A Confident Swagger

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So, you think you earn an MBA degree from Chicago Booth? Think again.

Our Diversity Series opened in Chicago last month with a panel of African-American alumni describing the “swagger” they attribute to their Chicago Booth education. The panelists were quick to point out that the “swagger” is not arrogance - rather, it is a confident aura that comes from being educated at Chicago Booth. It comes from learning solid business fundamentals and learning how to build a valuable network of colleagues.

Bill Osborne, one of our alumni panelists, added that he “learned to work and think independently.” He attributes that skill to his Chicago Booth education. “In the real world, things are not structured; there are no frameworks nor guideposts and Booth prepares you for that.”

Val Van Meter said that “if you enjoy learning, this is the place; if you just want the degree, don’t come here. Professors get to a certain point in their classes and say this is what you learn everywhere else, but we go further and go into theory. You come away with a much richer understanding.”

Galen Williams meets regularly with classmates to “talk shop.” He is able to gain good advice and work on his swagger. He went on to explain that “you don’t want to be handed somebody else’s stuff no matter what - you want to know what’s going on and be involved in the creation of that stuff. Booth learning and credentials allow you to be the creator. I never want anyone to question my credentials.”

Having watched alumni like Bill, Val and Galen experience the Booth EMBA program and its intangible benefits, I was enormously proud of what Booth and EMBA programs contribute to mid-career individuals.

Look out for that swagger next time you are in Chicago.

Our Diversity Series brings together diverse groups of panelists to discuss the common theme of the Chicago Booth MBA experience and its impact on one’s career. Moreover, the series connects Chicago Booth alumni, current students and prospective students and illustrates the importance of MBA education, networks and the value of diverse perspectives in the workplace.

Patty Keegan