The Executive MBA Program is tough. There's no such thing as an MBA-light around here. You have to work hard for what you get, but it's absolutely worth it. I mean, they put you through the rigor, but in the end, you know you've really earned your degree, as opposed to just being handed a piece of paper. The Chicago Approach - challenging convention and looking at things from lots of angles before drawing conclusions - has absolutely changed the way I think about solutions.
The professors don't just tell you how to do something, or how to solve an individual problem. They give you the skills to reach your own solutions - solutions that can be replicated and applied to multiple situations in the future. We focus less on understanding the economy right now and more on understanding the fundamentals that help us draw our own conclusions about how to navigate the business world. We're learning the theory and concepts behind market behavior so that we'll still be finding the best possible solutions tomorrow - and in five or 20 years from now.
And the professors like to be challenged, which is refreshing. They're really interested in the application of theory. They want to know what's going on, on the ground, and what people are saying in different industries about the concepts we're discussing. For example, my macroeconomics professor worked at the Federal Reserve. In class, he'd come in and talk to us about what they'd discussed in recent meetings, and what our heads of government were saying about the economy. You just don't get that at other schools. You get that at Chicago Booth.
It's been intellectually stimulating to be surrounded by such incredible business minds. In the past, I was always the one coming up with an idea, and wanting to talk about it and see where it might go. But finding people on the same level, interested in that kind of thing, was a challenge. Here, I'm surrounded by people who are all idea-makers. It's an amazing support system of people who all want to take risks, put something together, and explore where things might lead. The discussions that happen in class and in our study groups are so valuable. Chicago Booth has taught me not to defer to the obvious "expert," because all of us are experts in something, and we're always learning from each other.
One of the things that surprised me about Booth was just how strong the networking aspect is. When people first found out that I was going to Chicago Booth, they'd always want to talk to me about the program. The prestige and name recognition is definitely there, which is a draw for those of us who are already established in the business world. Whenever I put my business card with the Chicago Booth logo on my travel bag, complete strangers always come up and want to talk about the program. I'm really proud to be a member of the Booth community. Everyone's a go-getter. These are smart, accomplished people who are looking to take their next steps. And it's exciting to be a part of that.