When I made the decision to leave a job I loved in San Francisco to pursue my MBA at Booth, I, like many of my classmates, didn't have a firm idea of what to expect. To me, Booth, and the broader University of Chicago, were associated with Friedman economics, flexible curriculum and data-driven everything. I wasn't sure how any of that would translate into the greater "MBA experience," but as Year 1 draws to an end, I better understand that the school's reputation draws in the intelligent, free-thinking student population -- my classmates -- who have defined what Booth has meant to me so far.
Meeting hundreds of new people across the first few weeks of LEAD was overwhelming, but I also found the experience to be unifying and beautiful. The lifestyle changes many of us felt when moving to Chicago for this two-year journey were initially jarring, so knowing that hundreds of others next to me were experiencing the same transition was a constant reassurance. Those first weeks presented an opportunity to start making new friends, start digging into new projects and start bettering ourselves by implementing learnings from LEAD.
As I didn't know many MBAs before coming to Chicago, I also had no idea of what to expect from my classmates. What I did discover, however, has been the single greatest aspect of the experience thus far. I count many of my Booth colleagues among the most fascinating people I've been fortunate enough to cross paths with. While many Boothies could indeed be considered "quant jocks," I find this stereotype to be an honor but also quite limiting. "An honor" because we live in a world that is increasingly being driven by data (a pattern I certainly felt in the Bay Area); thus I find our quant reputation to be intensely relevant. And "limiting" because I feel Boothies are so much more that. The Boothies I know are also creative, hilarious, outspoken and socially-conscious. Indeed, the Booth cohort is far more diverse than our reputation allows: We want to pursue our interests across every concentration offered by Booth, but we also want to change the world.
In short, coming to Booth was one of the best decisions I ever made, and I'm only half-way through. First years: I look forward to seeing you all in the fall and hearing about how you likely crushed your summer internships. Second-years: I look forward to seeing you in the pages of The Wall Street Journal and Businessweek as you likely crush the real world.