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The Booth Partners Club recently grew membership by 33% and hosted over 40 events in the Fall Quarter alone. Meet the Partner’s Club co-chairs and their Boothie partners.

Christina (Partner) & Guy Caland Puymartin (Booth MBA)

Erica (Partner) & Brian Carlson (Booth MBA)

Priyanka Bhosale (Partner) & Shekhar Iyer (Booth MBA)

Derek Schinke (Partner) & Sonya Wach (Booth MBA)

Why did you feel compelled to join Booth Partners?

Christina: When Booth started, I thought it was a good sign that Guy bought the two-year membership for us five months into dating! At the time, B-school was a foreign world to me and I was impressed there was a dedicated group for significant others. I understood right away the value in Booth making us feel welcome. I found a niche by sharing my cultural and artistic interests with the club as Fine Arts & Architecture co-chair. By the time Guy decided to stay an extra year for his computer science dual degree, we had become known as event hosts in the community and I was tapped to advance Booth Partners as president.

Erica: I joined Booth Partners initially as a way to meet people. My husband and I moved to Chicago and didn’t know many people in the city. Booth Partners started as a way for me to meet friends while Brian was recruiting, but turned into more.  During recruiting season, Partner events were date nights, ways to explore Chicago, and allowed us to meet other like-minded couples who turned into lifelong friends. I have had the opportunity to take on a leadership position as vice president, and this role has allowed me to give back to the Partners community in a meaningful way.

Priyanka: As a partner to a busy MBA student in a new country, I realized that I had to create my own community at Booth to truly belong here. Shekhar and I joined Booth Partners to meet other couples and share unique partner experiences while immersing ourselves in the rich Chicago life!

Derek: I felt compelled to join Booth Partners because I wanted to join a community of Boothies and their Partners experiencing Booth in a similar way to my Boothie and me. The Booth Partners club provided a great springboard for meeting new people at the school and in Chicago. I also knew they were working hard to put on a diverse array of events for this year, and they did so well that I’ve heard from others at Booth that they’ve been jealous of the amount and breadth of events we host!

How do your partners best support you while they are pursuing their MBA?

Guy: Coming to Booth, I wanted to build new skills and explore various business functions. Christina not only encouraged me as I interned in product, VC, and business development roles—she also supported me when I later decided to pursue the MBA/CS dual degree. Christina also thoughtfully planned our social life and built our network. I grew up in an open household where friends and acquaintances would join our family for meals. Christina recreated this by hosting themed events with friends and fostering my passion for cooking and cocktails. She truly is my partner in all senses of the word—and through all her experiences at Booth she's basically done the MBA alongside me!

Brian: Erica always pushes me to be my best. She encouraged me to apply to Booth in the first place, and has always been in my corner. Whether that is helping me with practice interviews or working hard to support us financially, while I am in school, she is the woman who makes my Booth experience possible.

Shekhar: Priyanka has been a mountain of strength for me as I was challenged by an extremely busy initial period of MBA life. From helping me plan my course load, to nursing me back to health from Covid, and later being my primary mock interviewer, she has been a deft Partner. It is great to unfold the delightful episodes of the amazing Booth experience with her by my side!

Sonya: Derek supports me by helping manage our home, like through cleaning and cooking, and also by attending Booth events and being involved in the community alongside me.

What was the most helpful advice you have received from another Booth Partner?

Christina: My first close friend at Booth, Sam Mardyla, was a Boothie and also a Partner (she and her husband were enrolled at the same time). Partners don’t always feel integrated in the beginning, but Sam gave me the confidence that I could add something unique to the community. That motivated me to meet Guy’s class and get engaged with the Booth Partners club.

Erica: The most helpful advice I have received from another partner is to jump in! As a 1Y Partner I was afraid to ask to come along to social events since I was “just a partner,” but I learned this is exactly why you should join in! As partners we sometimes feel separated from the rest of the school, since we aren’t students ourselves, but we are so involved with the community at Booth. I found that we are always welcome by Boothies and partners alike. With Partners’ support, I have been able to fully integrate myself into the Booth community.

Priyanka: In our early Booth days, I felt somewhat excluded when Shekhar was busy with his academic and recruiting activities. As I considered my options, Christina advised me to leverage Booth Partners as my own Booth community and ideate on how we could together make it a great experience for other Partners. I think this was a turning point and really helped me see myself as a value creator to the Booth experience through my involvement with Booth Partners.

Derek: The most useful advice I received from another Partner was to remind myself that my Boothie may have a lot on their plate, so supporting them in any way I can while they undertake their degree is key.

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had in Chicago while at Booth?

Christina: Our engagement party last June was the most memorable event Guy and I hosted together. As a fourth generation Chicagoan, I wanted to give a classic Chicago experience to our Booth friends, so we planned a soirée at the Jazz Showcase in the South Loop. Guy and I requested vocalist Dee Alexander and were thrilled when she agreed to perform! We decorated the tables with flowers and packed the venue with Booth friends and their partners. It was truly a memorable evening starting and ending with different versions of Frank Sinatra’s “Chicago,” and beautiful songs in between.

Erica: One of my favorite features of our new home is its proximity to the Art Institute. We were not able to go for the first year we lived in Chicago due to the pandemic, but were finally able to go for the first time last spring. I was amazed at the sheer size of it, and how many exhibits they have. It is easily one of my favorite things to do in Chicago, and is somewhere I take family and friends on a regular basis. Bonus – it is walkable from our apartment!

Priyanka: A favorite experience for us has been seeing the mood of the city change around us from the lively red October to bright celebratory November/December to white-chilly January/February. We really love living so close to the best experiences that Chicago can offer. We often take long walks along the river marveling at the beautiful Chicago skyline or whenever stressed, taking refuge along the peaceful lakefront or one of the many parks in the area.

Derek: My most memorable memory since coming to Chicago was being in the front pit for Sonya at Lollapalooza right before school started. We met up with some other Boothies and their Partners who had already moved to Chicago and were attending the music festival. We had an amazing time making new friends!

What is your most memorable Boothie experience?

Guy: Proposing to Christina. I asked her early in the morning in front of Botany Pond at the University of Chicago. We were both moved to tears, and then something remarkable happened – several ducklings hatched from the building ledge above us and started their new lives with a joyful splash. Christina and I had champagne afterwards at the nearby Sophy Hotel with a few close friends who had helped me plan the proposal. The next day our Booth friends organized a surprise celebratory brunch for us, and it turned out to be at the Duck Inn in Bridgeport! An incredible weekend I will never forget.

Brian: My first job offer at Booth is something I will never forget. Erica and I were both home that morning, nervously waiting to hear back when we got the call. After the initial excitement, we didn’t know what to do so we took a walk along Lake Michigan. The feeling of relief after months of recruiting was unforgettable. After enjoying the crisp January morning and admiring the frozen lake, we headed back home to enjoy celebratory mimosas.

Shekhar: My most memorable Booth experience has been jamming to old Bollywood songs with twenty other friends for several hours, including a public performance to cap off the fun, entertaining amused pedestrians on Michigan Avenue!

Sonya: My most memorable Boothie experience was meeting up in Telluride on the Booth Ski trip with people we had met at a previous Booth Partners event and spending the whole day shredding the slopes with them!


Read more couple profiles this Valentine's Day on The Booth Experience!