Bittersweet Season

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It’s graduation time for Chicago Booth’s executive MBA students. For most, it’s bittersweet. The months of balancing demanding work schedules, family time, and a rigorous MBA program are coming to an end. Schedules are breathing a sigh of relief.

However, it’s also time to say farewell to the dynamic learning environment and the classmates who contributed so much to the experience. Of course, relationships are grown and maintained after the program, but the learning environment is difficult - if not impossible -- to replicate. Where else in one’s life can a cohort of 90+ people representing many industries and experiences meet on a regular basis and discuss the world economy, accounting standards, workforce incentives and M & A transactions in the company of faculty experts?

One of the constants I have noticed in my years working with executive MBA students is the overwhelming confidence that comes with earning a mid-career MBA. This is exemplified, of course, on their smiling faces but more remarkably, on their future career aspirations. Knowledge about a myriad of industries and the analytical frameworks that can be applied to them generate an incredible level of confidence that is impossible to gain from the day- to- day workplace. I suspect that the confidence gained by our executive MBA students is directly related to the entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial aspirations that so many of them have - especially at graduation time.

An entrepreneur is defined as one who starts a business or other venture that promises economic gain but that also entails risks. An intrapreneur is defined as a person within a large organization who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.

What fitting descriptions for our students! Knowledge from the program creates the necessary confidence to envision themselves in these roles.

So it’s time for our students to move on and take the program’s portable benefits with them - the ability to think differently, analyze problems efficiently, ask the right questions, and above all, the CONFIDENCE to do these things effectively. And don’t forget the valuable resource of a global network of colleagues a phone call or email away.

Congratulations to our wonderful executive MBA students as they start the next successful chapters in their lives…..

Patty Keegan