Previous positions at Morningstar:
I’ve held several roles across different areas of the company. I started off as a product consultant in our Software group, providing client support for one of our individual investor products. I then transitioned to our Data division where I worked as a data analyst supporting our mutual fund databases. I then found a role in our Retirement group as an Operations Analyst for our flagship retirement offering which provided the foundation I needed before joining my current team. When I joined the Automated Portfolio Solutions team, I started off as an investment analyst constructing portfolios for retirement investors and I have since progressed to leading our global portfolio solutions team.
At Morningstar, I worked with a lot of Booth alumni and current students, saw how these individuals solve problems, how they lead teams, their ability to think differently, and that made me appreciate the quality of the educational experience they got from Booth. I felt that if I wanted to be that kind of model employee, it would help if I got that kind of training. I was made to feel comfortable and that I could succeed through the application process and felt welcomed into a good community.
How did the Booth MBA help you advance/transition into a variety of roles within Morningstar?
At Booth, you take classes across a wide range of disciplines and you get the opportunity to interact with people that have different professional and personal backgrounds. You are constantly adapting to new settings and you are frequently being intellectually challenged by the faculty and your classmates. As these experiences happen more frequently at Booth, you become better at handling them and more comfortable taking on new challenges. Going through these experiences at Booth made transitioning into new roles a much smoother process for me. Joining a new team, creating new business relationships and learning new processes are much less daunting because Booth has trained you to embrace to new circumstances. When I went from an individual contributor role to a people management role, the lessons learned from the HBS case studies and the many guest speakers became even more meaningful to me.
What impact did Booth have on your career?
I think you tend to only know people who work in the same industry or field. Just having an MBA opens you up to a network who have completely different professional and personal backgrounds and areas you never had any exposure to. That helped me think more innovatively and see problems from different angles. It helped me interact with people differently in a professional setting and prepared me for a new leadership position that I began recently. Booth prepared me for the challenges of working with a global team based in Chicago and in China.
Describe the classroom experience.
It’s definitely eye opening. Be prepared to engage in different conversations and debates that will probably challenge how you think about the world, how you go about solving problems, and how you approach people similar or different from yourself. In class, our preconceived notions are often turned upside down.
Advice to anyone considering an MBA.
Spend a lot of time thinking about why you want to pursue an MBA. The more clear and honest you are with yourself, the more likely you are to get a lot of value out of the MBA. When things get difficult or challenging, you’ll be grounded in the reason as to why you got it in the first place and it will be much easier to get through those moments.
Thoughts on getting a part-time MBA.
It is a challenging experience to work full time and go to school. But I think you can have this very special event prepare you for how to actually operate in the real-world - oftentimes you’re going to have to juggle between competing priorities, different deadlines and personal or professional interests competing for your time and attention. Now I am much more prepared to survive in the real world. I had to get used to juggling and prioritizing. Once you graduate, you have the ability to do a lot of important things that are meaningful and to be successful at work at the same time.