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Matt Ramoundos, ’19, hangs his Booth rejection letter from 2016 above his diploma in his West Hollywood office. 

From his first visit to Booth, Ramoundos knew that it was where he needed to be. Then came the rejection—and his rejection of the rejection. Ramoundos moved into a hotel on Michigan Avenue, took two Graham School courses at Gleacher Center, proving that he could undertake the rigor of Booth academics, reapplied, and was accepted. He didn’t plan to waste this investment.  

“I went all in,” he says. He quit his job, leaving a startup he had founded, and “started showing up to everything— joined clubs, the student body advisory council, everything. We only have so much time, so I wanted to make the most of it.”

During his two years at Booth, Ramoundos worked as a teaching assistant for an estimated 20 sections. And despite having graduated and working full time as principal and CEO of the COVID-19 testing platform CoVerify Health, Ramoundos has continued to come back to Booth and TA for Linda E. Ginzel, clinical professor of managerial psychology.

It all began in 2019, when he ran into her at a staff appreciation cocktail party. As Ginzel remembers it, he came up to her and said, “I want to TA for you.” She was taken aback. She had no idea who he was, but asked around.

A week later, he got a note that began, in Ginzel’s inimitable style, “My dear Matt.” Her TA arrangement had fallen through, and she offered him the job. 

She has been sending him a hand-addressed missive of some sort every month since.

“I don’t do transactions,” says Ginzel. “Life is too short. I don’t hire people just to grade for me. I’m a relationship person, so I develop long-term relationships with my TAs.”

“I don't do transactions. Life is too short. I don’t hire people just to grade for me. I’m a relationship person, so I develop long-term relationships with my TAs.”

— Linda E. Ginzel

The demands of running a startup make it difficult for Ramoundos to work part time as a teaching assistant. For one Zoom course during the pandemic, he woke up at 4 a.m. for the class, held office hours, and worked a full day for his company. Because virtual was difficult, he now flies into Chicago for the weeklong Executive MBA Leadership Capital course—a minimum six-hours-a-day commitment—while still working remotely full time. 

Which begs the question: Why do it?

While he was a TA as a student, Ramoundos admits that he was “very tough.” He was proud of being part of the Booth community, and wanted everyone to work as hard as he felt Booth demanded. Now, he approaches TA-ing with a greater focus on emotional intelligence. “There’s a person in there. Hasn’t everyone had a bad week? There needs to be so much more listening, really listening, not just waiting for your turn to talk,” he says. “When you boil relationships with students down, it’s about trust.”

It’s an attitude that’s helped CoVerify Health find great employees, potential investors, and business partners. The impact it’s had on growing his company is “immeasurable.”

“I think Matt also wants to have institutional knowledge across decades,” Ginzel says. “That’s important to him, to feel like he’s a part of this place.”

Ramoundos is simultaneously humbled by being accepted to Booth and proud that he did it. He spent two years with “the most capable, exceptional group I’ve ever met.” He wants to help Booth continue to provide the same quality education it gave him. 

“It’s about investing in our long-term reputation and prestige that Booth is widely known for,” says Ramoundos. “There’s maintenance work that needs to be done as an alum. By accepting the invitation to join the community, you pledge responsibility to contribute back to it.”