• Profile

    Anthony Dedousis

    Catapult Sports

    "I love basketball. I love baseball. I've followed those sports all my life," says second-year student Anthony Dedousis. So before business school, while working in corporate strategy and consumer banking at Capital One, he decided to pursue a career in sports—and a well-rounded education at Chicago Booth.

    "Sports organizations are very much a business. They haven't always been run that way, but they're starting to become more analytical," Dedousis adds. "They're starting to appreciate the MBA skill set."

    Through Booth, he enhanced his skills in entrepreneurship and leadership, and connected with sports teams, leagues, and businesses that partner with sports organizations.

    During his first year at Booth, Dedousis cemented his transition away from banking and corporate strategy by landing an internship in the Chicago office of Catapult Sports, a small but growing Australian company that makes wearable devices and software for elite athletes.

    "I've been very pleased," Dedousis says of his MBA decision. "The Booth program has over-delivered."

    "My role at Catapult is in corporate development, but it's a small organization—about 60 people worldwide and 15 in the Chicago office—so I'm sort of a jack-of-all-trades. I'm working on strategy projects, I'm doing market sizing, I'm researching competitors, doing basic M&A analysis, I'm helping give presentations. Really, it's a pretty fluid role."

    Dedousis says that from his first days at Booth, LEAD and other courses have prepared him well for his big career move.

    "I've developed better leadership skills, and I can communicate in a way that gets my ideas across. The experience of LEAD, the experience of working in small teams in various courses, have been very helpful in helping me address the little subtleties of communicating beyond the actual words I'm saying or the words in an email," Dedousis adds.

    "I know these are small things, but they've been helpful as I adapt to working in a small environment, which is different for me, considering that I was in a very big one before."

    Classroom time also produced on-the-job breakthroughs, Dedousis says.

    "One of the assignments I've worked on at Catapult has been trying to estimate how big the potential market size is for our devices and software.

    "I've done this before, in one of my favorite classes, Commercializing Innovation," taught by Scott F. Meadow, clinical professor of entrepreneurship. "I just pulled up the model from the class and tweaked it, so I found that to be very handy."

    Dedousis further impressed his colleagues by helping his manager prepare a presentation during the much-watched NBA Summer League, which attracts many of Catapult's customers. And he contributed thought leadership during a quarterly sales meetings, drawing again from classroom experience.

    "We had an interesting, freewheeling discussion for about 90 minutes," he recalls, "and I was able to bring up parallels and examples I had learned about from my marketing and competitive strategy classes: 'This company does it this way for this reason. Maybe we should think about doing that because we're similar in this way.' So I was applying some of what I'd learned in classes from cases. I felt very much like a part of the conversation, that people cared what I thought."

    Outside of class, Dedousis strengthens his leadership skills as a co-chair of the student-led Media Entertainment and Sports Group and a co-chair of the music-focused student group AudioBooth. For fun, he helped start a band that's gaining a small following.

    All of that happened because he came to Booth to follow his passion for sports.

    "Most MBAs are a passionate group. They're a smart, hard-charging, ambitious group," Dedousis says. "When you're in an environment where people are exciting and capable, it challenges you to raise your game. It creates opportunities to bounce ideas off each other and create groups and events."

    "Being in that sort of environment has made me more creative, has made me a better leader and even more of a people person. In any sort of business environment, whether it's sports, entrepreneurship, or anything else, having those kinds of relationships and people skills are valuable."

  • Profile

    Tim Fries, '15

    Baird Capital Partners

    "The path from mechanical engineering to private equity is not a traditional one." Tim Fries, '15, earned his bachelor's degree in the former, but turned his sights to business school after he realized he enjoyed the analytical thinking and problem solving aspects of engineering more than the design process.

    After spending four years in various consulting and operations management roles at General Electric, Fries came to Chicago Booth to develop his skills in financial accounting and strategy. One month after graduating, he joined Chicago-based private equity firm Baird Capital Partners as a Senior Associate.

    "Having the Booth mindset of developing and teaching both the theory along with the application of that theory, I think it gives you a very real connection when you're working in the real world," Fries says.

    Fries also held an internship with Baird between his first and second years in the Full Time MBA Program. In his current role, Fries guides deals involving manufactured products for Baird's U.S. private equity division. Lessons learned at Booth, especially from the Private Equity & Venture Capital Lab, are "extremely relevant" to his day-to-day responsibilities.

    "In our global sector meetings every other Monday, I am asked to come up ideas for investment strategies and to present them in a concise but still fairly comprehensive way so the partnership clearly understands the opportunity," Fries says.

    His unique path to private equity also informs his approach to the job. "One of the expectations is, 'Hey, we're going to bring somebody with a different point of view,' but you need to be able to voice your opinion and not just be comfortable with the status quo. And that's not necessarily easy when everybody else has a different background."

    Fries said the ability to tailor his curriculum at Booth "exceeded expectations"—it let him not only develop specific skills he was seeking, but also allowed him to take courses that challenged his way of thinking.

    "I thought Booth did a great job both through the lab class, giving you a practical understanding," Fries says, "but also through just the curriculum and the academic rigor that teaches you the theoretical underpinning for why the practice is the way it is."

    In particular, Corporate Governance and a University of Chicago Law School class on structuring private equity transactions broadened his horizons. "When I go into board meetings I have a good sense of how the governance process is supposed to work, and what to maybe suggest if it's not running like it should," Fries says.

    He also credits his exposure to Booth's world-class faculty, and opportunities to network and find mentors among more than 49,000 alumni as factors that have instilled in him a sense of confidence that he carries into the workplace.

    "It's very competitive, but at the same time we're all pulling in the same direction," Fries says. "It’s being around people who are highly motivated not just to win but to win the right way. Just being exposed to the level of debate and ideas and demonstrated success that you see is hugely valuable."

  • Profile

    Michael Larrenaga, '15


    Armed with a double major in finance and accounting from the University of Southern California, Michael Larrenaga '15, began his career in the consumer investment banking group at Piper Jaffrey. Here he discovered a passion for the consumer segment of the market.

    Larrenaga looked to "transition from a very analytical background in investment management into a more creative role in marketing where there is a lot of quantitative data that needs to be broken down." He determined an MBA would jump start the transition by filling his void in marketing knowledge.

    Larrenaga was drawn to the quantitative aspect of Booth's approach to marketing, and the resources of the Kilts Center for Marketing.

    "The Nielsen database on campus was really cool," he says.

    Larrenaga tapped the knowledge gained from the Pricing Strategy course for a project he was given during his summer internship with L'Oreal. "I needed to figure out what attributes make a retail location more successful than another," he says. This required significant data to support his proposed three-year growth plan for the Giorgio Armani brand.

    The combined development of leadership and "use of soft skills to influence people even beyond your title and to enact change" through the LEAD program is "one of the most fundamental changes" he experienced at Booth.

    "It covered so many different aspects of things that I like to do in terms of organization and performance."

    Larrenaga also enjoyed working as a LEAD facilitator and ambassador for the incoming class. "Working as a facilitator was just awesome. For me, the whole process was just a great growth and development exercise."

    "I identified a couple of areas where I could get better. Notably, not dominating conversations when it comes to group processes and being able to let everyone be heard."

    "There is so much opportunity for feedback. It was very helpful to me internally adjusting myself to work better with others."

    A recipient of a Chicago Booth Leadership Award of Distinction, Larrenaga says it was "a real validation that I had done something unique that people valued."

    Larrenaga also highlights Booth's focus on frameworks and Managing the Workforce, a course focused on how human resources designs roles and how to manage employees. As MBA graduates head to managerial positions and to hiring people and creating jobs, "I think it is very important to be able to have that kind of background. We're probably going to be using that approach to working with human capital."

    "Then you can get the right kind of people for the right jobs."

    "Career Services was absolutely vital to my job search," says Larrenaga. He used the department for assistance with everything from scheduling interviews, career coaching, and even assistance with negotiating his full-time offer. "Negotiating an offer is an anxiety producing task."

    Larrenaga successfully negotiated his current role as an associate in the management development program at L'Oreal where he is "working to create general strategic outlines" for any of the global consumer company's brands.

    "Booth really did help me bridge the marketing gap in my experience," says Larrenaga.

  • Profile

    Natalie Wilson

    Current Booth student

    Evaluating the next move in her career, Natalie Wilson found herself at the intersection of business and social impact. Her experience at Booth helped her plot a course for impact investing and venture philanthropy.

    As a single mom, Natalie needed to balance her career goals with her personal life. Booth made it possible by providing flexibility in curriculum and a supportive community. "I wanted to be somewhere that I can take classes when I want," says Natalie. "I was able to pick and choose the classes that I want to take and really design my curriculum around my interests."

    Natalie chose an MBA to develop her leadership and management skills. In addition, she is the inaugural recipient of the Lauren and Keith Breslauer, '88, Social Impact Scholarship, a scholarship created for students with career ambitions in social entrepreneurship and impact investing.

    Natalie immersed herself in experiential-learning opportunities at Chicago Booth to support the exploration of her industry focus. "I've been really fortunate to do a lot outside of the classroom," she says.

    As a co-chair of Net Impact, a student group focused on the business of social good, she's connecting with alumni and second years exploring careers within social impact consulting and broader interests within the non-profit space.

    Last year Natalie participated in an impact investing seminar as a result of a collaboration between Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the MBA Impact Investing Network and Training (MIINT). More competition than seminar, students explore sourcing a local social enterprise investment and competing through a pitch presentation, a process Natalie says is as much a value add for the organizations as it is the students who participate.

    As a Board Fellows Program member, she established an associate board for New Moms, an organization that provides resources like support and housing to teen mothers in Chicago. "I've been able to see the non-profit management angle and how board governance works," says Natalie.

    Natalie's summer internship with A Better Chicago, a venture philanthropy fund focused on education investments and providing management support, was exactly what she was looking for. "It was like working at a strategy consulting firm but investing in non-profits," says Natalie. "They have a very data driven model and I felt like that aligned perfectly with some of the things I learned at Booth."

    She highlights specific activities, such as sourcing pipelines, and the increased confidence she had in meetings with CEOs and executive directors of local non-profits as a result of her Booth experience. "I had the confidence to be in the room and ask tough questions to get them to really speak to their impact," says Natalie.

    In addition to her social impact specific leadership roles, Natalie is also involved in the African-American MBA Association (AAMBAA) and Mothers at Booth. "I've wanted to not only push myself to be a leader on campus but handle and juggle multiple leadership opportunities because that's how I see myself in the future," says Natalie. "Whether it's being on boards, and still being active at my career and being involved at home. I want to figure out how to balance that and step out of here and have that skill set developed."

  • Profile

    Kristen Uyemura, '15

    Boston Consulting Group

    Kristen Uyemura, '15 chose Chicago Booth to learn the frameworks and business acumen to transition from public to private sector consulting and jumpstart the growth of her professional network.

    Kristen spent three years with the Civic Consulting Alliance in Chicago, an organization that provides consulting services for local Chicago government offices. "I looked into transitioning into a private sector consulting role that would broaden my experience, but I found that it was very difficult to do," she says. Kristen was advised by mentors and colleagues to pursue an MBA. Chicago Booth was the obvious choice, as Kristen holds a bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of Chicago.

    "All of my experience was in the non profit sector and I didn't really have any particular understanding of the business world," says Kristen. "Booth taught me how to think broadly and consider the bigger problem and larger context." In addition, she combined her non-profit interests and developing business skills while serving as co-chair of the Net Impact Club, Booth's social and non-profit impact organization for students.

    Kristen cites three classes—Game Theory, Managerial Decision Modeling, and Big Data—as invaluable courses in her professional and personal growth and approach to analyzing problems and challenges.

    Game Theory helped her to shape the way she thinks and to quantitatively analyze problems by using fundamentals and patterns to make sense of complex situations. "I feel like it helped me come up with new ways of thinking about things," she says. "It definitely helped me understand issues in my personal life as well, and gave me frameworks for analyzing those and understanding them in a way that I hadn't previously."

    "Managerial Decision Modeling was about solving problems using Excel models and that's something that I'm definitely going to be doing as a consultant," she says. "The class really helped me gain confidence in my Excel skills."

    During her first exposure to statistical programming, in the Big Data course, Kristen learned to use large sets of data and quantitative types of computation to solve problems.

    The support and assistance of the Career Services team fueled the desire to be a Career Advisor and continue paying it forward within the Booth community. "They were extremely helpful to me," she says. "Several rounds of editing my resume, doing practice interviews with me, and giving feedback on cases." Kristen coached first-year students looking to work in consulting by helping them to prepare for interviews and providing coaching throughout the career search process.

    "One of the great things about Booth, really, is that there's a lot of peer support," says Kristen. "I think the second years really helped the first years to a great extent and I found that really helpful when I was a first year."

  • Profile

    Jacqueline Zhang, '15

    Oppenheimer Funds

    Jacqueline Zhang looked to Chicago Booth for a formal education in investment management. What she got was much more. Beyond hedge funds and portfolio management, she honed communication and collaboration skills to help her reach her potential as a leader in the global marketplace.

    Prior to arriving at Chicago Booth—her first time in the United States—Jacqueline Zhang's international exposure was limited to Asia. She was working in investment management in Shanghai after receiving her undergraduate degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

    In Shanghai, her personal and professional paths crossed with many Booth alumni where she noticed a commonality in their intellectual approach, diligence, and work ethic. "They personified Booth," says Jacqueline. "The idea of impact and inquiry with a style that's very down to earth but also very intelligent, professional, and capable. I knew when I pursued my MBA degree, that I would do that with Booth."

    Jacqueline understood the importance of broadening her knowledge from the China market to a more global focus to lay the foundation she needed to become a successful investor working in capital markets. "I needed to learn from the most advanced capital market in the world, the U.S.," says Jacqueline. "I needed a formal business school education and real job experience in advanced markets."

    At Booth, she served as a coach for the investment management group and a fund analyst for the student managed investment fund. "I had a chance to work with many students from different geographies and play different roles; sometimes coaching, sometimes listening."

    She found her Booth classmates constantly challenging each other. "There are always questions other people pose that you've never thought about before and in order to sell your ideas, you have to communicate in an effective way," says Jacqueline. "In terms of the investment management group leadership role, I had an opportunity to coach a lot of first year students in their job seeking process. They all came from different backgrounds, different geographies, and had different ideas about what an investment management role meant for them," she says.

    Through these leadership experiences, Jacqueline increased her confidence levels to both lead and communicate effectively in group situations, a skill she put to use in her summer internship with Advisory Research, Inc. in Chicago. "I learned to take initiative. It's not like you wait for others to tell you what to do."

    Jacqueline gave birth to her first child, a boy, in June. In August of this year she joined the investment market team at Oppenheimer Funds in New York, N.Y. in a role that impacts portfolio management decisions for Oppenheimer and the daily operations of the companies she covers in designated markets. Jacqueline makes "buy and sell" recommendations to the portfolio management team for listed companies in the Asian, South American, and Central Europe markets using the multi-disciplined approach she learned during her time at Chicago Booth.

  • Profile

    Andrew Edelman, '15


    On the second day of class, Andrew Edelman, '15, became a father for the second time.

    Even during the emotional high of the birth of his youngest son, Andrew understood that this wasn't the only big adjustment he was facing.

    The former vice president at a boutique alternative investment management firm was at Chicago Booth to forge a new path into the technology industry.

    "After two years of investment banking and four years of investment management, I was looking to follow my passion for the tech industry and dive into a more operational role," Andrew says.

    "I knew that business school was the right vehicle to transition myself from a financial services individual contributor to a manager in an operating role at a technology firm."

    "Today I am a management associate in the Rotational Leadership Program at Box, a cloud content collaboration firm here in Silicon Valley"

    Edelman knows he couldn't have made the transition alone, counting on the support of his wife and other family members—his aunt and uncle are Booth alumni—as well as the Career Services staff members at Booth.

    They helped him zero in on his career goals, and they were a sounding board when he prepared his strategy to secure an internship.

    "As a career switcher," Edelman says, "it was really important to surround myself with a very supportive Career Services staff. They helped me think through my plan and be really strategic about it."

    He accepted an internship offer from Google, working in the tech giant's SMB Solutions group.

    "We did sales and product strategy for AdWords for small and medium businesses. It was a great experience to be at a very large tech company and understand how a company of that size and scale operates and how they structure their decision making."

    "It was a wonderful experience. The culture of people I was surrounded by was intoxicating. But I felt at a company of that size I would not have as visible of an impact as I wanted."

    After the valuable internship, Edelman was hired into a corporate immersion program for future leaders at Box.

    "They bring in MBA graduates to complete three nine-month rotations in different groups across the organization. We lead cross-functional, high-impact projects that really don't have a home anywhere else. We drive the projects towards completion or to the next step."

    "Specifically, I'm working on the implementation of the recently announced partnership with IBM. I'm working with every organization across the company -- sales, marketing, operations, marketing, legal -- to develop our go-to-market plan to make this partnership with IBM a transformative relationship for Box."

    "At the end of the two years, I am well positioned to take on a people manager role somewhere in the organization, having built this very diverse experience set."

    Edelman is pleased to have found a good fit at Box: "I have visibility directly up to the CEO, Aaron Levie. A small group of us had dinner with him in my second week here. It's great being in that environment where you're directly seeing results of your work."

    Edelman looks back fondly on his time at Booth: "I wanted to switch industries, I wanted to switch functions, and I wanted to switch geography—a lot of people told me that it was not possible. But thanks to Career Services and mentors in the Booth Technology (student) Group, I was able to position my experience and my background in a way that set me up for success."

    It was more than Booth, of course.

    "The experience at Booth couldn't have been possible without the support of my wife and my family. Even someone with a wife and two kids can still have this very full experience at Booth and get as much out of it as anyone else."

  • Profile

    Giuliana Reis, '16

    Current Booth student

    Giuliana Reis was drawn to the data driven approach, stimulating academic experience, and supportive community of Chicago Booth. "I ultimately chose Booth because of the people," says Giuliana. "Once you are a Boothie, you are a Boothie forever. I decided that's the community that I wanted to be a part of."

    After receiving an undergraduate degree in business from Insper in Brazil, she spent two years in investment banking, both in mergers and acquisitions and equity capital markets.

    In May 2014, Giuliana founded Tripda, a carpooling platform, with the assistance of the incubator Rocket Internet. The service is currently being used by 10,000 people across 10 countries in the Americas and Asia. It is an impressive feat considering she launched the business just before coming to Booth, and has continued to grow the international company while pursuing her degree.

    Giuliana was also named one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Marketing Professionals in Brazil by Proxxima Magazine.

    She used her summer internship with one of the largest food companies in the world, BRF, to put her first-year classroom learning to use in their Sao Paulo and Dubai offices. There she was tasked with finding growth opportunities for the company in Africa and Middle East for the next three years�a mix of strategic planning and business development.

    She credits frameworks learned in her competitive strategy course and Booth's multi-disciplinary view as valuable assets in analyzing the market data to pinpoint the dominant markets and provide recommendations on the markets to be developed throughout those regions.

    The Firm and Non Marketing Environment, a course that focuses on relationships between governments and companies, proved helpful in business development for both her internship and with Tripda. "I had to understand the non-market environment of different countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia."

    Giuliana's experiences at Booth are helping her develop a global perspective by immersing her in other cultures, allowing her to study abroad in a country other than her native Brazil, and make an impact on the world.

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