Advancing in Your Career



Last month was a big deal around Booth. A whole new group of Executive MBA students graduated. This made me think about Executive MBA alumni and how far they have gone. The more I thought about it, the more I smiled. So many alumni have taken started with a goal and used the MBA to realize their aspirations. You might think that everyone has a background in finance (after all, this is Booth). What I learned that successes are as varied as alumni graduating from the Executive MBA program. Here are just a few members of the “Executive MBA Hall of Fame”.

Peter Browning (C-Suite) - entered the Executive MBA program with a vision of rising to the C-suite. While a worthy ambition, many people talk about this and yet few achieve it. He spent 24 years with the Continental Can Company, including President of two different divisions. He joined National Gypsum Company and in a year was elected Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of National Gypsum Company, seeing the company through and out of bankruptcy. He joined Sonoco Products Company, (a $4 billion global packaging company) where he last served as President and Chief Executive Officer. Today, he sits on several corporate boards and leads a board advisory consultancy. Peter didn’t just hope he would land in the C-Suite, he took calculated risks and leveraged his Booth MBA to get there.

Paul Drury (Private Equity) - wanted to pivot his commercial banking experience into a career in private equity. While many dream and even believe they will create a career in PE, few accomplish this. Paul knew he would need to make a commitment and leverage his twelve years at CIT Group managing the Midwest Region’s business development team. Paul was very smart about his search. In many ways, Levine Leichtman Capital Partners ( LLCP), a private equity partnership, was in his sweet spot. LLCP invests in middle-market companies, a segment where Paul was already an expert. At Booth, it’s crucial to know your competitive advantage and capitalize on it.

Bryan Johnson (Entrepreneur) - is a serial entrepreneur best known as the Founder of Braintree. Started by Bryan in 2007 and profitably bootstrapped for four years, the company twice qualified as one of the fastest growing businesses in America (Inc. 500 2011 & 2012), acquired peer-to-peer payments provider Venmo, and is regularly covered in Wired, Inc., TechCrunch, NY Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2013, the company processed more than $12 billion in payments from all over the world. Braintree was acquired by eBay for $800 million in 2013. Bryan was named to Crain’s Chicago Business Tech 25 in 2011, Tech 50 in 2012 & 2013, and 40 under 40 in 2012. Mega-successful entrepreneurs, like Bryan, grow in the fertile entrepreneurial culture at Booth.

Maria Kim: Social (Enterprise Executive) - recently became CEO of the Cara Program, a Chicago-based social purpose organization helping adults affected by homelessness and poverty to secure and sustain quality employment. Previously, as Chief Operating Officer, Maria had oversight of Cara's service delivery across the enterprise - including the recruitment, training, placement, retention and advancement services for the individuals they serve - as well as the visioning of how to bring those services to greater scale. Booth develops many leaders, like Maria, who leverage business knowledge and savvy to do well and to do good.

When you look at these alumni and understand each of their stories, you can see what’s possible for you with vision, determination, and a Chicago Booth MBA.

More next time,