Coronavirus Updates

In honor of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we connected with Tanya Kalra to discuss the mission and vision of Booth’s South Asian Business Group (SABG), her experience moving to Chicago from another country, and the significance behind AAPI Heritage Month. Read on to learn more about the SABG and Tanya’s connection to this cultural Month.

The South Asian Business Group (SABG) aims to create a unified platform for members of the Chicago Booth community and beyond to engage in initiatives connected to South Asia. As the largest student cultural group at the school, SABG offers a plethora of opportunities for business students to build a robust network through social, cultural, and professional events. SABG also extends an open invitation to all Booth students, regardless of their backgrounds or ethnicity, and they encourage all members to become actively involved!

SABG hosts a diverse range of events in order to create a vibrant and inclusive community experience. By catering to professional, social, and cultural aspects of life, SABG strives to provide holistic support to all of its members. For aspiring 1Ys, they assist in facilitating their recruiting journey by pairing 1Ys with experienced 2Ys in their respective industries. Their commitment to early guidance in the recruitment process ensures students receive adequate mentorship from the start of their MBA experience.

In addition to professional development efforts, SABG embraces cultural celebrations such as Holi, Eid, Onam, and their highly anticipated flagship event, the Diwali Cruise, which Tanya describes as, “An absolute must-attend experience”. These festivities allow for members of SABG to connect with one another beyond professional boundaries in hopes of fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie.

They also organize small group gatherings where individuals can forge meaningful connections while enjoying themselves; moreover, their networking approach follows the “pay it forward” culture at Booth. Tanya states, “We were fortunate to receive unwavering support and guidance from our 2Ys since day one, and it is our mission to create a similar warm and supportive environment for incoming students.”

Grey Placeholder Image

Tanya, Full-Time MBA student and SABG co-chair, was born and raised in Delhi, India. After earning her undergraduate degree in statistics, she worked as a financial planning and analysis professional with United Airlines for nearly six years. During her tenure at United Airlines, Tanya realized she thoroughly enjoyed the diversity and novelty associated with projects where there was something new to learn everyday. In looking to collaboratively solve business problems across different industries and geographies, Tanya decided she wanted to pivot to pursue a career in consulting. Inspired by some of her close colleagues in the Chicago area, who vouched for the transformative MBA experience at Booth, Tanya was confident that Booth’s MBA Program with the Chicago Approach at its core would champion her career goals and also groom her into evolving into the responsible and successful leader she aspired to be.

Grey Placeholder Image

Prior to attending Booth, Tanya frequently visited Chicago for work. Nonetheless, moving to Chicago for the long term initially felt overwhelming and daunting due to it being her first time living away from home. However, from day one, Tanya experienced the incredible “pay it forward” culture at Booth that made her feel more at ease. “Everyone was genuinely helpful and proactive in addressing our concerns and doubts. The South Asian Business Group (SABG) deserves special mention for making the transition exceptionally smooth even before relocating to Chicago,” she says. “They organized multiple informative Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions, providing valuable insights and guidance that helped us navigate a wide spectrum of issues from visa and recruiting to bidding for courses. Moreover, SABG connected us with mentors who not only supported us professionally but also helped us settle into the new city. Thanks to SABG, Booth truly became my home away from home. Their significant role in my journey cannot be overstated.”

Grey Placeholder Image

When asked why it was important to join SABG, Tanya stated it was a means of paying it forward. “When I initially arrived in Chicago, I was fortunate to encounter the incredible warmth and support of the community, which helped me immensely in navigating my MBA experience. As an international student, SABG played a huge role in helping me nurture a sense of belonging. I want to create a similar experience for incoming students, where they feel they’re part of a tight-knit community that offers ample support and guidance needed to make the most of their two years at Booth,” she says.

Grey Placeholder Image

In celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Tanya reflects on the great significance that this month personally holds to her. “This month allows us to reflect on the struggles, triumphs, and resilience of the AAPI community, acknowledging and celebrating their rich heritage and the impact they have made across various fields. As an international student, I believe it also serves as a reminder of the importance of embracing diversity, fostering inclusivity, and promoting cultural understanding. AAPI Heritage Month encourages me to appreciate and learn from the experiences of others while strengthening my own identity as part of a global community,” she says.