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Alex Zapien is a proud first-generation American, college student, and graduate student who is currently finishing up his last quarter in our Evening MBA Program. Alex was born in Mexico and moved to the Chicagoland area as a child. At a young age, he was instilled with the values of curiosity, community service, and the pursuit of excellence – all of which have played a role in his professional career interests today. For undergrad, Alex attended Harvard University where he earned a degree in Physics and Math with a minor in Economics.

Post Harvard, he specialized in operations management and community organizing. Through his work, Alex realized that he wanted to complement his distinct set of skills with a degree in business to further expand his skill set, build on his work experience, and satisfy his taste for quantitative rigor. When looking at business schools, Alex prioritized schools in Illinois he knew would challenge him academically. Chicago Booth was his natural choice.

With the tail end of his MBA journey swiftly approaching, Alex states, “I am incredibly grateful for all that I have learned, and the people I have met during my time at Booth.” Read on to learn more about why Alex chose Booth, his professional pursuits in the public sector, and more.

What sold you on the Part-Time MBA Program at Chicago Booth?

As a proud lifelong resident of Illinois and the Chicago area, I am deeply committed to my community and have always aspired to hold public office. To be effective in this role, I knew that I needed to establish strong connections with local government and business leaders. I was drawn to Chicago Booth because of its reputation as a hub for some of the biggest names in business, here and around the nation. By becoming an alum of Chicago Booth, I could reinforce my local presence and gain access to a strong alumni network  and influential business leaders.

The Part-Time MBA Program at Chicago Booth was particularly attractive to me because of its flexibility in terms of time and location. I wanted to continue gaining valuable work experience in both the corporate and public sectors while pursuing my education, without sacrificing any financial or career-related opportunities. Chicago Booth’s location also allowed me to immediately apply what I learned in the classroom to my work, and vice versa.

Tell us more about your professional background, accomplishments, and long-term career goals... How has your MBA experience contributed to your professional growth over the years?

My career has allowed me to gain experience in both the corporate and public sectors. In the corporate world, I have leveraged my STEM background to work in various roles in operations management, people management, and software engineering. These experiences have allowed me to oversee entire weekend distribution operations, prepare sales and volume budgets, and contribute to coding projects on automation as an engineer. My time at Booth has been instrumental in complementing these experiences. Courses in operations and finance have allowed me to apply what I learned in the classroom to my operational and budgeting roles more effectively. In addition, management courses have helped me to provide and solicit feedback when working in positions of management.

In the public sector, I have applied my passion for giving back to the community by taking on roles in community organizing and voter outreach. Additionally, I hold leadership positions and serve on the boards of various organizations focused on civic engagement and political participation. The courses I have taken in leadership, influence, and strategy at Booth have helped me to hone my organizational skills and leadership style, as well as learn how to navigate complex political environments.

As I am finishing up my MBA now, I am preparing to transition into public office where I will continue to leverage skills and experiences acquired throughout my education and previous work. Recently, I was appointed to fill out the remaining term of my Township Supervisor who is retiring halfway through his four year term. At the age of 25, I will be the youngest person ever to hold this position in Illinois and the first person of color to represent my Township. I fully recognize the immense responsibility that accompanies this role and am up for the challenge that includes reelection in 2025. Serving as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the cities of Lockport, Crest Hill, and Romeoville, I will manage the general assistance program, senior funds, and bus transportation system. I will also serve as treasurer for the towns' funds.

Looking ahead, my long-term goal is to serve my community for as long as I can make a positive impact, and I am committed to achieving this objective by applying the skills and experiences I have gained through my career and MBA.