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Miguel (Mike) Jacob, ‘20 Chicago Booth Evening MBA

Senior Consultant, Guidehouse

 

Take us along on your journey to Chicago Booth

I’m the son of Mexican immigrants who emigrated to the United States. I was born in California, but went to school in Mexico for five years in elementary and middle school, before moving to the suburbs of Illinois.

I’m a non-traditional student. I needed to help my mom out financially after graduating high school, so I was not able to attend college right away. I joined the workforce full-time, but my dream was always to be the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college. I initially worked in manufacturing. I enrolled in community college and took a class or two every semester at night, still hoping that I would transfer to a university one day.

I enjoyed math and always had a passion for it, so engineering was attractive to me. I transferred to University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) and studied mechanical engineering. UIC was a top choice for me because I could commute into the city by train. By working full time I saved enough to become a full-time student and help my family. I was very lucky that after my first semester, I was able to secure an engineering internship and worked as many hours each week as I could.

I graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering with Honors and Cum Laude. I secured an engineering role with Peoples Gas where I worked for six and a half years. I always try to better myself and continue learning, and in order to diversify my skill set and increase my opportunities for a leadership role, I decided to pursue an MBA.

Why did you choose Chicago Booth?

Booth was my first choice as it is recognized as one of the top schools in the country. I was drawn to Booth’s sense of community and focus on the student experience. I attended an Investments class and enjoyed the interactive environment that promoted collaboration. Upon applying, I knew it was going to be challenging to get admitted into Booth, but I told my story and was thrilled upon receiving my acceptance letter. 

Chicago Booth alumnus Mike Jacob

"When I learned of Coalition of Minorities in Business, I thought it was a great opportunity to connect with fellow students... As a first generation student,  I've lived through challenges of adjusting to a new environment and appreciated the opportunity to join part of a community with similar backgrounds and heritage."

— Miguel (Mike) Jacob

Why was joining the Coalition of Minorities in Business (CMB) important to you? 

When I learned of Coalition of Minorities in Business, I thought it was a great opportunity to connect with fellow students and expand my network. As a first generation student, I’ve lived through challenges of adjusting to a new environment and appreciated the opportunity to join part of a community with similar backgrounds and heritage.I met students Gabriela (Gaby) Arismendi and Linda Trujano at a CMB lunch and they shared opportunities to become more involved. I applied and was selected as a co-chair for CMB.My first planned event as co-chair was going to bring together CMB and the Full-Time Program’s minority groups, but unfortunately the event did not occur due to the pandemic. Now that I’ve graduated, I’d like to continue contributing toward CMB and enhance the Booth experience for current students and future alumni by creating a Booth Hispanic and Latinx alumni group.

What are your favorite Chicago Booth highlights?

My favorite CMB event was an outing to the Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. This was one of our most successful events as we had 40 students from different backgrounds attend the event, make new connections, and learn about Mexican culture. It was also the first time many students learned about CMB and provided an opportunity to share the mission of the club.

Apart from CMB, my other highlight was volunteering to be a LAUNCH (student orientation) mentor for the Winter Quarter of 2019. I loved helping new students connect with Booth by introducing them to opportunities, answering their questions, and sharing my experience at Booth.

What has your Mexican heritage taught you? How do you remain connected to your heritage?

Part of my Mexican heritage is growing up with a focus on family; I still call my family every day to check on them. I learned that if I was put in a position where I could pay it forward for someone else, I should do so. I’m proud of what I have achieved, but I’m also blessed to be where I am. I am very thankful to my parents for the sacrifices they made by coming to this country to provide for a better future for me. 

Part of the reason why I volunteer with Angeles Investors, is to help other Latinos who are looking to make a difference in the world. Angeles Investors’ mission is to find, fund, and grow the most promising Hispanic and Latinx ventures. We started last year -- we are a startup helping start-ups. I’ve done a little bit of everything during my time with them, including due diligence reports, sourcing new ventures, and managing all aspects of our quarterly pitch night. We have deployed close to $3M in funding to date and I believe we will surpass our initial goal to reach $10M by 2025 with 200 Angels as members. 

It’s amazing to see someone who looks like you make it to the top. If one of these ventures that I helped obtain funding or that I helped with networking becomes a unicorn, that would be amazing. A dream of mine would be to one day have my own venture capital fund. I want to continue to work towards closing the funding gap for minorities and level the playing field for passionate founders who are looking to change the world.

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