Study Group Social
Eric Chernik, '97
I was looking for something very different from my undergraduate experience when searching for a business school. I was looking for something that was more quantitative from an academic perspective. It was a gap I had in my toolbox that I knew Chicago Booth could fill.
We had a lot of people in our class who wanted to make a difference. We pushed for Booth to create a general management concentration, and I think we filled a thirst or gap that was out there. People jumped in line and raised their hands to get involved, and the Corporate Management and Strategy Group, or CMSG, was born. We started visiting companies like John Deere and McDonald’s, and they loved having us. It was a nice liaison with their recruiting.
I think having the LEAD cohorts really helped create camaraderie among the class. I was in the Gargoyle cohort, and we had a blast. Our classmates really banded together in their cohorts to form close groups. By our second year, people had created what we called the Thursday Night Drink Club, or TNDC. Our class started that event with just a few people saying, “Hey, we’re going to go out on Thursday nights together!” We even had baseball caps that read “TNDC.” It was a good social outlet that helped our class gel together even more.
To this day, I’ve remained close to my Booth network. I talked to one of my classmates the other day that I haven’t seen in 20 years, but when I pick up the phone, it feels like we’re back in class again. We had a strong enough relationship when we were in classes that even though we’re not physically near each other, we can ask each other for opinions and advice on business and bounce ideas off of each other. I can do this with any number of people.
I’m looking forward to reminiscing, and Reconnect is about seeing the evolution of a classmate. We built our foundation together in business school, and now, 20 years later, what have our building blocks turned into? I’m always fascinated by what adventures people have been up to, in their business or personal lives. The world is constantly a learning environment, so I love to surround myself with other sharp people who have diverse experiences—and while we all came together at Booth, bringing our own experiences, what have we done since we left? We have started putting our fingerprints on a bunch of other things, so I’m always curious as to what everyone has built.
Eric Chernik is Vice President at Lennox International in Dallas, Texas, and co-chair of the Class of 1997 reunion committee. His family now has two teenage children, in addition to his wife, Beth.