Puzzling Times


Our final deadline for applying to the Executive MBA Program at Chicago Booth has passed. For the next few weeks we are busy conducting interviews, evaluating applications and putting the final puzzle pieces together for the new class that starts in June.

I like the analogy of a puzzle for a few reasons. When you look at a puzzle piece by itself it doesn’t give you a very good indication of what the whole picture is. Think of a big jigsaw puzzle when you have dozens of pieces that are just blue for the sky. You start putting a few of the pieces together and you create separate groups of connected pieces and you can start to see the whole thing coming together. You are just missing a few of those connecting pieces.

At this point in the process we have some of the spaces in the class together. We have a few different industries represented and a few different job functions. We have people from California, Texas, New York, etc. I’ve read applications from Doctors, Lawyers, Industry leaders in Telecommunications, Oil & Energy, Marketing, Investment Services and even a Navy Fighter Pilot. With this last group of applicants we are looking for pieces that fit together with the ones we already have. Not all pieces fit with each other but once you get them all in the right places they generally create a pretty nice picture.

What happens during the program is a whole different part of the puzzle making process. Now that the pieces are all in place they get glued together. This was a difficult puzzle to complete. During the 21 months as all of the pieces learn how they fit they realize that they are at their best when they are together.

I truly enjoy helping to put this puzzle together, learning what each individual piece has to offer and watching the pieces fall into place. I look forward to seeing the whole picture once the program starts in June.

Toby Cortelyou