Alumni Weekend

Image by Beth Rooney

Alumni Effort Makes Reunion Weekend a Success

Class reunions in October gave more than 550 alumni a chance to reconnect, revisit Hyde Park, socialize, and celebrate, as well as raise over $1 million for the school. Organized by the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development, the weekend activities ranged from back-to-the-classroom sessions to golf outings to class dinners. The events drew warm reviews from those who attended, whether they had graduated recently or more than a decade ago.

“It was wonderful to reconnect with classmates, see what everyone is up to, and spend a few days back in Chicago,” said Leigh Winter Martin, ’05. “There were so many great events over the course of the weekend, including our class dinner on Saturday night, where we had a terrific turnout. It felt like our whole class was there,” she said.

One reason Reunion Weekend was such a success was the contribution of the 115 alumni who helped plan events and raise funds, said Tracey Pavlishin, ’06, senior director, alumni affairs and events. “Their participation was key,” she said. “Their peer-to-peer outreach led to over 2,300 alumni contacted, which helps strengthen the network.”

Pavlishin said alumni did a great job of fundraising as well. Among them was Veda Pai Panandiker, ’00. “Although I had never been involved in fundraising before, serving as one of the reunion class gift co-chairs was very fulfilling and easier than I thought,” she said. “It felt great to give back to the school by leading the fundraising effort and encouraging the whole class to collectively support the school.”

In fact, the reunion fundraising counting period went through December 31, and a significant number of reunion gifts and total dollars came in during the last two months of the calendar year. Overall, nearly 900 alumni gave more than $1 million. (For more details, see “Reunion Giving” at left.)

Alumni who worked on Reunion Weekend appreciated the support of Booth staff. “When I was asked to be the chairman of my 15-year class reunion I was a bit nervous,” said John Waller, ’95.

“To my surprise, working with the alumni office to organize the reunion turned out to be very enjoyable, and as with nearly everything the school does, it was personally rewarding. The alumni office staff did all the hard work, while the committee members provided input and feedback and made calls to fellow alumni. In the end, the reunion was a success,” Waller said.

Even those who had graduated just over a year ago were glad to reconnect. “I expected Reunion Weekend to be a lot of fun and an opportunity to reconnect with friends from school, but what surprised me was how much my classmates were able to benefit each other professionally right away,” Dan Frailey, ’09, said.

Other conversations were more light-hearted. “Memories of a great time at Chicago Booth were fully awakened, and we were all able to mutually confirm that we did not change at all in the last 20 years,” joked Helmuth Ludwig, ’90.—P.H.

For final Reunion fundraising results, visit

2010–11 ARA Scholarships Announced

Chicago Booth announced the recipients of the 2010–11 Alumni Recognition Awards, which provide a merit-based scholarship worth $10,000 to each second-year student winner. In addition, each student is linked with an alumnus who has excelled in his or her field and has agreed to act as a mentor. Students are chosen for outstanding academic achievement and community service during their first year at Chicago Booth.—P.H.

  • Jonathan Turnbull with Christopher Chan, ’86, managing director and chief information officer, JPMorgan Chase
  • Shantanu Khare with Maxim Donde, ’99, General Director, LUKOIL LLK International Lubricants Company
  • Ryan Varavadekar with Michael Fung, ’86 (XP-55), senior vice president of finance and strategy, Walmart Stores
  • Jeff Cullinane with J. A. Lacy, ’96, president and chief operating officer, FinishMaster
  • Guillaume Poujade with Wilson Ling, ’83, board member, Petropar S.A.
  • Simon Rees with Michael Osanloo, ’96, executive vice president, Kraft Foods
  • Ethan Levine with Stuart Porter, ’94, founding partner, Denham Capital Management LP John Hor with Susan Wagner, ’84, vice chairman and chief operating officer, BlackRock

Council on Chicago Booth Adds New Members

The Council on Chicago Booth welcomed its four newest members this fall. Janet Pucino, ’84, former vice president, Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc.; Richard Sykes, ’90, principal, McKinsey and Company; John Yoshimura, ’87, chief operating officer, A.T. Kearney, Inc.; and Cindy Zollinger, ’79, president and CEO, Cornerstone Research, joined the advisory board this year.

Chaired by John Edwardson, ’72, and comprised of alumni and supporters of the school, many of whom work as CEOs and as other senior officers, the Council advises the office of the dean.—K.F.

Alumni Trace Success to Booth

Finding success in diverse fields, the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award winners agreed the lessons they learned at Chicago Booth made a significant difference in their careers. Interim dean Harry Davis presented the awards October 1 during Alumni Celebration at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago.

Distinguished Corporate Alumni Award winner Glen Senk, ’80, CEO of Urban Outfitters, said, “A lot of what we do in retail is about monetizing creativity. The rigor I learned at Booth has served me phenomenally for the last 30 years.”

Mary Tolan, ’92 (XP-61), cofounder and CEO of Accretive Health, who received the Distinguished Entrepre­neurial Alumni Award, recalled her confidence as a student that she would never encounter anyone who had received a better business school education.

Delaware governor Jack Markell, ’85, who won the Distinguished Public Service/Public Sector Alumni Award, said his days at Booth taught him “to push back against conventional wisdom, bounce back after facing adversity, and work harder, smarter, and more effectively than anybody else.”

Distinguished Young Alumni Award winner Kathryn Mikells, ’94, CFO of Nalco and former executive vice president and CFO at UAL Corporation, said, “My brand image professionally really was created from the foundation of my education here at Booth.”

The event drew more than 900 alumni and friends of Chicago Booth, who celebrated their connection with the school.—P.R.

Read full coverage or view videos from the event.

Changes in Club Leadership

Six alumni clubs have announced new leadership.


  • President Craig Ginsberg, ’03
  • Outgoing president Susan Eslick, ’98


  • President Erik Wallsten, ’04
  • Outgoing president Gilberto Escobedo, ’94

Northwest Arkansas

  • President Runa Mitra, ’08


  • President John Flanery, ’06
  • Outgoing president Colleen Canale, ’84

Portland, Oregon

  • President Nitin Bhutani, ’99

Richmond, Virginia

  • President Dave Robertson, ’99

Event Lets Executive MBA Students Hear Tales from the Top

More than 100 executive MBA students and alumni attended Executive-in-Residence day in September and learned what it took for high-level executives to succeed. Hosted by Career Services, the event provided a series of one-hour, small-group coaching sessions where participants spoke with nine top executives, most of them alumni, from a range of industries.

Held during the executive program’s electives week, the event drew 124 students from all three campuses, and 17 alumni, who said they valued the unique setting for discussing their career paths. Among them was Richard Khaldi, an EXP-16 student. “It was fantastic to meet people who have reached the top and hear how they did it,” he said. “One of the most useful insights was that your career path may involve lateral or downward steps to keep you moving forward toward your goal.”

AXP-10 student Kristian Li agreed. “The day provided a unique opportunity to connect with senior-level executives in a small, intimate setting. I was able to ask specific questions related to my personal experience, and I was able to create a strong connection with one of the executives.”

Similarly, Glenn Allison, an XP-80 student, said he appreciated the chance to connect with Greg Wall, ’94, president and COO of New Buffalo, among other benefits. “It was not just a one-time transaction. Greg and I have kept in touch via email,” he said. “That’s an amazing value-add, to make connections that would otherwise not be possible.”

The executives-in-residence said the conversations with participants were mutually beneficial. Fred Zaeske, ’96, vice president and general manager, North America, at Zebra Technologies, said, “The thing that’s unique about this group was that most of them had significant professional experience, and many are incredibly successful already.” Glad to share some of his own experiences, Zaeske said, “I talked about 30 percent of the time; the students spoke the majority of the time, which is the way it should be. They were crystallizing their thoughts and sharing with each other,” a feature he attributed to the format. “The intimacy allowed a real dialogue and discussion,” he said.

Both Zaeske and Wall agreed they were happy to act as mentors for the day. “Mentorship is a profoundly impactful career influence, and Chicago Booth provided the ideal setting,” Wall said. Acting either as mentor or mentee is mutually beneficial and immensely rewarding, he added. “Listening to their ambitions, I was moved to step back and think about my next career move. Their passion reminded me that a career is not merely the summation of everything we prepare for, but also everything we dream about along the way.”A lunchtime panel featured all nine speakers, giving participants the perspective of executives across geographies and industries, said Allison. “It was good to hear the diversity in thought,” he said. When a question arose about the value of LinkedIn, panelists warned against relying too much on making contacts through social networking and stressed the importance of developing personal relationships. For instance, several said that by getting involved in charitable activities, they cultivated a network outside their industry that led to their next job.—P.H.

Executive-in-Residence Executive MBA Electives Week


  • Hemant Dandekar, ’00, president and CEO, Porcelain Industries
  • Jim Drury, ’66, CEO, JamesDruryPartners
  • Boyd Falconer, partner, Korn/Ferry International
  • Karen Greenbaum, ’02 (XP-71), chief operating officer, Nixon Peabody, LLC
  • David McKittrick, ’00 (EXP-5), vice president and general manager, EarthTec Inc., and managing director, EarthTec International
  • Robert Nagel, ’63, founding partner and chairman, CEO Partners, Inc.
  • Tandean Rustandy, ’07 (AXP-6), founder and CEO, PT. Arwana Citramulia, Tbk
  • Greg Wall, ’94, president and chief operating officer, New Buffalo
  • Fred Zaeske, ’96, vice president and general manager, North America, Zebra Technologies

Strong Job Market in Asia Attracts Booth Talent

A strong job market in Asia has meant more new jobs for Chicago Booth alumni and students, a trend Career Services staff spotted last fall. “Firms need to keep pace with the growth of their operations,” said Leslie Taylor, ’02, employer development advisor, Asia.

Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore have proven to be hubs for HR planning and recruitment despite the fact that they are considerably different markets, she said. More positions have opened in such emerging markets as Vietnam and India, “but their needs tend to be more industry-, language-, or country-specific,” she said.

Taylor has seen demand increase across all industries. “There’s huge demand from Google, Tencent, and SAP. There were openings in private banking, investment banking, global markets, private equity, and investment management,” she said. “Retail was hiring, from luxury brands to Walmart and Tesco, which have aggressive growth plans for China.”

Demand has been strongest for candidates who possess country-specific knowledge or language skills, and firms are more open to career-switchers who possess these skill sets, she said. “And there is a void of leadership talent across many industries in Asia partly due to the rapid growth in the region. Working in Asia is not for everyone, so that limits the pool of available talent. In Vietnam, for example, with the massive privatization of SEOs (state-owned enterprises), much private equity work is being done in the market, and general partners are in dire need of general management talent to run portfolio companies. Many companies have been family-run businesses with little or no processes or structure or systems. There is a need for folks to come in, roll up their sleeves, work very long hours, and creatively solve management and operational problems for these businesses, all the while keeping investors happy.”—P.H.

New Database Expands Resume Pool for Recruiters

A new resume database that acts as a resource for recruiters will put Chicago Booth talent in front of hundreds of hiring managers early in 2011. Launched by Career Services, the Resume Database for Alumni and Part-Time Students (RAPS) will be available to recruiters free of charge.

“RAPS will enable a broader range of firms, from boutiques and start-ups to multinational corporations, to search for talent among Chicago Booth alumni and part-time students,” said Julie Morton, associate dean, Career Services.

Located on MBA Focus, RAPS is accessible on the same website as the full-time and internship books, making it easier for recruiters to source all Booth talent, said Morton.

Booth began building the database in July. Since then, more than 800 candidates have activated their accounts and uploaded resumes. “RAPS will become available to recruiters when we’ve had a chance to build a robust candidate pool,” said Nima Merchant, assistant director of employer development for Career Services. “Meanwhile, recruiters are reaching out to us on a regular basis and we are providing resume referrals from RAPS.”

Additionally, Career Services staff will be promoting RAPS to all of its recruiting contacts and will continue to market the tool to new companies.—P.H.

Learn more and for directions on uploading your resume to the database.

VC Market Is Perfect for Entrepreneurs

Despite the seemingly staggering dips since 2000 in VC investment and in the number of VC firms still standing, now is a great time to be an entrepreneur, said Vishal Verma, ’07 (XP-76), partner in Edgewood Ventures, LLC. “The market is getting much more efficient,” Verma said during the entrepreneurship panel of Chicago Conversations hosted by Kicklabs in San Francisco in October.

Among the signs of significant changes in the dynamics of VC firms since 2000 are substantially smaller returns on investment in exits and far longer holding periods before exits, he said. Meanwhile, the number of VC-backed exits in 2010 has increased dramatically from last year, Verma said. “Early stage investments have gone up,” he said. “The market is great, mainly because these liquidity events are happening.”

Verma was among four VCs and entrepreneurs joining moderator Matthew Janopaul, ’99, president and CEO of Pasta Pomodoro, who shared expertise and offered opinions on the future of the sector. More than 100 Bay Area alumni, entrepreneurs, and VCs attended the event.—P.R.

Read full coverage of the event.

Students Open New Doors to Firms on Behalf of Booth

Nearly 50 students who opened doors to new companies on behalf of Chicago Booth were honored with Ambassador Awards. Approximately 90 students in the Full-Time MBA Program were eligible for the award.

Students who received the $5,000 scholarship demonstrated superior academic performance and secured an internship with a new firm or created new relationships with companies through student conferences or treks. Donations from the 1988 class gift helped support the scholarship.

“Strengthening the brand name capital of the school is an important priority,” said Stacey Kole, deputy dean for the Full-Time MBA Program. “While there is much the school does in terms of marketing and outreach, our own students are critical emissaries of Chicago values. This award recognizes those who have helped strengthen the Chicago Booth brand.”

Among them was second-year student Will Beach, who secured an internship with Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). “Most of OPIC’s MBA interns come from east coast schools, given its location in Washington DC. But they certainly recognize the value of Booth’s program and were very receptive when I reached out about a position in their finance department,” he said. “I had a great experience there, and was able to connect them with our Career Services department to discuss the prospect of attracting more Booth students.”

Career Services staff has built on the success of previous ambassadors. Ben Peterson, ’10, was the school’s first intern with Paramount in summer 2009. “He had a successful summer and connected Career Services to his team, which has since become a strong relationship,” said Jessica Henry, director of employer development for Career Services. “Most recently, Laura Harris with Paramount spoke via Skype at our 2010 Full-Time Industry Immersion program for the class of 2012.”—P.H.

Last Updated 3/3/11