Jon Park came to Chicago Booth looking for flexibility. With a solid background in finance and banking and a coveted position with the federal government, Jon wanted to expand his knowledge and skillsets without sacrificing the career he had work so hard to build. The Weekend MBA Program was a perfect fit with Jon’s schedule, even when an illness forced him to take a quarter off, but he soon realized that “flexibility” has many meanings at Chicago Booth.
“The Weekend MBA Program allows me to basically shape the MBA program to what I want it to be, to meet my needs instead of the other way around,” he explains. And like so many other Booth students, that freedom allowed him to explore other disciplines and find areas of interest that he never would have imagined before he enrolled.
Jon registered for a course called Building the New Venture. He had never seriously considered entrepreneurship as a possible career path for himself, despite being a sideline supporter of entrepreneurship. The course is a competition where teams of students develop a company and run it through an 18-month simulation where they experience the highs and lows of starting a business. When Jon’s team initially presented their product to the class, the professor, Craig Wortmann, asked who in the room would invest in the company—not a single hand was raised.
“It was very humbling, but in the end we decided they were right,” Jon explains. “When we regrouped, we came to the conclusion that our idea was solid but we didn’t have a very good presentation. We used it as an opportunity to grow and learn from our mistakes.” It was a lesson the team clearly took to heart because at the end of the quarter Jon’s team placed second in the class competition.
In addition to a newfound connection to entrepreneurship, Jon also formed a bond with his professor. “Craig was just a great teacher. His style was really energetic and he was also humble and open about the mistakes he’s made in the past and how to learn from them.” Jon went on to say, “Even though the class is over, I’m still in contact with him. When he was in DC, I actually met up with him and he helped me connect Booth and the University of Chicago with a nonprofit that I’m volunteering for. He’s just very caring and goes above and beyond what you would expect from a professor.”
Northern Virginia/Washington, DC
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – Accounting and Information Systems
Federal Government, Project Leader and Auditor
Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance
Christians in Business, Booth Social Impact