When pursuing his MBA, the number one priority for Gilad Andorn was having the ability to control his own journey and set the path that was right for his career goals. The flexibility of Chicago Booth's curriculum allowed him to explore his options, including entering a start-up into the New Venture Challenge, interning at a local venture capital firm, and participating in the PE/VC lab class. Hear how Gilad utilized Booth's resources to make the most of his MBA »
Q: Why did you want a Booth MBA?
GA: When thinking about getting an MBA I really wanted to challenge myself, build tools, and gain new skillsets. I was looking to create something of my own and to have that ownership. I like adding value to the world, and doing something positive, so combining entrepreneurship with social impact drove me. That connects very nicely with Booth, where I could control my own journey and take full responsibility for my destination.
Q: Why was it important for you to carve your own MBA path?
GA: I think it relates to being an officer in the Israeli Defense Forces, and then working as a Management Consultant. There was a very interesting contrast between the two, and I learned a lot through those vastly different experiences. In both positions there was a lot to be said about people who looked to drive results, drive impact, and take ownership in their industry. I appreciated those qualities among my peers, and I respect the managers I worked with who took control of their own destiny. I’ve aspired to do so as well.
Q: What interactions did you have with industry leaders while at Booth?
GA: When I came to Booth, I was amazed that I now had the ability to just walk up to a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the biggest VC investor on the West Coast and introduce myself. Then it would develop into a coffee chat and the opportunity to pick their brains in a one-on-one meeting. If that person was a Booth alumnus, it created an instant connection. I think the ability to create those relationships with smart, interesting people is unique, and it amazed me when I first got to campus. Booth gives you the stage to access these incredible resources—you just need to grab the opportunity.
Q: What has your experience been with the Private Equity/Venture Capital Lab Class?
GA: One of the greatest opportunities I had at Booth was the PE/VC lab class. You learn behind the scenes theories in class, and put them to practice interning two days a week at a venture capital or private equity firm. All the practical tools you learn in class can be implemented at the internship. I worked at a company called VestedWorld—a VC firm based in Chicago that invested in Eastern and Western African seeds investments. I was able to take part in different activities, from raising a new fund, to actually doing due diligence, and sourcing companies. It's a unique experience to really get to know an industry with zero risk.
Q: What were the benefits of group work as a part of your classes?
GA: Chicago Booth puts a lot of emphasis on group work. You gain friends and experience working closely with other people, and this is encouraged from early on in the Leadership Effectiveness and Development class (LEAD). You may find yourself leading and taking charge in one group and in another acting as a contributor. During LEAD, you learn the difference between those two types of roles and the importance of both. Booth also has a very diverse community, so I had peers from different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences in every new group. I gained so much just from interacting with everyone.
Q: How did you surprise yourself while at Booth?
GA: There are so many resources open to Booth students, and I surprised myself with my ability to really make the most of all of them. It can be intimidating when a CEO or visiting alum gives a presentation to Booth students, and you have the option to walk right up to them. I come from a culture where things are much different, and I’m proud I had the courage to take advantage of that opportunity. The entire community at Booth really pushes you to do things like that, whether it’s during class, recruiting, or in your social life. With such a supportive environment, I was surprised at how easily I could challenge myself.
Q: What is a common misconception about Booth?
GA: When people think of Chicago Booth, they’ll often think first about a heavily academic, robust curriculum. While that’s absolutely true, Booth is also just genuinely a fun experience. People there are super outgoing, and it’s such a diverse class. You will meet someone you connect with strongly. If you love to party, Chicago is perfect. If you like to spend nights with strategy games, there’s a dedicated group for that. Everything we do reflects how diverse the community is. It's much more than just academically challenging, and we’re much more than just finance experts. Everyone has a space at Booth.