Sean Ellis, Weekend MBA alum
Vice President, ORIX Capital Partners, Boston, MA
Why did you choose to pursue an MBA? Why Booth?
Before business school, I held roles in product management and consulting. I think everybody looked at me as an operator and I wanted to start acting as an investor who could pull operational levers. Booth was the only school I looked at that didn’t have hard requirements early on, or define the exact path you had to take. Because of the program’s flexibility, my destination ended up different than where I originally started. The flexibility and the reputation of the faculty were both big draws.
What impact did your MBA have on your career?
I worked in product management at my former employer, and, interestingly, didn’t have a lot of data available to make decisions. I told my manager that I was developing new tools and skill sets, so let’s figure out how to get data and use it to shape insights. I started thinking about things more quantitatively, applying frameworks and skills from Booth on our data sets to guide our decisions more rigorously.
When it became apparent that I was ready for a job change, I worked with Career Services to understand my options. I shifted from the mindset of “what am I doing for my employer that allows them to give me time to pursue a degree” to “I’m investing in myself to gain an education and be marketable to both my current and future employers.” It got me thinking about how I wanted to spend the remainder of my Booth career. I ultimately decided to pursue opportunities in private equity. Booth taught me how to tell a great story with meaningful data points associated with it. My coursework helped me think through business challenges and be comfortable with ambiguity and using data when there’s a lot of grey.