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What career advice would you offer your younger self? We asked Booth women—students and alumnae from each of our four MBA Programs—to look back at their careers so far and to share wisdom they’ve gained since embarking on their first professional roles. Their responses, deeply personal and full of valuable life lessons, offer an inspiring message as the Chicago Booth community honors Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day this year.

Learn more about our featured Booth women:

Winifred Awolope, ‘23
Current first-year student in the Full-Time MBA Program
George Schultz Innovation Fund Associate

Before Booth, Winifred worked in the oil and gas industry for seven years in Nigeria for Shell and TotalEnergies. Despite loving her work as an engineer, Winifred knew her ambitions were leading her to a new challenge and worried that she couldn't make them a reality. Now, looking back, she wishes she could've told herself "that your dreams are valid and it's possible to achieve anything your heart sets out to do with the help of a mentor's guidance."

Angel Chia, ‘21
CEO of SingAlliance (Hong Kong) Ltd.
Graduate of the Executive MBA Program in Hong Kong

With 20 years of experience in the finance industry, Angel has a demonstrated history of building new businesses, which she attributes to her boldness. “This particular wide-eyed boldness is the main reason I was able to be recognized by my peers as someone who can open new offices, start new businesses, and take charge of new departments.”

Shelby Wenner, ‘19
Program Operations, Office of Regional Affairs for the US Economic Development Administration in Washington, DC
Graduate of the Evening MBA Program 

After years in the nonprofit industry, Shelby knew she wanted to pursue a career in the public sector, and her experience at Booth helped her secure a new role at the US Department of Commerce. “I always knew that I wanted to work in public service, and I found the space in the Economic Development Administration partially because of Booth’s economic focus.” 

Jennifer LaBarge, ‘22
Current second-year student in the Full-Time MBA Program

Prior to Booth, Jennifer served in the United States Air Force for six years as a contracting officer. She credits her decisiveness and ability to take risks as one of her favorite things about herself. "It was a risk to leave my very safe role in the military and pursue business school, but it benefited me and helped me conclude that I want to be in a business development role in the defense industry.” 

Adriana Diaz, ‘22
Quality Engineering and Operations Manager at Tesla in Fremont, California
Current student in the Executive MBA Program in Chicago

When reflecting on her early career, Adriana shared, "I thought a lot of things were unchangeable, but as I progressed, I realized there were many things that I could control that could shape how much I enjoyed my role and impacted my environment."

Azizah Mohamed, ‘23
Quantitative Market Intelligence Leader at Baker Hughes in Houston, Texas
Current student in the Executive MBA Program in Chicago

Spending the last 10 years at an energy technology company, Azizah reflected on her journey and the diverse roles she’s had over a decade. “I have been really proud of all the risks I've taken in order to continue to grow my career and learn new areas of the business by pivoting to different groups and different functions.” 

Imah Effiong, ‘19
Assistant Vice President at Citi in New York
Graduate of the Evening MBA Program

After attending the program, Imah pivoted from a data strategy and project management role in Chicago Public Schools to a corporate finance rotational program at Citibank in New York City. As Imah mentions in the video, one of the biggest takeaways from her career so far is the power of relationships. “I got this from a class called ‘Power and Influence,’ ” she explained. “This class has been so applicable in my day-to-day work life, because it talks about understanding the politics of your organization.” 

Angie Tse, ‘20
Head of Marketing and Fundraising for the Resolve Foundation in Hong Kong
Graduate of the Executive MBA Program in Hong Kong 

She has spent her 16-year career working for various NGOs and non-profit organizations such as Greenpeace, HER Fund, and Amnesty International. The photo she contributed is from her very first business trip to Capetown, South Africa. “I was quite nervous,” she remembered. “But I was glad that my boss trusted me and gave me the opportunity to try. It was exciting to be there and see a group of women activists coming together to improve gender equality.”

Temitope Mafe, ‘22
Market Reporting Controller at Nestlé in Switzerland
Current student in the Executive MBA Program in London

Temitope has spent her career in the manufacturing sector, working for companies such as Guinness Nigeria and Nestlé. She stays intentional about being happy, which helps to guide her career. “This helps me figure out when to prioritize myself, when to prioritize others, and the impact and legacy I want to leave behind.” 

Zeynep Duran, ‘20
Director of Legal Affairs at TANAP Natural Gas Transmission Company in Ankara, Turkey
Graduate of the Executive MBA Program in London

A trained lawyer, Zeynep has spent the last ten years working in the oil and gas industry. She credits the MBA with helping to direct her career in new ways. “As a lawyer, I am involved in a lot of transactions, which have financial aspects. The comprehensive learning of finance in the MBA program at Booth enabled me to see the bigger picture. I can look at the issues not only from a legal perspective, but also a financial one. When I attend negotiations, I see the whole picture, and it really gives me more self-confidence at my job.”