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Cody Fennern is an Evening MBA student who currently works as a Product Marketing Manager. Read more to learn about his Part-Time MBA experience.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at Chicago Booth?
I knew since completing my undergraduate program that I eventually wanted to go back to school to get my MBA. After several years of working as a marketing professional, I recognized that honing my leadership skills and business acumen was going to be vital as I continued to progress my career. Chicago Booth offers an unparalleled program for developing business leaders and I knew this program would give me the tools to meet my goals. In addition, as an openly gay member of the military, Booth provided a community to support both of these important aspects of my life. Foremost, throughout the admission process, Booth just felt right. Every time I visited Gleacher, spoke with a current student, or met with faculty and staff during the admission process I knew this was where I belonged, and it made my decision to attend Booth an easy one.

What’s been your favorite part about your MBA experience so far?
Without a doubt, the people. Since joining Booth, I've built lifelong friendships and expanded my professional network. There are countless opportunities to connect with current students, alumni, and faculty outside the classroom. The professors and faculty have been such great mentors and are always willing to connect and discuss new ideas – even if you took their class years ago.

Tell us about the student group Booth Pride.
The goal of Booth Pride is to foster growth in the LGBTQ+ Chicago Booth community through learning and career development opportunities. At Booth you can be confident to show up each day as your authentic self and be proud of your identity. Members of the Booth Pride group are looking forward to attending the ROMBA Conference in DC this October. The ROMBA Conference is the world’s largest gathering of LGBTQ+ business students and alumni. The event includes a variety of panels, workshops, and a career fair with 100+ corporate partners recruiting LGBTQ+ MBA talent.

Why is it important to you to become a Booth Pride co-chair?
While I have been fortunate not to experience discrimination because of my identity during my corporate professional career, I did serve in the military during ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and understand the obstacles LGBTQ+ persons have and continue to face in their professional careers. As a co-chair of Booth Pride, I hope to build understanding and empathy among the entire Booth community. I want to work together to help eliminate discrimination and enact workplace policies that create a positive environment for LGBTQ+ professionals. This is also why I believe it is important for allies to get involved in Booth Pride, or any of our Booth diversity groups. Building your understanding of the challenges diversity groups currently face will make you a better leader and people manager in any professional organization.

How would you characterize the Chicago Booth community?
The entire Booth community is driven by self-improvement. We are all here to improve ourselves, our communities, and our organizations.

What are important strides MBA programs can make to help advocate for the LGBTQ+ community?
Since I joined Booth in 2019, I’ve already witnessed some awesome changes to help advocate for and foster a strong LGBTQ+ community. One example is the addition of preferred pronouns to student’s name tents used in the classroom. Even small steps like this can help create an environment where members of our community are acknowledged and respected.

Is there anything else you’d like prospective students to know?
Take advantage of the numerous opportunities to broaden your social network during your MBA program. From alumni lunches to a social hour after class, connecting with others will open you up to new ideas, cultures, hobbies, and develop you as a stronger, empathetic leader with an expanded worldview.