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Tell us about yourself and take us along your journey to Chicago Booth.

I’m originally from the Bronx, New York. I attended Providence College in Rhode Island for undergrad where I studied marketing and finance. After graduation, I moved back home to New York and worked in finance for two years at a bond research company called CreditSights. I realized finance was not a space I was extremely passionate about, so I pivoted towards marketing and worked for an out-of-home advertising agency called Intersection Media. We focused specifically on transit ads in major markets throughout the United States. After a year, I received a job promotion that moved me to Chicago to become a sports account executive. This promotion allotted me the opportunity to work with big sports companies throughout Chicago like the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Black Hawks, USA Soccer, Chicago White Sox, and more.

While I loved the work, I realized I was only touching one aspect of marketing—the promotional ‘P’ and I wanted to focus on all of the P’s of Marketing. My desire to have a more holistic marketing strategy motivated me to attend business school. I applied for Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), which helped expand my horizon in terms of schools I considered. Being in Chicago, I started to look more closely at Booth. After receiving my acceptance, I saw how Booth could assist me in developing skills I needed to be a successful marketing leader. I knew my soft skills were a signature strength of mine from my experience working in sales and client services. I wanted to develop other useful skills like data analysis to put myself in the position to become the kind of marketing leader I aspired to be. I also received the opportunity to become a Kilts Marketing Fellow, which confirmed that Chicago Booth was the place where I needed to be. 

Can you tell us how your involvement within the Kilts Center for Marketing added to your MBA experience?

I loved being a Kilts Marketing Fellow. Choosing Booth was a very intentional decision for me. While Chicago Booth has a reputation for being strictly a finance school, which is not true by the way, Booth also has a phenomenal marketing program. I decided on Booth because I preferred to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond than a small fish in a bigger pond. I knew coming to Booth would connect me to a tight-knit community of bright marketers; seeing my peers at different recruiting and social events allowed me to form those quality relationships I was looking for. 

Having the opportunity to become a Kilts Marketing Fellow in particular was truly amazing. They read my essays—I wrote about wanting to work at Gatorade—and my marketing mentor was the Director of Marketing for Gatorade. The pairing was perfect because I was very steadfast about my career aspirations. Not only did I get to know someone who would be a future colleague, I also met someone who I could ask questions from a marketing perspective. Being able to develop that relationship early on in my Booth career and throughout my two years in the program was truly phenomenal. My mentor helped shape my viewpoint on what kind of leader I wanted to be, how I wanted to approach my internships, as well as how I operate in my full-time career now at PepsiCo. This all came to life because of the Kilts Center.

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What’s one word or phrase that best describes your experience at Booth?

Quality. Half of my time at business school was in-person and half was virtual. With Covid-19 shutting everything down for an extended period of time I couldn’t meet as many people as typically I would under a normal MBA process. So, from a quantity standpoint, I may not have made as many friends as one typically would during a normal, two-year MBA program experience, but I really got to form some quality relationships and strong friendships that’ll last a lifetime. While unfortunately I did not meet everyone in my class, I wouldn’t trade the bonds I made with those I encountered for anyone.

What’s one word or phrase that best describes your experience at Booth?

What were some of the ways you got involved while at Booth?

I was super involved during my time at Booth. I was a member of the Graduate Business Council (GBC), co-chair of the Booth Marketing Group, as well as an active member of the Media, Entertainment, and Sports Group, Booth Africa, and the African American MBA Association (AAMBAA). I loved meeting new people and having opportunities to strengthen my community involvement.

I’d say the Marketing Group provided me with some of my most appreciated experiences. By attending social events, I got to know a ton of my classmates that would be in my future marketing classes. I had the opportunity to pay-it-forward when I became co-chair, as I assisted first-year students in securing internships and navigating a career in marketing. I also had the opportunity to get to know employees from companies we worked with—all while developing strong relationships with my fellow co-chairs. As a team, we went through the grind of figuring out how to put a virtual conference together, along with creating worthwhile events for our classmates. I was truly surrounded by a phenomenal group of people who are all doing amazing things now.

I got to know the Media, Entertainment, and Sports Group during my second year at Booth. I loved the programming put together by this group. I’d definitely recommend for anyone interested in sports.

Booth Africa and AAMBAA were great organizations to be a part of as well! I got to know a lot of my black and brown classmates coming from all walks of the world. In 2020 with all of the social unrest that took place in the country, it was nice having a support system to lean on.

Truly there are so many great clubs at Booth and they all brought something amazing to my MBA experience!

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What was your favorite class at Chicago Booth?

Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition taught by Professors Mark Agnew and Brian O’Connor. I loved this class because it was strictly a leadership class. Since my end goal was to become a marketing leader, I found the curriculum very useful. Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition taught me how to adjust and strategically evaluate companies. This course also taught me how to navigate different situations that might come up when leading a company or entering a new space where one might want to adjust or change previously established cultures and norms. Overall, I thought it was a great leadership 101 course. Honorable mentions: Behavioral Economics with Professor Devin Pope and New Product Lab and Services with Professor Arthur Middlebrooks. 

What was your favorite class at Chicago Booth?

What soft skills did you develop during your MBA experience?

Self Awareness. I took an Interpersonal Dynamics course that helped me focus on how what you say and do impacts people. Knowing I could say something with a different intent than how someone receives it pushed me to think about the importance of having emotional intelligence and humility when communicating with people. Instead of being defensive, knowing when to apologize and admit that I had no intention of offending someone is a skill I enhanced through Interpersonal Dynamics.

My comfort with data has grown tremendously as well. We had to do something from an economic standpoint in every class I took, so I became very comfortable with looking through and analyzing data. Also, every course I took had some group work component, so I naturally had to get better at working in a team with people from different backgrounds. I believe people who come to Booth think about the world differently, so I naturally became accustomed to collaborating with people who thought differently than me without being intimidated by it.