to Booth, I’ve developed a confidence in such a wider range of business areas.
The Chicago Approach teaches us to challenge everything we encounter. It teaches us to question and dissect for ourselves all the information that we review, whether we read it in the newspaper, or it’s coming to us from our own company. Booth has taught me that before I rely on any data or information that I receive, I must first understand the methodologies and agendas of the sources that I collect it from.
We saw the application of this approach, firsthand, in the classroom. A professor would make a statement in one of our classes, but then a different professor, in another class wouldn’t deny that statement, but they would give you a different perspective on the same idea. For example, in microeconomics, we study market highs and lows, and in doing so, we assume that the market is rational. But at the same, time, we’re studying behavioral psychology, so we’re aware that there’s a psychological aspect in market behavior, as well. It’s not always just rational. I’m a member of the board of my organization and when we discuss P&Ls or our plan for next year’s sales, my approach to understanding the data and the way that I’m responding to it has already changed. Chicago Booth has given me a much stronger grasp on what’s really happening in the business world.
It’s true that everyone here is intelligent, but there’s also an intellectual atmosphere here. Everyone really has a very active attitude toward learning and wants to dig deeper into the concepts we’re exploring. I must say, during the discussions, it’s difficult to say who’s challenged more - the students or the professors. The students challenge the professors quite frequently and the professors are really open to this process. They always offer explanations and never take offense. Even when we’re just exchanging ideas with one another, we really challenge each other. And that’s very helpful. It forces you to defend your position, which is very useful in the business world, as well.
Once you arrive here, you start to feel a sense of community very early. Even at the kick-off week ceremony, you begin to feel that all these people around you are here to support one another. We’re all a part of a big family - a family that’s made up of our classmates, but also of all those who’ve graduated before us. We really are all here to help each other and we do interact a lot.
Booth has helped me to really look at things more deeply and to examine what’s below the surface. You have a much better understanding of how to plan your business and what the fundamental indicators are that you should be looking at to evaluate your results.