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The purpose of Booth Women Advance (BWA) is to support the leadership development of women by examining the challenges women face and developing leadership skills to counter those challenges. This year’s program consisted of four sessions that focused on experiential learning techniques to help navigate challenging situations and counter biases in order to claim ownership of one's space with confidence. Read on as current Boothies and future leaders, Audrey Freeman and Marcela Desiderio Schweizer, share anecdotes from their experience at Booth Women Advance.

Audrey Freeman headshot

“BWA provided me with an introspective self-leadership design… it allowed participants to prototype different leadership styles and reflect on specific qualities that they liked and disliked in leaders from the perspective of women with shared experiences.”

— Audrey Freeman, Evening MBA Student

Key Takeaways

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Audrey: One of my biggest takeaways from Booth Women Advance was defining what type of leader I am now, what type of leader I want to be in the future, and steps to get me there. In the past, when I thought about my future leadership potential, I often viewed it as “what role do I see myself in in five to ten years.” However, this program helped me think about leadership not as a title but in the actions you perform and how you act as a leader now. A recurring theme I found myself and my group coming back to as a leadership trait was the idea of reaching back to help others come with you through empathy and understanding. 

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Marcela: My key takeaways from the sessions were that, similar to gravity, there are certain situations we as professional women may not be able to change. However, there are also situations where we can take action and drive our own journeys towards achieving our professional and personal goals. By recognizing the situations where we cannot interfere, we gain awareness and can recalibrate our paths towards a more prosperous and fulfilling route.

Marcela Desiderio Schweizer headshot

“BWA served as a reflective path towards self-awareness and an open conversation about acquiring the necessary tools to design my ideal leadership model.”

— Marcela Desiderio Schweizer, Full Time MBA Student

Enhancing the MBA Experience through Specialized Programming

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Audrey: I appreciated connecting with other women at Booth across all programs. In this space, we were able to be vulnerable with each other because we trusted the process. My favorite activity from the sessions was when each person wrote a problem on a large poster board that they needed help with and everyone went around and suggested ideas/strategies to help tackle the issue. It was very meaningful and powerful to see everyone offering advice and bits of motivation on our shared struggles and experiences.

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Marcela: Specialized programming, such as Booth Women Advance, has enriched my MBA experience by providing a supportive and secure environment where women can openly share their past experiences and concerns. This tailored program brings together like-minded individuals to explore topics that are pertinent to all of us. I highly recommend individuals to attend the Booth Women Advance program. BWA provides a unique opportunity to connect with other women who share similar paths and concerns. Through this program, we not only got to share our past experiences but also learned how to bridge the gap between being a student and becoming the leader we aspire to be.

Visit our website for more information about the resources available for women at Chicago Booth, ranging from events and professional development opportunities to out of the classroom activities and more.