Gerri Zhang explains why she chose Chicago Booth and how a deferred MBA has shaped her early career decisions.
- June 09, 2022
- Chicago Booth Scholars
I chose Chicago Booth because of its strong academic curriculum, exceptional student body, and accomplished faculty. I was first exposed to Chicago Booth as an undergraduate student in the Dougan Scholars Program through the University of Chicago, and had the privilege of taking six classes at the MBA level. I was so inspired by the level of intellectual curiosity and motivation in my classes. I really felt supported by all my professors. The courses I took were academically rigorous and helped prepare me well for my first job in investment banking after college. Chicago Booth also stands out in how it connects academic theory with real-world practice. In the undergraduate program, I was able to learn theoretical concepts, but at Booth, I really learned how to apply them in my own life and career. I truly believe Chicago Booth’s MBA program will best set me up for success in the future.
I wanted to get an MBA earlier in my career because I wasn’t sure if I would be passionate about my first job after college. I wanted to use my MBA as a career switching tool earlier on so I would be able to embark on my long-term career after working and figuring out what I did/did not like after undergrad. I also wanted as much time as possible to develop my career in an industry I was passionate about.
What really attracted me to the Booth Scholars Program was the flexibility and convenience it offered. Since I already knew I wanted to attend Booth from my undergraduate experience at UChicago, it was a great way for me to have an option after my first job. After working in investment banking and realizing it was not my life-long passion, I was very happy to have Chicago Booth waiting for me after my two-year analyst program. It was a great way to know I had an option to further my education and switch careers after my first job experience.
I stayed engaged with Booth by participating in virtual group meet-ups for Booth Scholars and speaking with my academic advisor. Even during the pandemic, the Booth Scholars Slack channel and Facebook groups were always active with updates from members, and I enjoyed reading about everyone’s accomplishments and life-updates.
Chicago Booth Scholars has given me a lot of flexibility in my early career decisions. Knowing that I had the option of getting an MBA and furthering my education, I was able to choose my first job with less pressure and just focus on developing my skills. I went into investment banking more confident that I could focus on my job and learn the necessary technical skills to be successful in any field. After deciding a career in finance was not for me, I was able to come to Booth and discover my passion in marketing. The Booth Scholars program gave me the chance to develop my technical skills with peace of mind, and then discover my true passions and pursue my long-term career.
My advice to deferred admission applicants is to figure out why an MBA would be valuable to them. The Chicago Booth Scholars program values applicants who have ambitious goals and a vision for how they will use their MBA. I would advise applicants to think clearly about what they are passionate about and if an MBA will help them achieve their goals.
A Booth MBA equips you with technical skills combined with theoretical understanding, as well as soft skills in communications, negotiations, and relationship management. The well-rounded curriculum prepares students to succeed in any dynamic, high-intensity industry because it fosters fundamental skills in critical thinking, flexibility, creativity, and communication. A Chicago Booth MBA also provides you with a life-long network of friends and peers who are all equally motivated, intelligent, and ambitious. This valuable network could lead to future job opportunities and possible entrepreneurial collaborations.
I hope my MBA will give me the leadership skills and core competencies to be a great leader in the marketing field. I want to be the chief marketing officer of a corporation one day, leading the company’s decision making in customer targeting, product positioning, and advertising campaigns. In order to be an effective leader in that capacity, I need skills in people management, cross-functional collaboration, data analytics, and industry insight, all of which a Booth MBA will help me achieve.
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