A Growing Sense of Pride
Joan Treistman, ’69
Ending up at Chicago Booth really fell into place with the point I was at in life. I was working in marketing research and recognized that I was missing the business frame of reference that would help me better understand what my clients truly wanted. I felt a business degree would be helpful. Around the same time, I married my husband, Norman—who was going through the Executive Program. We got married in New York, honeymooned in Mexico, and went straight to Chicago instead of returning to New York.
The Executive Program was a two-year program, so I became determined to graduate with my husband– we ended up in somewhat of a competition. I started at 190 E. Delaware, determined to graduate early, I got permission from my employer to miss a few days of work each week. I’d travel down to take classes at the Hyde Park campus. We both ended up graduating in the June of ’69. I always liked to remind my husband that I graduated first because “J” comes before “N” in the alphabet.
Graduating together was definitely special because it meant both our parents could attend and we could all go out to eat together after the ceremony. My husband and I loved spending time in Greektown while in school, so we thought we’d take our parents there for dinner. Our favorite spot was Dianna’s Opaa on Halsted, which has since closed. Our parents were rather stunned when they walked inside because the restaurant looked like someone’s almost-finished basement, but we loved it. It’s funny how different we looked at something like Diana’s while in school, versus how we might look at it now. It gave us so many good memories while in school.
Since I was working and in school full-time, I didn’t have a lot of extra time to get involved in many organizations. I joined the American Marketing Association (AMA) and ultimately served two terms as president of the New York Chapter, as well as serving on many national boards.
School was far from easy for me because I came from a liberal arts background. The emphasis on economics, finance and so forth, was really challenging. Thinking back to my classes, Harry Davis stands out. His way of thinking, pushing through problem-solving, and exploring ideas was very impressive to me at the time and still is.
Being in classes with others who were strikingly different from me ended up being a blessing in disguise. I recall starting a group project and just felt disconnected from the others. At the end of the day, we had to collaborate to turn in a solid product. I learned to not make judgements about people initially; to give time to learn who they are and what their skills are—a lesson that has stayed with me.
I’ve not stayed in touch with a lot of my classmates, but I have run into them over the years. I attended Economic Outlook in the city a few years back and it was fun to run into an old classmate and chat for a bit.
Returning to Chicago for the last reunion made me feel much more connected to Booth than I had previously. In the past, I felt more connected to the classes, but returning has opened up my feelings of connection with the people from students and recent graduates, to the people I was in class with years ago. Booth has flourished and it offers me a true sense of pride of what we accomplished in graduating from the school. I’m excited to return once again in May.
Joan Treistman is president of The Treistman Group in New York, New York.