Christopher Bush is Head of Trading/COO at Tower Research Capital with twenty years experience in trading and financial markets. He is a Chicago Booth Executive MBA student attending classes at the downtown Chicago campus.

I knew for a long time I wanted to get my MBA. I work in trading and financial markets, and many of my colleagues had theirs. I wanted a similar skillset and I wanted a challenge. When I assessed MBA programs, I immediately ruled out any that required an admissions test. I had a fear of “admission test failure” since my work schedule is so busy and I have little free time. I had not been in school for a long time and had reached a point in my career where I was not struggling much. I didn’t want to complicate things or induce anxiety by preparing for a test.

I was wrong. I chose the path of least resistance and entered a program where the test was not required. I found that it wasn’t the right fit for me. I didn’t feel I was being pushed by my peers. I wasn’t happy.

I ended up at Booth when I finally decided to sit for the Executive Assessment test. Although I was nervous, I felt committed to finding the right place for me. I dreaded getting the results and tried to talk myself out of taking the test in so many different ways. But once I set time aside to study, I enjoyed refreshing my knowledge and found myself looking forward to the challenge ahead.

In my view, the value of the Executive Assessment test is that you enter the program knowing that you, and your classmates, have a collective understanding of what it takes to succeed. This pays off in different ways – the value and respect of your study group, the depth of in-class conversations and the power of the network you enter.  As a student, I can see how taking the test “level sets” the playing field. I know all of my Booth classmates have successfully taken the exam and I can trust in their quantitative and reasoning skillsets when tasked with group assignments. I can also see how preparing for the test has benefited me, personally – studying for the Executive Assessment test was a great primer for learning during the MBA Program.

If you are considering the Executive MBA Program at Chicago Booth, and feel strongly that it is the right fit for you, my message is simple – go for it. Don’t hesitate because of the test requirement. If you take the time to prepare yourself and talk with the admissions team you will be in a good position to do well. And the payoff is that you will enter a community of diverse and dynamic individuals who value a rigorous education like the one at Chicago Booth.