A Unique Post Graduation Plan

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On Saturday, June 9th, 199 Evening MBA and Weekend MBA students will walk across the stage and receive their diplomas at graduation, having successfully navigated the challenging yet rewarding Booth curriculum. Many of them will remain with their current employers, having already obtained promotions, changed their role within the firm, or been given increased responsibility. Others will move on to new challenges, looking for a change of industry or function to complement all they have learned as a Booth student. There will even be a subset of graduates undertaking their own entrepreneurial ventures, having developed or launched an idea while at Booth. And at least one of our students will be following a completely different path after graduation.

Mark O'Donnell began his Booth Evening MBA program in the Fall of 2009 as a Chicago Business Fellow and will be graduating at the end of our Spring 2012 quarter. Over the course of 11 academic quarters, Mark has taken classes in Accounting, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Finance, just to name a few. During his time as a student, Mark was employed by Metra, Chicago's suburban commuter rail system, as an Urban Planner. This summer, Mark will be headed to Canberra, Australia to research public-private partnerships (PPP) at the Australian National University, having been awarded the Fulbright-ANU College of Business and Economics Postgraduate Scholarship. Mark will be doing his research under the direction of Professor Warwick McKibbin and Dr. Timo Henckel, both of whom are experts on infrastructure and PPPs at ANU in the Research School of Economics and College of Business and Economics, respectively.

The research project on which Mark will be working will allow him to merge his professional experience and education in urban planning with the knowledge in finance, accounting, and economics he obtained at Booth. His research will focus on how the creation of "Infrastructure Australia" in 2008 has impacted PPPs in infrastructure projects in Australia. Mark's hypothesis is that the creation of PPP guidelines within "Infrastructure Australia" has increased the number of PPP projects in Australia. He will undertake both quantitative and qualitative analysis to better understand the impact, with an end goal of impacting the way that PPPs are initiated here in the United States, by highlighting best practices used in Australia. He will first analyze the differences between the countries' policies on PPPs, then move on to an analysis of spending on these projects in Australia both pre-and-post-2008, and finally add qualitative feedback from PPP professionals in Australia on the impact of these policies. Mark plans to submit his paper to the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships, which is a U.S.-based PPP think-tank.

Mark also intends to participate in activities outside of his research while in Australia. Having already completed the Illinois Marathon in 2011, Mark hopes to join the Runners Club at the YMCA of Canberra to train for the Canberra Marathon in April 2013. Mark also plans to tutor at-risk students, ages 12-15, in Canberra through the Students Participating in Community Enterprises program, in the hopes that they will be able to successfully complete their Year 10 Certificates.

An education at Booth can prepare you to be successful in any professional venture. From consulting to investment banking, from mission-driven organizations to entrepreneurial ventures, the faculty, students, courses, and extra-curricular activities in the Evening MBA and Weekend MBA programs will prepare you to take on your next challenge, whether it's before or after graduation. In the case of Mark O'Donnell, sometimes those challenges some from outside of the corporate arena…and half way around the world!

Humberto Freda
Assistant Director of Admissions