You Don't Have to be Stuck

Executive Alumnus Ludovic Humbert participates in discussion

Ludovic Humbert, '14, participates during a special event hosted by the Harry Davis Leadership Center.

106 Alumni Return to Chicago to Pursue Personal and Career Evolution 

Lydie Roux, ’08 is accustomed to traveling long distances. As General Manager for MSD Animal Health in Istanbul, Turkey, she has visited many countries in Europe and the Middle East and regularly commutes back to Paris where her partner works. Despite her busy schedule, she has found time to return to Chicago over the past 10 years for Elective Weeks.

Elective Weeks take place each August on our Hyde Park campus in Chicago and offer second-year Executive MBA students the opportunity to choose four courses from over 29 different offerings. As an added benefit, Executive MBA alumni are invited to come back to enroll in courses they may have missed as students. This year was a record year for alumni attendance, with a total of 106 alumni heading back to Chicago.

For many, this is a worthwhile opportunity to reinvigorate business skills. It’s also a rare chance to reconnect with classmates dispersed across the globe. For Lydie, it’s personal – “all of my best friends are Chicago Booth alums.”

Howard Polinski, ’08, a private investor based in Warsaw, Poland, returned to class out of his own intellectual curiosity. He focused on operations and marketing, enrolling in Strategic Service Design and Delivery and Pricing Strategies. “The classes are demanding, practical, and provide tools and applications for the real world,” he said. “This is one of the strongest points for alumni – as your work evolves, opportunities evolve, and you have this chance to come back for a week to learn and refine.” 

In addition to refining old skills, some alumni come looking for new ones. Dan Carroll, ‘12, Founder and CEO of Advocate Financial Solutions, LLC in Chicago, is in the process of launching a new business with two former Chicago Booth classmates. He attended class with the specific goal of learning techniques that could be put to use in his new venture. “I wanted to reconnect with my former classmates and other students, but I also wanted to take Platform Competition with Professor Austan Goolsbee because it relates to my current entrepreneurial endeavors. The course was fantastic. I gained several new frameworks for better understanding the competitive dynamics of Platform business models that has immediately informed my decision-making and strategic thinking.”

Not all time was spent hitting the books. Given the rare opportunity for so many Executive MBA alumni to gather in one place, there were social activities and moments of reflection. The Harry Davis Leadership Center hosted two special events for alumni to share personal stories on topics they face as senior leaders in their organizations. In a session lead by Professor Davis, a small group of alumni spoke candidly about taking on personal and organizational risk, experiencing failures, and understanding outcomes. Throughout the session, Professor Davis encouraged alumni to continue experimenting in their work and lives, and collecting evidence on the results. “You don’t have to be stuck,” he said. “Taking on risk can help you to explore new passions and interests.”