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Iko was born and raised in Mongolia and went to the National University of Mongolia, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in British and American Studies. After graduation, Iko started her career as a flight attendant for Korean Air in Seoul, South Korea. While she enjoyed being able to travel across the world and meet new people, her intellectual curiosity led her to transition into the financial services industry when she moved to the US in 2014. Iko has worked for Jefferies, Citi Bank, PwC, and most recently Deloitte right before deciding to pursue her MBA at Chicago Booth.

With an interest in pivoting to big tech, however unsure of the various career paths and leadership growth opportunities available in the industry, Iko decided to apply to Booth’s Part-Time Program. When she received the exciting news that she was admitted, Iko moved from New York City to Chicago to fully engage in the experience, and she has greatly enjoyed her time at Booth. Read on to hear her story.

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Why Booth? More specifically, what sold you on our Part-Time MBA Program?

Three main factors went into me choosing Booth’s Part-Time MBA Program:

First, having already been established in my career and on an upward progression at Deloitte, I was not willing to leave the workforce for two years in order to earn my MBA.

Second, I wanted to earn my MBA at a reputable institution with a strong finance-oriented curriculum, academic rigor, and Nobel-winning faculty.

Lastly, I planned on applying to business school towards the end of the pandemic. Since part of the MBA experience encompasses building a strong professional network, I wanted a program with classes taught in person and plenty of opportunities to engage with other students in and outside of the classroom. I also wanted to make sure that the program I enrolled in had a part-time experience equal to the experience of individuals embarking on a full-time MBA experience.  

The Chicago Booth Part-Time MBA Program checked all of those boxes and more for me!

What inspired you to start an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Club?

When ChatGPT first came out and everyone was intrigued by this new technology, I instantly realized how its use would be here to stay, expand, and influence every single business function, including the finance function that I am going into. As researcher Karim Lakhani said, “AI is not going to replace humans, but humans with AI are going to replace humans without AI.” I agree with that.

Alongside my desire to understand how this new technology actually works, it occurred to me that many other students who aren’t in tech or data analytics functions might also be interested in learning more about AI. With that in mind, I decided to start the Booth AI Club to (1) bring people together, (2) organize events where Boothies could learn more about AI regardless of their career focus, and (3) invite industry professionals and AI experts to share their insights on the emerging technology.

I reached out to my fellow Boothie, Vivek Bharathi, and proposed that he and I form the Booth AI Club. We successfully launched the club recently (during the Spring Quarter of 2024) and organized our first event during the NVIDIA GTC conference week in San Francisco. We partnered with Booth SAC’s Outreach Officer for our first event to bring Booth alumni and students in the Bay Area together for an evening of discussing AI and socializing. We plan to organize more AI-focused events in partnership with Booth’s Center for Applied Artificial Intelligence, along with other partners and firms in the near future.

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What’s your experience been like with Part-Time student groups at Booth?

Since I started my MBA journey at Booth, I’ve been actively attending events. I learned that the heart of the MBA social experience is shaped by the numerous social and professional events organized by student groups and the Booth Student Advisory Council. At these events, I appreciate that we get to expand our network and engage in fun interactions after an intellectually stimulating week, all while making lifelong friends along the way.

I came with some assumptions that since this is a Part-Time MBA Program, maybe there would be fewer student events compared to the Full-Time MBA Program. But in reality, the clubs and events are just as good, varied, and frequent as those for the Full-Time MBA Program.

My positive experiences attending different events led me to get more involved! I decided to serve as a co-chair for the Corporate Strategy Club, Graduate Women in Business Club, and Credit Club and now founding co-chair for Booth AI Club. It has been a privilege to work with other co-chairs who are dedicated to making the Part-Time MBA experience joyful as well as rewarding by organizing networking, social, and professional events for club members and non-member MBA students.

Is there an experience that attests to Chicago Booth helping you come closer to reaching your career goals?

After graduation, I will be joining Amazon in their Amazon Web Services (AWS) business as a Finance Manager in their Finance Leadership Development Program. I received this opportunity with the help of Chicago Booth! Amazon was one of my target firms, and I was able to attend an information session organized by Amazon that helped me get my foot in the door. We all needed to come prepared, ask good questions, and have our resume ready to get noticed by the recruiter. For that preparation, the Career Services personnel at Booth were incredibly helpful. Specifically, I can’t thank Anita Brick enough for making herself available whenever I had questions, she truly helped advise me and provided detailed resources that I found very beneficial.

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Fun Facts About Iko:

  • Iko loves to travel. This past summer, she organized a Croatia Yacht Week trip with her Booth MBA Launch cohort. Iko, along with eight other Boothies, had an incredible experience island hopping and exploring Croatia, while getting to know each other even more. (Yacht Week in Europe is where many top MBA program students go each summer for vacation.)
  • Iko loves playing sports and games, with tennis and billiards being two of her favorites. The Harper Center (Chicago Booth’s Full-Time campus) has a pool table where Iko enjoys being able to meet and network with other MBA students, while playing pool during class breaks.
  • Iko enjoys exploring different restaurants and cuisines. She raves about Chicago’s amazing restaurant scene and is a regular at Japanese ramen restaurants in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.

Click here to read more student stories as you discover the endless opportunities available for Boothies in our Part-Time MBA Program.