I was very fortunate that my employers supported my decision to come to Booth from the beginning. But they did so because they recognized the quality of the program. They knew that it would be a wonderful experience for me that would translate into my being a better employee for them. And I am. Booth equips you to serve your company so much better, regardless of what department your current role is in. Even in something as simple as considering how I'm going to manage one of the administrative support personnel, but I think I'm much better at just stepping back and thinking about challenges more methodically than I did before.
Chicago Booth has changed my life by encouraging me to look at things from a different perspective. It's helped me to understand so much more about all the parts of a business operation, so I really look at things differently than I did before coming to Booth, and analyze them in a completely different way.
The faculty are remarkable people. They're renowned throughout the world for their ideas and research, but they really want to provide you with a positive experience. The classroom experience is more of a dialogue than I would have expected. You've got a professor who's leading the discussion, and then, you're surrounded by students contributing their own examples from their individual workplaces. The professors encourage healthy debate and open conversations, and they want to be challenged to help them round out their own experiences. And that benefits the students tremendously. It facilitates learning in a remarkable way, as opposed to just being lectured to. It allows students to offer differing perspectives that aren't always in the textbook, and it's enlightening to hear those real-world experiences that help to illuminate and drive home what we're learning. It makes the takeaways much more meaningful.
For example, I had a basic understanding of accounting, coming into the program. But now, I can look at a company that we're evaluating and go through the balance sheet, and their financial statements, and really understand how they all connect. It's really enabled me to recognize weaknesses that I might have missed before. I've learned some of the tricks in the ways people report things that have helped me to be a lot more discerning in digesting information. The program gracefully takes you out of your comfort zone and it really has a phenomenal result.
The community element is phenomenal. You meet so many people that might not have otherwise met, and I was really surprised by how cohesive the class is. That was actually a very wonderful surprise. We're a cohort program, meaning we travel through this journey--and the curriculum--together. And it really inspires everyone to collaborate and help each other, which just enriches our learning so much more. I didn't expect that, and frankly, was a bit worried about flying solo in the program, but if the person sitting next to you realizes that you're struggling with a concept, they'll help you. That kind of community support has really made it such a great experience.
The program also offers you access to so many alumni and student events, and professional engagements where you're able to network and make contacts with such a wide range of people. There are definitely professional benefits to that, but it also just helps you to learn to talk to different types of people. It allows you to build so many friendships and have such great exposure.
Professionally, I have access to resources that I otherwise would not have had. I know people now who are in so many businesses that I can call, all around the world, or send an email and say, "Hey, I've got this dilemma, and I need your opinion." And we're always happy to help. It's a very tight-knit network. We always want to help one another out.