By Chicago Booth November 10, 2015 Leave a Comment

The fifth annual Booth Women’s Connect Conference hosted over 600 women comprised of influential alumnae, distinguished faculty, current and prospective students, and staff. Each of the sessions encouraged us to be Courageous, Fearless and Confident in how we approach management, leadership, and risk taking in order to make an impact in any organization.

There was such a diverse range of speakers and panel discussions to choose from like Building your Personal Brand, Taking Career Risks, Relaunching Your Career, and Women in Entrepreneurship. Each offered an opportunity to hear and learn from alumnae, faculty, and women in business providing tangible advice.

I wish this type of conference had been around when I was beginning my career. At times I look back and wonder if I was too conservative in the early stages – it takes work to really understood what makes a good leader, how you are perceived, or how to create your own personal brand. I’ve attended this conference multiple times and have appreciated the opportunity to develop new perspectives on my own career. 

From the Building Resiliency session, we learned that if you haven’t fallen, you haven’t taken enough risks. In reflecting with a colleague after the conference, she noted an interesting aspect about resilience, in that, resilience doesn’t mean overcoming a negative or tough situation. Resilience means challenging yourself and putting yourself into uncertain situations in order to develop self-confidence and courage.

The session on Building Your Personal Brand was the session I found most insightful for my future career path. I kept thinking that what the Booth alumnae were sharing on the panel very much echoed what my role is as an admissions director, and how we coach prospective students through the application process. Kristi Rubenstein, ’12, said, “as you build your brand, think about what you do better than other people.” This is something that I’ve thought about every time I’ve interviewed for a job – what do I bring to the table?

When you sit down to prepare your application, you have to have to think about the reasons why you want an MBA, why now, and why Booth. You also have to think about what makes you, you! What is YOUR personal brand?

I have also worked on evolving my leadership and management skills. In any job you will encounter a variety of people that force you to reassess how to communicate, wield influence, build trust and ultimately get the best out of the people around you. I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but without a doubt this conference gave me great advice for my career going forward.

When asked about how she managed her personal brand, Megan Ladyard, ’13, shared that “by sticking your neck out, bringing value to the team and the organization is key to your personal brand.” This is a point that I have instilled within my team. We won’t get where we want to go individually, it’s the contributions we each make to the team that will move the dial. Booth is a place that inspires creativity and fosters idea generation; it’s a place that encourages people to take risks because of its supportive community.

For more insights and takeaways from the conference, join the #BoothWomenConnect conversation on twitter. For questions about the application, please feel free to comment below.

Best of luck to you during this journey of self-discovery.  
All the best, Michelle

About Chicago Booth

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Since 1898, Booth has produced ideas and leaders that shape the world of business. Our rigorous, discipline-based approach to business education transforms our students into confident, effective, respected business leaders prepared to face the toughest challenges.

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