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Features

Personalities, characters, visionaries, trends, emerging ideas, industry insight, history, evolution, and more. Features explore the topics that matter most to the Chicago Booth community with memorable storytelling and insightful reporting.

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Investing for Social Impact

What is the purpose of investing? Until recently, the answer to that question was straightforward—to produce the highest possible return with the lowest possible risk for investors and shareholders. Many believe that’s a worthy goal in itself. In fact, superior returns on investment help university endowments underwrite scholarships for needy students and enable state and local pension plans to fund the retirements of teachers, police officers, and firefighters. But over the past several decades, a new way of thinking about investing has emerged in business schools and financial circles. It’s called impact investing. Although many argue it’s been around much longer, and the definition of the term continues to evolve, it largely means what it says. According to the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), it is investing “with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.” Or, as a mantra commonly associated with the movement puts it: “Doing well by doing good.”

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75 Years at the Forefront

The year 1943 dawned upon a world at war. Little more than a year had passed since the United States entered World War II, but American life had already been rocked to its core. All personal car production had ceased, as Detroit’s Big Three factories churned out tanks, equipment, and billions of rounds of ammunition. By the end of the year, two million men would leave the workforce to serve in the military. And American women—many working outside the home for the first time—marched into factories in unprecedented numbers to replace them. It was an era of change, as Americans struggled to meet the challenges of the day. Chicago Booth entered that changing landscape when it launched the world’s first Executive MBA Program in 1943. The school recognized the need for experienced leaders to apply their knowledge and training to urgent tasks and expand the capacity of American industry. For the first time, there existed a course of rigorous business education tailored to the specific needs of mid-career managers. Or, as an early Executive MBA brochure put it, “The task of war is primarily one of co-ordination of men and materials in the work of industrial production; it is a problem of management.”<br/>

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Alumni Survey by the Numbers

As all alumni know, engaging in dialogue is a fundamental part of Booth’s culture. In that spirit, the business school part of Booth’s culture. In that spirit, the business school recently sent a survey to our alumni to ask about the things you value most—from the alumni community, to lifelong learning, to career support. Nearly 5,000 of you shared your insights, answering questions such as, “How do you participate in lifelong discovery?” and, “How would you rate the value of your investment in an MBA you rate the value of your investment in an MBA education at Booth?” We learned that the alumni community continues to get stronger: the vast of alumni highly rate the overall value of their investment in their MBA education. We discovered some fun facts too. For example, almost 70 percent of you sported some Booth swag at least once in the past year. Were you one of them? Dive into the data to see how you compare to your fellow Boothies:<br/>

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Meet the Women Shaking Up Business

A successful woman walking into a boardroom full of men. A junior employee seeing a male colleague get credit for her ideas. A new hire anxiously negotiating her salary offer that is distinctly below market value. Sadly, these types of situations are not yet scenes from a bygone era. Too often, women in business must walk a tightrope where assertive is characterized as “shrill” and leadership is denigrated to “bossy.” To address these issues, and continue to tackle the larger problem of gender inequality in business, it takes a community. Booth Women Connect Conference began in 2010 as an initiative to build that collaborative network, and to attract more women applicants to Booth. It has evolved into a can’t-miss annual event that brings together nearly four dozen accomplished speakers with alumnae, students, and Chicago business leaders for a day of collaboration, learning, and growth.<br/>