When selecting an MBA program, Michelle wanted a challenging program that balanced academic rigor with the flexibility to continue her career.
Finding an MBA program that allowed me to learn and work at the same time was really important to me. And yet, I wanted to earn my degree, not just check that box. I think that’s one of the unique things about Chicago Booth. You get that academic rigor while still having the flexibility to continue your career.
And the curriculum is very rigorous. It’s a challenging environment, and they expect a certain level of commitment from us in the classroom. It definitely demands a lot of our time and dedication. We’re challenged to learn the material, work with our teams, and push one another to come up with the best answer. But that’s what ultimately prepares us for the next challenge that comes along. That’s why so many companies send their employees here to help them to take the next step in their careers. As we go through the curriculum, we can immediately apply the different tools and techniques we’re learning in the classroom to our current workplace.
It’s a huge commitment traveling to Chicago and dedicating a workday and weekend here at school, but it’s broadened my perspective and I know my company has already started to see the return on its investment. You get a great educational foundation here, and your level of confidence improves almost immediately. You’re learning leadership skills and inspiring others to take that next step with you. I think that leaving here, you’re automatically prepared to demonstrate those values, and your company will recognize that. Your promotions are not going to be too far off.
One of the things I like about the faculty at Chicago Booth is that they’re always looking to learn from us as well. Many of them even tell us that one of their favorite parts of the Executive MBA Program is that the students are willing to challenge them. They like being pushed. They want the learning to go back and forth. So we challenge one another and we challenge our assumptions and conclusions, which provides a robust dialogue. It really shows you how even these esteemed and recognized scholars are committed to continuous learning, and seeing that ultimately cements the same value in you.
Chicago has been a unique opportunity for me because I’ve gotten a global experience. I’ve been with the same company since I started working, so having the opportunity to come together with students from all different industries and backgrounds from all around the world helped me to relate better to others in the workplace.
The study groups are really helpful in the way they replicate team environments at work. I mean, you never know what group you’re going to be assigned to or have to pull together to complete a new project or to achieve a goal. The study groups give us a safe environment to identify and better understand other people’s strengths and weaknesses and contemplate how we might leverage those in our workplaces to create the best outcome possible.
I’ve realized that everyone has a different experience and different skills that may or may not apply to the problem at hand. Everyone has a unique perspective and we’re willing to challenge one another. That’s one of the things that appealed to me about the Chicago Approach. It pushes us to examine what we know, and how we know it, and then to find ways to identify the best strategy moving forward. So we learn to interact, as a team, to achieve a common goal. It gets embedded in our learning process and impacts how we tackle problems.
And our friendships here aren’t just business-based. They’re really strong, and become personal very quickly, because we all spend so much time together. That produces an incredible bond in the professional realm, and in your personal life as well. I think that’s the beauty of having the Booth community be so global. You never know where your next job will take you, or what experiences are coming up for you, but coming from Booth, you know you’ll always have colleagues wherever you are, in whatever industry, all over the globe. That’s a great asset that I definitely plan to leverage in my future career.