With an interest in pivoting from a career in engineering to marketing, Ritvik decided to embark on his MBA journey within the Evening MBA program at Chicago Booth.
- January 20, 2023
- Part-Time MBA Blog
Collaborative. Collaborative is one of our core attributes and I think it’s very true to the experience at Booth. What you see at Booth is that everyone is genuinely nice and willing to help you meet your goals. Going into Booth, I knew that I wanted to pivot to marketing but I didn’t necessarily know how to make that happen. I started connecting with my classmates who worked within agencies and consulting firms to learn more about their marketing roles. I found scheduling coffee chats and other social outings to be very helpful; it was nice to see so many of my peers willing to connect with me and provide me with more insight on the marketing function.What’s one word or phrase that best describes your experience at Booth?
I’d been working for 2 ½ years when I applied to Booth. At the time, I didn’t have much managerial experience. I applied to a few Full-Time programs and to the Part-Time Program at Booth because I wanted the option to keep working if I stayed in Chicago. While applying, other schools recommended that I wait to get my MBA because I didn’t have much managerial experience—Booth was different. I applied under the Chicago Business Fellows Program and learned that Booth cared more about my leadership potential. The flexibility to build my own MBA at Booth caught my attention as well. I knew that I wanted to become a product manager, so being able to customize my MBA experience early on definitely sold me on Booth.Why did you choose Chicago Booth?
One major benefit of enrolling in the Part-Time MBA Program was that all of my classmates were also working. For me, I wanted to switch industries so the perk of being in the Part-Time Program was that my classmates were working at companies I was interested in. I was able to network with my classmates often and I also got the chance to apply what I was learning in class to the real world in real time that same day or week. The Part-Time Program is set up to let you move as fast or slow as you need, which is also very beneficial.What did you evaluate when deciding between a Full-Time and Part-Time MBA program?
I took Leadership Studio with Professor Harry Davis. At Booth, one of the mottos I hear often is to promote lifelong learning. Yes, one could take the occasional seminar or webinar, but ultimately how can we put that learning into practice? Professor Davis’s course addresses that question as Leadership Studio pushes students to experiment in their personal and professional lives. In doing so, we’re able to gain a better understanding of who we are as individuals. Leadership Studio taught me how to look at each aspect of myself as a character—this unique perspective allowed me to understand how I could bring certain versions of myself to life in different environments.
New Venture Strategy with Professor James Schrager was a great way to end my time at Booth. It’s an intense class with a ton of real world applications incorporated into the curriculum. I learned so much about how startups work, which I found to be a great benefit because I was looking at startup companies during my job search. Even after the course ended, Professor Schrager invited us back for a follow-up class available for alumni to join after taking his course. This course was definitely my favorite at Booth.
The Booth network is a massive return on investment for Boothies. I’ve met so many Booth alums at work and in passing. Funny story, a few Boothies and I went to the Midway Club one day and I met an alum who worked at P&G. He told me he was also an engineer that switched into marketing. We met up again a week later and he was more than happy to walk me through his path and he gave me some useful words of advice, too. When I joined the marketing team at Abbott, I found out my director at Abbott worked with him too, small world! Boothies are always happy to chat and willing to put you in contact with their connections, which is truly rewarding.
Booth immediately helped me as an alum through my interactions with the Career Services department. The September following graduation, I started to feel like I was coasting at work—conversations about career advancement weren’t happening like I anticipated, so I wanted to look for other opportunities. With that in mind, I decided to reach out to my Career Services advisor who welcomed me to stop by and walk through refreshing my resume before applying to jobs. Within a month, a recruiter from Invisalign reached out to me on LinkedIn to interview. In late December, I got my job offer and I’ve been at Invisalign ever since. I appreciated the one-on-one time I had with my advisor to help me improve my candidacy for jobs—Booth is definitely a great resource that I know I can count on for a lifetime.
Social life at Booth is amazing! I met a lot of my friends through Launch, including one of my closest friends. I was also a Launch mentor, which turned out to be a great experience because I met a ton of people coming into Booth. Additionally, I prioritized getting to know my classmates outside of the classroom. I often found myself organizing social activities for my classmates and going to the Saturday After School Happenings (SASH) outings with students in the Weekend MBA Program.Where did you meet your friends at Booth? Did you have time to have a social life?
For people looking to move into product management, knowing how to tailor experiences towards your skillset can be of value. I found great benefit in reframing my experiences in a way that was relevant to the career I wanted to pursue. I’d also say that knowing how to analyze data to narrow down the decision making process is essential. As a product manager, whenever I present a product feature idea, the first question I’m asked is “Where’s the data?” In my role, being able to back up my findings with key evidence is crucial. Knowing the right questions to ask, who to ask, and figuring out where to gather information from to make an informed decision are all questions that Booth does a great job of teaching you how to answer.What would you tell people looking to go into Product Management?
Getting an MBA in Chicago is extremely advantageous, especially in terms of how many companies are located here. I’ve found that companies here are eager to work with Booth students, which shows in the lab courses, internships, and jobs offered to students throughout the year. With so many different industries housed in Chicago—consulting firms, food companies, CPG companies, tech companies—the partnership opportunities are endless and it makes for an enriching MBA experience. Geographically, Chicago is in a central location, which makes traveling more feasible. I couldn’t imagine a Weekend MBA student flying from the West Coast to somewhere like New York, but being central makes for a more doable flight experience for almost anyone. I’ll also add that Chicago’s food scene cannot be beat; I truly love the food here. While I love living in San Francisco now, Chicago definitely has the better cuisine so I always enjoy coming back.What’s it like living in Chicago?
Letters of recommendation are an essential component of the application process. Learning about you from the perspective of your recommenders allows the Admissions Committee to gain a better understanding of what makes you unique.
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