April 03, 2013
It may seem odd that my favorite time of year in Chicago is late March.
It certainly isn't the weather that makes me feel this way. It is celebrating with our executive MBA students as they receive their Chicago Booth MBA degrees!
On March 22, we welcomed our newest graduates into the vibrant Booth alumni community. Our 82nd group in North America, 18th group in Europe and 12th group in Asia proudly received their degrees in front of family and friends gathered here from all over the world.
For 21 months, we watch our students tackle academic challenges, connect with new colleagues and change their perspectives on career goals. There is so much energy at graduation that it leaves little doubt of the transformational nature of our program.
Congratulations, XP-82, EXP-18 and AXP-12! You have earned your Booth degrees and a whole lot more.
March 27, 2013
OPPORTUNITIES FOR A LIFETIME
Last week, the Gleacher Center was a flurry of activity with Executive MBA students. The weekend before, students from around the globe arrived in Chicago to begin one of the most exciting weeks of their lives. There were Electives Week classes and finals, the Global New Venture Challenge, and of course, graduation on Friday. Commencement in Rockefeller Chapel was majestic, spectacular, and bitter sweet. It was an end of the students’ time at Chicago Booth – or is it just the beginning?
When I graduated from Chicago Booth, the professor delivering the commencement speech made it clear in a challenge to us. David told us that we were starting afresh. While we learned a lot and gained even more from our time at Chicago Booth, we were starting again – as beginners in the next phase of our careers and lives. David dared us to go into our workplaces and share what we learned with humility, generosity of spirit, and resilience. He also reminded us that Chicago Booth was always there with us as a foundation of inspiration, creativity, and guidance.
So last week, newly graduated, along with a Master of Business Administration, Chicago Booth Executive MBA students left with many valuable things:
A transformed way of viewing business, challenges, and life;
A global network of individuals in industries, functions, and roles too numerous to list;
Actual job postings developed by Booth with corporate partners from large multi-national firms to entrepreneurial companies;
The Resume Database for Alumni and Part-time Students – a source of both personal career advancement and talent to grow their teams;
Opportunities to give back – panels, mock interviews, Executive-in-Residence, Executive Advisors, and more
Career Services for the rest of their lives as they navigate promotions, starting a business, or even a career reboot; and
When they are ready, these freshly graduated Executive MBA students can also return to Chicago Booth to take three classes for free. Next quarter. Next year. Or, many years in the future.
An Executive MBA at Chicago Booth starts the minute a newly admitted student says, “yes”. While the most time-consuming involvement with the School is during the nearly two years of academic rigor, the opportunities don’t end there. They last for a lifetime if you reach out and grab them and always keep the mindset that what you gain multiplies when you share it with others.
More next time,
February 07, 2013
A third of the way through the program, class weeks continue to be as intense and exhilarating as ever. I like to think that a class week is like running a 10k race – and setting a personal best time.
First of all, you have to train diligently in the weeks leading up to the race. Typically, two subjects are taught in any one class week, and you also have exams on the Monday for the courses you did the previous class week. Unprepared runners rarely finish well.
Athletes generally get in 2-3 training sessions of an hour or two during the week, and then have a long, slow run on a weekend day, to get the body used to going the full distance. Similarly, you will do some short, fairly focused bursts of study during the week after work, and then slog your way through a ton of detailed exercises at the weekend for hours. Interval training or doing a few kilometres at race pace (attempting past papers and timing yourself while doing so) are also popular strategies.
Coming up to the race, you need to taper – studying like mad the night before an exam never does anyone any favours. You'll get plenty of sleep, reduce stress during the days beforehand, and eat lots of carbs (students can skip this last part, it's for runners only, but it's fun. It also REALLY WORKS for running. Trust me).
Ok, so it's race day. You have a decent breakfast, and straight away it's up a massive hill with 2 exams. The trick here is to pace yourself so you can keep going all day and make it to the top. Remember that this is the most challenging part of the race. Enjoy the view when you get to the summit.
From there it's long slow slog to the end, pretty much on the flat. You'll have assignments every night and be up til late. Remember that sprinting to get an excellent time on kilometre 5 may cost you quite a bit towards the end. You need to be alert during classes, review sessions and work with your study group to get your nightly group assignments completed by a sensible time, even if they are not perfect or you feel you could have done better. Staying in the study room til 1am on the Wednesday night is not a smart strategy.
Choose your roadside snack wisely. The Danish pastries are tasty but on their own won't keep you going til lunchtime. You are also allowed to have enough caffeine in your body to have you to fail an anti-doping test in an actual race.
As the race continues and the days go by, you and your classmates will start to feel more and more tired. By the Saturday all you really care about is the finish line, and how far away it is. You'll finish your final class of the day and think, “We made it! Again!” and feel proud of yourself.
Like a UK athlete, you then will celebrate this your “race” by partying til late with your fellow students.
Donnla Nic Gearailt