Booth "Conversations" Providing Connections and Insight

Chicago Conversations logo
 A chance to hear the latest from experts in a wide range of industries and connect with other executives drew increasing numbers of alumni to Chicago Conversations events over the 2009 - 10 academic year, prompting Chicago Booth to expand the program to Singapore, Frankfurt, Santiago, and Chicago.

Hosted by Career Services, the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development, and the Office of Admissions, the events were held for the first time in Boston, where participants discussed investment management, and Philadelphia, where they spoke about health care. Some of the gatherings were sponsored by such corporations as Goodyear, which hosted a December discussion on manufacturing in Shanghai.

A conversation on innovative marketing in the Bay Area drew an audience of 130 people. Sponsored by Electronic Arts, it was hosted by chief information officer Dennis Self, ’99. “The panel members were clearly the ‘A team’ of the marketing world. All of them had incredible breadth and depth of expertise and insight,” he said. “Equally remarkable is how engaged the audience members were during and after the panel discussion.”

In April, Nicholas Alexos, ’88, cofounder and managing director at private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC, in Chicago, moderated the Philadelphia discussion about health care. “Given the way health care is changing, this was a great opportunity to bring together very knowledgeable people who could explore the possible ramifications,” he said.

Booth hosted two events in New York, one focused on turnaround and restructuring, the other on entrepreneurship, both of which drew substantial audiences, according to Julie Morton, associate dean for Career Services. “Despite the strong finance focus of New York, it showed people are thinking more about entrepreneurship,” she said. “Part of our goal in organizing these events is to provide our alumni with the latest information on the industry and facilitate key connections.”

Additionally, Chicago Conversations events included discussion of financial services in Hong Kong in December; risk in London in January; and clean technology in the Bay Area in March.

Full Calendar for 2010 - 11

During this academic year, new Chicago Conversations events are planned that expand the program’s global reach. In Chicago, the April event will focus on marketing.

The Singapore talk on November 15 will focus on private banking. The March 16 discussion in Frankfurt will focus on private equity. The Santiago event, set for March 23, will focus on infrastructure. Among the speakers scheduled is Alfredo Moreno, ’82, Chilean minister of foreign affairs.

Originally planned to provide detailed conversation about particular industries, the events also have become a draw for alumni who live in the area but work in other fields, Morton said. “They come because they want to meet other alumni, students, and prospective students, as well as company representatives in their city,” she said. “It strengthens their professional network in different businesses.”—P.H.

Career Services Adds LinkedIn Subgroup

In order to expand networking opportunities for the Chicago Booth Alumni and Student Network on LinkedIn, Career Services has added a career-focused subgroup. Launched over the summer, the subgroup provides weekly discussions from the global Career Services team, news articles that feature industry trends, and job posting highlights on Global Talent Solutions (GTS), a portal through which hiring managers can advertise career opportunities to the Booth community.

“Social media sites and resources are used by students and alumni around the world,” said Gabriela Monterroso, Career Services employer development manager. “We hope to provide additional means of receiving information and updates via a resource that students and alumni use on a daily basis.” The main group, coordinated by the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development two years ago, united about 60 Chicago-affiliated groups on LinkedIn for more efficient networking.

The new subgroup features a weekly discussion on career-related topics and articles and highlights GTS job postings. “We encourage discussions among the Chicago Booth community around job leads, employer outreach, recent news articles, upcoming events, and career coaching tips,” Monterroso said. “While the global Career Services team will post and discuss regularly, Chicago Booth students and alumni are encouraged to pose to the community their own career-related questions and advice.

“By using a popular business social media resource in conjunction with our existing initiatives - including the Career Services blog and CareerCast - we hope to increase our visibility, provide relevant career-related content, and continue to facilitate connections among the Booth community,” she said. “Career Services is dedicated to helping our students and alumni realize their career goals and to finding new ways to connect with our global community.”—K.F.


Booth Hosts Deans' Roundtables in Ten Cities

Students in 10 cities around the world had a chance to share their internship experiences with senior Booth administrators who visited them in Boston; Chicago; Cupertino, California; Hong Kong; Houston; Los Angeles; London; New York; San Francisco; and Seattle.

Stacey Kole, deputy dean for the Full-Time MBA Program, and Julie Morton, associate dean for Career Services, hosted Deans’ Roundtables, meeting with dozens of interns to discuss whether the jobs matched their expectations and how well prepared they felt.

Among them was first-year student Jillian Gerngross. “I was confident entering my internship at this summer knowing that Chicago Booth had prepared me for the experience,” she said. “I was able to choose the classes that helped me develop skills specific to the internship, rely on my alumni Marketing Mentor for company-specific advice, and speak with second-year students who had interned there.”

At Amazon, Gerngross said, “I realized the daily expectation of unique thought and high-quality work at Chicago Booth, a standard that seems to be unique, was the true preparation.”

For first-year student Bowen Hsu, connecting with classmates helped him secure a pair of seven-week summer internships in southern California. He found one post at McMaster-Carr Supply Company by reaching out to a former undergraduate classmate, Jason Park, a manager at the firm and a student in the Evening MBA Program. “Next thing I knew, I had a phone call from someone in the company’s Chicago office, and an hour later, I was scheduled for an interview here in Los Angeles,” he said.

Hsu found his second internship with Volcom, a surf, skate, and snowboard apparel company, over lunch with classmate Caroline Liu in the Kovler Café at Harper Center. “We were talking about recruiting. I gave my pitch on ‘the perfect internship company,’ and she said, ‘You should work for Volcom. I was on the team at Wachovia that took Volcom public.’ She sent my resume to her former managing director, who sent it to one of the executive team members at Volcom.” The end result was an internship at the firm for Hsu. “Depending on how it goes, I may owe Caroline my first-born child when all is said and done,” Hsu laughed.—P.H.

Last Updated 11/19/10