Bring your future into focus

Bringing the Future into Focus

Alumni Return to Campus to Offer Their Best Advice to Incoming Students at Booth 20/20

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“When selecting classes, should I focus on building my strengths or shoring up weaknesses?” “How did you build relationships with mentors within the Booth network?” “What was a mistake you made and what did you learn from it?”

The incoming Class of 2017 posed these questions and more to alumni at Booth 20/20, an annual event that invites graduates back to campus to share their successes and challenges with current students. In several small panel discussions, small groups of alumni offered reflections on their time at Booth and gave candid answers to new students’ questions.

We caught up with four first-year students who attended Booth 20/20, each with a burning question as they start their MBA journeys, and the goal to connect with alumni to learn from their experiences.

Lindsay Lowe, ’05, was one of more than four dozen alumni panelists at the event, and here gives her best answers to questions our students' questions. Lowe is vice president, origination, at Baltimore-based power company Constellation Energy Group.

Natalia Botia, from Colombia. Interests: Energy, operations

Lowe: All of the above. Booth provides the highest quality, most rigorous academics available from the best professors—take advantage of them. You will have access to the smartest classmates, the most accomplished alumni, and the best on-campus and off-campus recruiting opportunities—leverage them. And you don’t have to go to work every morning, so live it up!

Nathan Matare, from Slovakia. Interest: Management consulting

Lowe recalled courses with four instructors, including: Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance Steven Neil Kaplan, Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics Richard H. Thaler, Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor of Finance Eugene F. Fama, and Distinguished Senior Fellow John H. Cochrane.

Lowe: When I’m looking at a transaction, I remember Kaplan’s class and how we were required to view every transaction from the perspective of each participant: the CEO of the acquired company, the original venture investors, and the acquiring investors. This has been helpful because it’s amazing how different your valuation is—your supposedly unbiased, objective valuation—depending on which perspective you’re coming from. Having practiced the mindset of viewing a transaction from each participant’s perspective was invaluable.

Thaler helped me to understand my own biases in thinking and evaluating, and how poor the human brain is at recognizing natural, normal statistical patterns.

Taking two Analytic Finance courses [with Fama and Cochrane] was a real stretch for me, and I will always treasure the stimulation and satisfaction from delving into asset valuation and deconstructing market movements at this high level. For a while I had a little picture of Fama taped to my monitor at work, just to remind myself of the kind of finance background I am proud to come from. A little shrine, if you will. I don’t mind bragging, I earned it!

Brittany Henry, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Interest: Entrepreneurship

Lowe: This is terrible advice, but I wouldn’t worry so much.  Despite the fantastic time I had, the friends and contacts I made, and the level to which I expanded my knowledge—all incredibly enjoyable and stimulating—I felt a lot of stress about recruiting. And just as they told me, everything turned out great in my career. So, I wouldn’t stress. It’s terrible advice because it’s hard to gain control over your stress, but please try.

Joe Raudabaugh, from Chicago, Illinois. Interest: Analytic and strategic management

Lowe: I believe that short-term requirements can be delegated to a qualified, high-performing team, while higher-level managers can focus on longer-term strategy and aligning shorter-term tasks with that big-picture strategy. If a qualified team is adept at handling daily tasks, it frees up managers to handle the longer-term “vision.”

—By LeeAnn Shelton
September 11, 2015