Alumnae Q&A: Career Impact

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There are multiple facets to a two-year MBA experience at Chicago Booth. Perhaps the most obvious is the lasting impact a Booth MBA has on your career. No less important, however, is the opportunity you’ll have to feel the strength of our supportive community and the time spent surrounded by bold, academic thinkers. We sat down with four alumnae—Selena J. Roker, ‘10, Jasmine Richards, ‘11, Ameerah Phillips, MBA ‘17, MPP ’17, and Chinwe Aneke, ‘15—to discuss their Booth experience. One of the areas we focused on was the impact Booth had on their careers. Read on to hear their insights.

What were you doing before you decided to apply to business school?

Ammerah: Before Grad School I worked in the non-profit sector, specifically in community organizing in Chicago. Prior to that, I worked for an international education organization.

Selena: Before applying to business school, I was working for the company formerly known as Lehman Brothers. I worked as an analyst in their Investment Management Division. My team was responsible for helping to acquire other Portfolio Management companies and then training them on our systems once they came over with their book of business. We also performed yearly reviews of Investment Managers and their investment strategy.

Jasmine: Before deciding to apply to business school, I was working on Wall Street as a sell-side equity research analyst. I covered Technical Analysis with a senior analyst who was ambitious and supportive of my professional growth.  Even though I’m originally from Queens, NY, I attended high school in Massachusetts and college at MIT.  After having been away from home for so long, it was great to be back in New York City where I could see my family and friends on a regular basis.

Chinwe: I was an electronics engineer at an engine manufacturing company. I worked there for over 6 years before Booth.

Why did you decide to apply to business school?

Selena: While I enjoyed my work at Lehman Brothers, I really wanted to explore the Investment Banking side of the business and the only way for me to do that was to be recruited directly from business school.

Jasmine: Despite what felt like the world falling apart during the 2008 financial crisis, I was in a dynamic environment that allowed me to stay positive and live relatively comfortably. While that lifestyle had its benefits, I was in my 20’s and wanted something more. My decision to apply to business school was largely driven by that desire to once again get out my comfort zone, push myself academically, and pursue greater professional success.

Chinwe: I found that my career path was going to be very technical/engineering-heavy and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go down that path. Although I enjoyed my work at the moment, I didn’t see myself doing that for too long.

How do you continue to make an impact in your organization by having your MBA from Chicago Booth?

Ammerah: The same intellectual curiosity that was fed and nurtured at Booth now serves me at work. I’ve grown more confident asking questions—a lot of them. I ask about processes. I question assumptions. I drive deeper. This rigor and thorough approach to my work helps me get up to speed quickly (particularly helpful given the rotational nature of my work), and is evidence of my active engagement with the teams and projects with which I work, as well as challenges the status quo for the better. Inquiry yields insight which leads to impact.

Selena: I have been with Chick-fil-A for the past 8.5 years. I came straight here from business school and started off as a Financial Consultant. For six years I was responsible for helping Franchise Owners increase profits and incorporate systems to maximize operations in their business. Two years ago, I was approached by the Marketing department to come serve as a Sales & Brand Growth Consultant. I was hesitant because I had become quite skilled (and comfortable) in my role. However, I took the leap of faith and welcomed the opportunity to put my finance and strategy concentrations to good use.  

Jasmine: A hallmark of the Chicago Booth MBA program is the ability to choose everything. There is no pre-defined curriculum, there isn’t a prescribed neighborhood where everyone lives, you even have choices of which campus to attend for classes. During my first year, I personally grew through the process of making thoughtful, independent decisions about how I wanted to design my career at Booth. I am now the Head of Diverse Investing at Cambridge Associates, a newly formed research team. In this role, I find myself chartering a new path and building on those skills built at Booth. Outside of the plethora of analytical finance tools which are par for the course at Booth, I’m also using my experience making thoughtful decisions with incomplete, imperfect information to create a new platform focused on increasing equity within asset management.

Chinwe: As a marketing professional in the energy industry, I’m using a lot of the analytics and economics I’ve learned at Booth to derive insights and make data-driven decisions that make an impact.

 

Check back as these alumnae share their insights on the impact Booth has had on academic exploration and the Booth community.

Alumnae Bios

Ameerah Phillips is an Associate in the Management Associate Program (MAP) at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., a two-year MBA management training program. There, she will complete four six-month rotations across the firm in wholesale, consumer, and corporate businesses, across diverse functions and geographies.

Jasmine N.  Richards,  CFA,  joined  Cambridge Associates in 2018 as Senior Investment Director, Manager Diversity to lead the firm’s ongoing initiative to identify and research institutional-quality investment managers in all public and private asset classes that have diverse owners or leaders, including women and people of color.

Selena J. Roker received her MBA with concentrations in Analytical Finance, Accounting, and Strategy in 2010. She has worked for Chick-fil-A Inc. since graduating from Booth and two years ago transitioned to Marketing from the Finance department.

Chinwe Aneka works in Strategic Pricing at ExxonMobil. In the nearly four years she has spent at ExxonMobil, Chinwe has worked in both strategic pricing and strategy implementation.