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 Uma maximized her MBA and continues to build lifelong connections.

Why Chicago Booth?

I am a proud alumna of UC San Diego and a strong advocate for public institutions. However, the flexibility of the Chicago Booth MBA program coupled with the opportunities that Booth could provide me, even beyond my time as a student, was compelling. What was most important in my decision was the fact that I held the Booth alumni I knew with high regard. They were shining examples of individuals and values I wanted to embody personally and professionally.

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

I knew early on in my undergraduate career that going to a top-ranked business school was something I wanted to pursue. Yet, at the time I was applying, I had just under two years of full-time work experience under my belt. The ability to continue working and exploring different career paths while getting my MBA just made sense because I wanted to leverage my MBA at every single step of my professional development. The Chicago Business Fellows journey was also compelling because it would give me a chance to work and connect with ambitious individuals interested in the same journey from day 1.

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?

The flexibility of the curriculum and the ability to pace your Part-Time MBA journey is huge. I just switched into a product manager role at my company and went from taking three classes in the Spring to one in the Summer and Fall so I could really focus on my new professional opportunity. While I currently see myself at the junction of business and science, I am really passionate about community growth, DE&I, sustainability, and real estate. I've been able to take classes in social entrepreneurship, marketing, and healthcare but have also saved a slot in my MBA curriculum for Professor Pagliari's real estate course offering.

How have the additional professional development opportunities and social programming for Chicago Business Fellows helped you?

The programming for the Business Fellows program has been great in giving me a community of people that I feel connected to beyond the classroom. Moving to Chicago from California, I really didn't know anyone and I'm glad to have found friends through Chicago Business Fellows that want to hang out but also understand the crazy schedule and journey of being an early professional working full-time and going to school part-time. A lot of the professional programming has coalesced in my mind as social programming too because of the nature of our events, like the Etiquette Dinner and the Hearing One Another workshop.

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