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The Chicago Business Fellows Program (CBF) is part of Chicago Booth’s Evening MBA and Weekend MBA Programs, designed for candidates with three years or less of full-time business experience. Learn how Kaley maximized her MBA and continues to build lifelong connections.

Why Chicago Booth?

There are so many reasons why I was drawn in and wanted to attend Chicago Booth. Firstly, the top-notch professors, rigorous courses, and flexible curriculum make the school one of a kind. I love that I could have the flexibility to pick and choose the classes I was most interested in taking or that applied to my professional growth and I didn’t have to follow a curated curriculum. The Chicago Approach and strong quantitative analysis/learning was also important to me. I also knew that I wanted to shift careers during my time at Booth and having Career Services, Academic Services, and other faculty specifically available only to part-time students meant that the advisors worked on a schedule that tailored to our full-time working lives. We didn’t have to fight for their availability with full-time students. In addition, I wanted to build a strong network of Boothies through my involvement while in the program and the immense number of part-time clubs available was a strong factor to knowing I could get the most out of my experience.

Why Chicago Business Fellows? Why was getting an MBA earlier in your career important to you?

When I started looking at MBA programs, I had just finished a two-year leadership program at my company, so it was the perfect timing for me to continue my educational, development, and leadership skills. I knew I wanted to go to business school earlier in my career and Chicago Business Fellows gave me the opportunity to purse my MBA with a cohort of peers in the same stage of life as me with the same ambitions. I also did my due diligence surveying several people I worked who had gone through Chicago Business Fellows Program (CBF) and they had nothing but high praise for the program and their experience. CBF provided me deep friendships and relationships through the professional development sessions and programming where we could learn and grow our skills. This followed by other CBF events and Booth (as a whole) helped me get promoted twice while in the program and able to make a career shift at the end of my time at Booth. Chicago Business Fellows provided me with some of my best friends at Booth along with making me a better leader and problem-solver.

What are your career aspirations and how will an MBA from Booth help you achieve them?

I am currently working in consulting, and I hope to spend valuable time building my experience in new industries and on diverse projects. I am hoping to eventually transition back into my previous industry and continue to move up within any organization. My intrinsic value is to make a positive impact on people and Booth will help me achieve these aspirations through my influential leadership skills, problem-solving abilities, and a vast network of supportive Boothies.

How have you used the flexible curriculum to maximize your time at Booth and get what you needed out of your MBA? What’s a specific example?

I used the flexible curriculum to graduate with four concentrations (General Management, Strategic Management, Behavioral Science, and Economics) and dive deeper into subjects, decision making models, theories, etc. that I hadn’t gotten as much access to before. I was also able to take a summer off and do few quarters where I only took one class because of a more demanding work schedule. This allowed me to balance all aspects of my life to get the most out of my MBA.

How has Booth helped you develop as a leader? What aspects have you found especially useful in being an effective leader in the world today?

Booth has helped me as a leader in the way I approach situations, try to understand all external and internal influences on people, and to try to influence effectively without authority. I was exposed to different concepts/case studies in classes, during the leadership retreat and Booth Women Advance involvement, through different clubs/events, and my professors/classmates. Not only have I developed invaluable skills, but I have gained the confidence needed to execute as a good leader.

How have you felt supported by the Booth community?

I felt supported by the Booth community everyday through my classmates, especially my female classmates. Everyone was so supportive and encouraging of each other whether at club events, in the classroom, and both personally and professionally. Some of my best friends are my fellow Booth alumni. In addition, Career Services, (especially Anita Brick) was extremely impactful in helping me navigate the world of networking, interviewing, and landing my new role. Anita was helpful, inspirational, and always available when I needed her. Lastly, the Booth alumni network is one of the best of any school in the world. When I was networking and trying to learn as much as I could while looking for new roles, almost every single Booth alumnus I reached out to was willing to connect with me for 30 minutes, even if they had never met me before. I really felt the impact of the Booth community during this time.