From The Bar Exam To The Ballet Bar

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I was recently in Washington DC to host a Chicago Booth Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Reception. I always enjoy visiting DC and catching up with our current students, alumni and meeting future Booth students. The highlight of this trip was visiting Kate Arnold's (Evening MBA alumna) Bar Method studio and attending a class. Fitness is a big part of my life and I consider myself to be in pretty good shape. I asked Kate beforehand if I should take a beginner or mixed level class. I was glad I took her advice and took the beginner option. The Bar Method is like no workout I have ever done. It was a challenge for my mind and body, and I loved every second of it!

The Bar Method Studio (750 Ninth Street NW, Washington DC) is beautiful, has great amenities and a very welcome and supportive staff. What I enjoyed most was seeing how Kate has turned her dream into a reality. You may be surprised to find out that Kate is a lawyer by trade and only recently took on this entrepreneurial venture. Chicago Booth was instrumental in her career change. Her transition from passing the Bar exam to running a Bar Method Studio is best described by Kate herself:

"I graduated from Duke Law School in 2001 and spent almost 10 years working in large law firms - first as an associate and then managing their recruiting and marketing departments. I worked at Simpson Thacher in NY (as an associate), Akin Gump in DC (as an associate and then as a manager), and Skadden in Chicago (as a manager). I enrolled in Booth because, although I had a solid legal background, I didn't have a strong business foundation and knew it was a necessity for advancing within law firm management. Before my time at Booth, I never would have dreamed of owning my own business. I thought I was destined (sentenced) to work at a law firm for the remainder of my career. Six months prior to graduation, my husband and I decided that we would move back to DC after I graduated because he was working with various government agencies and tired of the business travel. Having fallen in love with The Bar Method while living in Chicago, my first thought was that I wanted to live close to The Bar Method Studio. When I found out there wasn't a studio in DC, my first reaction was that we couldn't move to DC and my second reaction was that I could open a studio. After numerous discussions with Bar Method Headquarters, my husband, and my Booth colleagues, I realized that this was something that I could actually do - both financially and personally. My Booth colleagues were extremely helpful during the early days of this process - helping me brainstorm regarding financing options, marketing strategies, etc. We even made this endeavor the topic of a group project for a Networking class. I graduated from Booth in June of 2010 and spent the next 12 months negotiating the franchise agreement, locating real estate, negotiating my lease, working with architects and contractors, hiring and training employees, working with PR companies, etc. and finally opened our doors in June of 2011. We have been open 4 months and the local response has been terrific.  The press has embraced us: we have been in local magazines and on CNN! We have devoted clients, many of whom have seen tremendous changes in their bodies - including clients who have lost more than 10 inches and 2 sizes in 3 months. It has been a challenging and rewarding process and I am 100% sincere when I say that I couldn't have done this without my Booth education. Not only did it give me fundamental skills upon which I rely and use daily, but it also gave me confidence and credibility that I otherwise would not have had."

Check out Kate's studio on Facebook!

Kara Northcutt
Associate Director of Admissions