Weekend MBA student, Bobby Niehaus, shares how his Booth MBA contributed to his growth at Boeing and helps him deliver meaningful change for the teams he supports.
- February 25, 2020
- Career Impact
City: Chicago, IL
Title: Aircraft Cybersecurity Engineering Manager
Previous positions at Boeing:
How did the Booth MBA help you advance/transition into a variety of roles within Boeing?
I was motivated to start my career as an engineer because of my deep interest in technology and the development of creative solutions to challenging problems. Booth has provided me the means to equip myself with skills that enable me to take that problem solving approach to the larger business enterprise. The elite classroom education, outstanding peer group exposure, and enriching extra-curricular development offered by the Booth MBA program provided me with many experiences that accelerated my personal and professional growth. At work, I have grown in my leadership capacity and have earned roles with increasing impact on the greater direction of our business. My MBA at Booth has helped me leverage my abilities in technical innovation and bring them to bear on problems of all flavors across the firm!
What impact did Booth have on your career?
The Chicago Approach – employed by Booth as well as the rest of the university – has amplified my own natural curiosity and informed the way I incorporate diverse perspectives in the creative problem solving process. My time at Booth has prepared me to work on and lead multidisciplinary teams. In his course Strategic Leadership in Management Networks, Professor Ronald Burt defines the advantages of “brokerage” amongst disparate network (work) clusters as Timing, Breadth, and Arbitrage. I firmly believe that Chicago Booth equips its MBA students to be brokers in their careers. I am quicker to reach solutions to challenges I face. The breadth of experience to which I’ve been exposed widens my solution space and the practice I’ve had on high-performing, diverse teams makes redeployment of ideas to problem vectors a breeze. All of this has resulted in uncommon opportunity to deliver meaningful, positive change for the teams I support.
Describe the classroom experience.
Every class experience at Booth is unique. The common thread, though, is a passionate curiosity and vibrant dialogue among everyone in the room. We are fortunate to have truly world class faculty… and world class student peers! The energy in the room is engaging as we collaboratively challenge our own assumptions and seek deeper learning for everyone involved.
Most Memorable Booth Moment.
My first quarter at Booth, I took Financial Accounting. The day of the final, I – along with many other students – got to the classroom early to cram in a few last precious minutes of studying. With horror, I discovered that a key equation on my study guide was wrong and that I had been practicing a key operation incorrectly. A concerned sigh from me led several classmates to inquire what was wrong. When I casually explained my mistake, 3-4 students from around the room immediately descended on my desk. These classmates only stood to gain on a curved exam if I did poorly. It would have been trivially easy for them to focus on their own studies and let me struggle alone. My most memorable moment at Booth is that, in that tender situation, those Booth students spent over ten minutes helping me correct my study sheet and reviewing the proper approach. If anyone doubts that Boothies are a truly collaborative and learning-focused group of people, I could not disagree more strongly!
Advice to anyone considering an MBA.
Getting an MBA is a significant investment of time, money, and energy. Identifying what motivation and vision brings you to the MBA early can help you tackle the challenges you will face. Friedrich Nietzsche famously said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Many things about my perspective have changed since starting the program. My own “why” remains the same and has ensured that every quarter feels as exciting, fresh, and full of opportunity as my very first. To any potential Boothie, I hope you find your “why”!
Thoughts on getting a part-time MBA?
The part-time Booth program allows students to pursue an elite MBA program while continuing to amass meaningful work experience. Applying course lessons the next week in a real-world setting is a powerful pedagogical tool! As an out-of-town weekend student, I also greatly enjoy the intense bond and connection I’ve formed with my classmates through the shared experience between the weekend warriors. I have been fortunate to meet incredible people and to have developed deep friendships, even as a commuter student.