We recently sat down with Brigitte Anderson, ’08. Brigitte was able to connect with Booth alumni through her work at a major financial institution, which helped drive her decision to attend. Since graduating, she became the founder and principal of Orange Vista, a consultancy focused on market research. We sat down with Brigitte to ask her some questions about her experiences both at Booth and beyond.
What were you doing before you decided to apply to business school?
I had a fairly typical pre-MBA path. In late 2005, I lived in New York City and worked as an associate for a major financial institution. I was coming up on four years of post-college work experience and was ready to apply to a full-time MBA program. A number of individuals at my firm were alumni of Chicago Booth and I started going to different local events for prospective candidates to get a feel for the school. I’m all about primary market research!
When researching Booth’s program, what surprised you most about the faculty?
I think what has surprised me most about the faculty were the myriad interests. When I went to business school at the age of 25, the topics of human psychology, social network theory, decision-making, and leadership development weren’t top of mind for me. But, as time and my career have progressed, there comes a point where you can display technical competency in a topic, but it is the “soft skills” that can really take your life and career on a different trajectory. I started reading books on some of these topics and I was often surprised to learn that several major thought leaders came from Chicago Booth.
What did you discover about your fellow Boothies?
I discovered that my peers were brilliant, funny, and mostly humble people. They came from a variety of professional backgrounds. In addition to the standard pre-MBA business trajectory of many typical MBA candidates, I remember meeting former teachers, military veterans, professional gamblers and artists. It was quite a mix.
What student organizations and community involvement helped shape your experience at Booth?
I keenly remember the African-American MBA Association, which provides a forum for interaction between students of African descent at Chicago Booth with the school community, corporate partners, and the city of Chicago. I also worked with the admissions office to interview applicants and I had a brief stint in the Chicago Booth Soccer Club during Spring of my second year.
The recruiting process can be a bit exhausting. What type of support did you get from the community?
Yes, let’s be honest about it. Recruiting is exhausting, but it is an integral component to the Full-Time MBA experience. You need to go through recruiting because most likely you will be recruiting for something or the other (a spouse, a job, a promotion) for the rest of your life. The best support that I received from my peers was social support in the form of dinners, drinks, and good conversation. When things didn’t go exactly as planned in the world of recruiting (they rarely do), my peers provided guidance and perspective.
Is there any one professor that made an indelible mark on you?
One professor that made a lasting impression on me was Jonathan Frenzen. He ran the New Product Development Lab, formerly known as The Management Lab. At the time, the words “experiential education” were not in my vocabulary, but it is a big part of my life nowadays.
How does your Chicago Booth MBA help you make an impact in your organization?
In terms of impact, in the last few years I’ve become very interested in technology, creativity, and innovation. I think MBAs, Booth MBAs in particular, bring an analytical rigor to problem solving and empirical sizing up of opportunities. However, with innovation you are often looking at early stage concepts or sometimes just an idea. So, you have to be somewhat non-linear in your thinking of where something is and where it could be. As a result of my interest around these topics, I have discovered a variety of entrepreneurial and social impact-driven programming facilitated through the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation. Meeting people through these initiatives and collaborating on projects together has been a highlight. In the process, I have discovered there are so many ways to be involved with the Booth community and that people harbor many skills and talents that are not evident by simply looking at a resume. It is where people show up and how they show up that drives a lot of impact.
Brigitte Anderson, ’08, is Founder and Principal of Orange Vista, a consultancy focused on market research.
Brigitte began her career in the financial services industry and spent nearly a decade in a variety of strategic and operational roles in Chicago, New York, London, Johannesburg, and Nairobi. Most recently she worked at a consumer-focused digital health company. Brigitte holds an AB in Anthropology from Princeton University and an MBA from Chicago Booth with concentrations in Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship. She is currently pursuing an MS in Biomedical Informatics at The University of Chicago with a focus in Population Health.
In her free time, Brigitte enjoys playing tennis, traveling and attending cultural events. She is Secretary of the Scenemakers Board of the Goodman Theatre and a Vice-President of the Princeton Club of Chicago. In addition, she actively mentors within initiatives that support the growth of small businesses on the South and West sides of Chicago.