Kedaresh Deshpande, '16, designs lighting systems and controls as a product manager at Acuity Brands in Chicago. To better understand what it takes to move a product from the design phase to manufacturing to sales, he decided to pursue an MBA. Kedaresh’s research led him to Chicago Booth’s Evening MBA Program, a 90-minute commute from his suburban Chicago home.
The biggest benefit of Chicago Booth is the flexible curriculum. All the other schools I looked at required the first five or 10 classes to be taken in a certain order. At Booth I could really customize my MBA and shuffle the order of classes so they aligned with my professional goals and needs. For example:
• My Operations Management class gave me the tools to show my company how discontinuing unprofitable products can boost the bottom line.
• Strategies and Process of Negotiation gave me insights into getting executive approval for my plan. We expedited our product rationalization process by two or three years, which helped improve our margins significantly.
• In Pricing Strategies I learned how to prevent a price war with my company’s competitors.
• The New Product Development class helped me devise the right approach to designing products that customers would love.
The long-term return on investment on my MBA has two parts for me. Financially, the increased income over the next 10 years will make up for the investment into my MBA. Most importantly, access to executives, future leaders, and faculty through the Booth network is the real ROI. As I get into senior positions, this network will get me market info, and executive career opportunities.