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Title: Supervisor, Pooled Vehicle Administration, William Blair
Co-chair of Coalition of Minorities in Business

 

Why did you want to pursue an MBA?

I received my undergraduate degree from Loyola University Chicago, where I double majored in Finance and Economics with a minor in Black World Studies. Advancing my education was always important to me and I knew I wanted more after graduating from college. I also wanted to gain more professional experience to narrow down my interests before taking on a MBA or studying for a professional certificate. I thought about professional certifications such as CFA or CPA but ultimately decided to pursue an MBA to gain a more diverse skill set. I sought to be a ‘Jill of all trades’—even with a specialty in one area, I wanted to engage with individuals from various departments and have a solid foundation to have intelligent conversations. I chose to pursue a Part-Time MBA Program to continue to gain experience while enhancing my skill set and developing the tools to be a more effective leader.

Why did you choose Chicago Booth?

University of Chicago is highly ranked for Economics, which has always attracted me to the school. I knew I didn’t want to go anywhere else after meeting people from various areas of the school (the Admissions team, current students, alumni) and ultimately learning more about Booth’s philosophy on education. The Pay-it-Forward culture was prevalent, everyone was extremely friendly, but they were also very upfront about the rigor of the program and that drew me to Booth even more. 

 

I also appreciated the flexibility of the program in the sense that you can set your own pace in terms of class-load. For me, it has been extremely helpful as I've just transitioned to a new job so I've been able to take a step back on school work.

Tell us about your favorite classes

I didn’t think the concepts I would learn in class would have an immediate impact on my life (both personal and professional). Starting from Day One,  I was able to apply what I learned to my job the very next day. Despite being someone who is naturally analytical, I love all the qualitative classes that I’ve taken thus far. One of my favorites in this area is Diversity in Organizations with Professor Jane Risen. Just going through her course, hearing different perspectives, and applying them to my own life was extremely insightful and helpful. I am an African-American woman, but I also have some everyday privileges that I didn’t necessarily think about before taking the course.

 

Another class I really enjoyed was Leadership Practicum with Professor Chris Collins. I learned to take an introspective look at myself to evaluate my strengths and weaknesses as a leader and think about how I present myself to others. It helped me put myself in others' shoes when having difficult conversations and taught me a lot of coaching techniques, which I still utilize often when I'm interacting with my team, family, and friends.

 

Booth Evening MBA student Jasmyne Gorrell

"I didn't think the concepts I would learn in class would have an immediate impact on my life (both personal and professional). Starting from Day 1, I was able to apply what I learned to my job the very next day."

— Jasmyne Gorrell

What advice would you offer to incoming students?

It’s important that you go at your own pace. Obviously, the education is why we’re all here, but there’s so much more than that. You want to make sure that you’re building your network and also having fun along the way. 


Once you start at Chicago Booth, keep yourself engaged with the community, take everything in stride, and know that things will get back to normal at some point. One positive aspect of the virtual environment is that there are many online opportunities to engage with the community. It seems that a lot of people are being more proactive and intentional about reaching and meeting new people. 



You’re a co-chair of the Coalition of Minorities in Business and have a long history of volunteering with other organizations. Tell us more about that.

Coalition of Minorities in Business tries to build a community amongst underrepresented students of color—African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and also the Native American population. Before the pandemic hit we would host various engagements to allow students of color to get together and informally meet each other to build rapport. As the pandemic continues, we continue to build community by hosting Zoom sessions where we get together and talk about things that are going on in the world and also things that we would like to see change within our own communities. It's an open environment where people can come to socialize, learn about upcoming events, or discuss current events. 

 

Giving back has always been a cornerstone of my character. I am a minority, an African-American woman, and I always wanted to put myself in a position to show others what hard work and dedication can lead to. It’s definitely something that's near and dear to my heart and something that I continue to think about and try to be actively involved in as much as I can. For example, in the past I’ve participated on boards of minority organizations, was a general member of both the NAACP and Circle K International, and even joined my firm’s Volunteer Committee to plan events for the entire company. My bandwidth has dwindled, but I still find time to give back. Currently I serve as a community based mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. These are all rewarding experiences that allow me to engage and bring my diverse perspective to make quantifiable differences in my community.


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