Monday, November 12, 2012

My First Two Months at Booth

This week at The Booth Experience, we hear from Ashley Cleveland, a first-year student who is one of the newest members of the DSAC team. She's been up to a lot this quarter and has been an active part of the Booth community since Day 1.


It’s hard to believe that two months have passed since my arrival at Chicago Booth. Less than one year ago, I was a prospective student evaluating a handful of MBA programs, and asking the question, “Why should I attend Booth?” In the months to follow, after interacting with Booth students, alumni, and staff, the question eventually became, “Why wouldn’t I attend Booth?” Nearly six months after having made my decision, I couldn’t be happier. I’ll talk more about this later; but first, let me give you a little background information. Prior to coming to Booth, I worked as a sales representative for a leading office furniture manufacturer. I chose to return to school for my MBA based on my desire to further develop myself as a business leader. I chose Booth specifically due to its emphasis on creating an environment that challenged students to take risks and one that welcomed a diverse student body. The Booth students, alumni, and staff that I interacted with played a major role in my decision. They were not only welcoming, but also extremely helpful. I really valued this, along with the school’s reputation for excellence.

Since arriving here, I’ve met so many talented and friendly people from all walks of life through various on-campus happenings, such as the Pre-MBA Accounting course offered prior to orientation, orientation programs and events, my current courses, and student group activities. I can never walk too far down the hallways of the Harper Center without being greeted by a smile or a warm hello. This camaraderie is something that I attribute to Booth’s culture; it is not only lively, it is also warm and inviting. I’ve also enjoyed interacting with my professors. Specifically, I’ve liked learning more about evaluating companies through financial statements, as well as how to use tools that will be helpful in my role as a marketing intern over the summer.

The resources that Booth has to offer are phenomenal. I plan to concentrate in both Marketing Management and Entrepreneurship. This quarter, I have taken advantage of programming from the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship. From open house events to weekly coffee chats, the Polsky Center has provided me with numerous opportunities to connect with students who are passionate about entrepreneurship and the implementation of new business ideas. During a recent coffee chat at the Polsky Center, I connected with a student who is currently operating a print company aimed at college students. I not only learned about the business plan for the company, but also listened as others provided suggestions on how the student and his business partner, a fellow University of Chicago student, could improve operations and expand their client base.

The Kilts Center for Marketing is also a great resource for students like me who are passionate about marketing. From informative Q&A panels to mentorship opportunities, the Kilts Center has so much to offer students who want to expand their marketing knowledge and broaden their horizons. For example, I recently participated in a seminar for Nielsen marketing data. During this seminar, second year students provided an overview of the various uses of Nielsen data and provided personal examples of how they had used this data to arrive at important conclusions within their projects during their marketing internships. The seminar was not only attended by students interested in securing a marketing internship this summer; it was also attended by students with interests in other careers, such as consulting.

My professional interest in marketing has led me to become an active member of the Marketing Group. I’ve had the chance to network and learn from marketing professionals and second year students whose recent internships represented a wide range of companies. I am leading my first Trek for the Marketing Group in just one week. This Trek is a career exploration trip that allows members of the Marketing Group to interact with company representatives within Proctor and Gamble in Cincinnati, OH. This is a great opportunity for Booth students to network with leaders of one of the world's most successful consumer packaged goods companies. To sum it all up, Booth has so much to offer. I am so happy that I made the decision to attend Booth, and I wish you all the best as you continue to evaluate if Booth is right for you.

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