The annual scholarship program recognizes outstanding students from the world’s leading graduate institutions in business and other fields.
- November 04, 2019
With diverse academic and professional backgrounds spanning economics and ecology, innovation and social progress, computer science, private equity, and entrepreneurship, five exceptional Chicago Booth students have been selected as 2020 Siebel Scholars. The international scholarship program recognizes exceptional students at the world’s leading graduate schools of business, computer science, energy science, and bioengineering.
Scholarship-winning Booth students Shining Li, Benjamin Lin, Toby Mills, Margaret Poisson, and David Tracy join a total of 17 Siebel Scholars selected this year from the world’s leading graduate schools of business—and 93 total Siebel Scholars across all four disciplines. The students, named by their respective deans, are recognized for their academic excellence, leadership, and ability to play a significant role in addressing global challenges.
Now in its 19th year, the Siebel Scholars program awards students $35,000 each for their final year of studies. On average, Siebel Scholars rank in the top 5 percent of their class, many within the top 1 percent. “Every year, the Siebel Scholars continue to impress me with their commitment to academics and influencing future society,” says Thomas M. Siebel, chairman of the Siebel Scholars Foundation. The foundation, based in Redwood City, California, established the Siebel Scholars program in 2000 through grants to 16 universities in the United States, China, France, Italy, and Japan. “This year’s class is exceptional, and once again represents the best and brightest minds from around the globe who are advancing innovations in healthcare, artificial intelligence, the environment, and more,” Siebel says.
Meet Booth’s 2020 Siebel Scholarship recipients:
Shining Li grew up as an aspiring fiction writer and graduated from Duke University with degrees in English and documentary studies. Since then, her original passion for stories has led her to surprising corners of the professional world. She participated in the Fulbright Program, spending a year as an English teaching assistant in Bulgaria. Prior to Booth, she worked as an associate at the Boston Consulting Group before leading the launch of a content arm for a startup focused on growing tech ecosystems across the US. She is now pursuing a joint MBA and Master's degree in her time at the University of Chicago, blending systematic and human-centered approaches to tackling tough problems, particularly related to social progress and civic empowerment.
After Booth, she plans to continue approaching problems through the interdisciplinary lens of human-centered design and innovation. “The Siebel Scholarship has connected me with a brilliant and thoughtful community across a vast breadth of disciplines,” Li says. “I look forward to being in conversation with the Siebel Scholars network throughout my career."
Raised in Northern California, Benjamin Lin headed east to earn his undergraduate degree at Amherst College. He majored in economics and geology, and it was his interest in earth science that earned him a Fulbright Award in 2012 to move to Turkey and study earthquakes and disaster preparedness. He returned to the United States in 2013 to begin his career as an economic consultant at Cornerstone Research in Boston. He enrolled at Booth, he says, to “broaden my skill set, build a new network, and transition to strategic work from more purely analytical work.”
“The Siebel Scholarship has been amazing, both as a practical award to help me fund my studies at Booth and get the opportunity to learn from and network with amazing individuals from across the country, but also as symbolic validation that I was able to really invest in my academics—the quality of which is a big part of what drew me to Booth in the first place,” Lin says.
Like Lin, Toby Mills hails from the Golden State: he graduated from UCLA in 2014 with a degree in economics and environmental science. He and his wife, Brenna, moved to Seattle where he worked as a senior analyst and, later, as an associate at Goldman Sachs, before enrolling at Booth in 2018. He is pursuing an MBA and a Master’s degree in computer science through a joint-degree program, and his post-Booth plans include focusing on startup and high-growth opportunities.
“Being included in the Siebel Scholars organization provides access to incredible leaders and innovators in many fields,” Mills says. “The Siebel Scholarship is a meaningful recognition and opportunity that will provide value for years to come.”
A native of Massachusetts, Margaret Poisson graduated cum laude from Boston College and started her career in public accounting. She most recently was a manager in the transaction advisory services practice at RSM, where she performed financial due diligence for middle-market PE firms. While at Booth, Poisson completed an academic-year internship at a Chicago-based PE firm through the Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab, and continued with the firm as a senior associate for her summer internship. Poisson also embraces the Booth culture and pays it forward through her role as a Career Advisor, responsible for advising and mentoring first-year students.
“I am so honored to receive the Siebel Scholarship and join the Siebel community,” she says. “The flexibility the financial support provides and the impressive network that comes along with the scholarship are invaluable to me.”
David Tracy also earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA. He stayed in Los Angeles to begin his career as an investment banking analyst before moving to Universal Studios, where he helped launch the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
“Booth has afforded me the opportunity to explore my personal and professional interests, and launch KitCo, a furniture company that ties together my interests in business and design,” Tracy says. “I’m incredibly honored to have been selected as a Siebel Scholar, and grateful for the wealth of opportunities Booth has made possible.”
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