This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with Andrew Edelman, a student at Chicago Booth.
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What was your most recent pre-MBA job?
Andrew: Thanks for featuring me on Accepted.com! I was born in Paris, France, but grew up here in the U.S. where I spent most of my youth in the Boston area. Needless to say, I really enjoyed the outcome of this year’s Super Bowl!
I attended Davidson College in North Carolina where I received a B.A. in Economics with a Concentration in Applied Mathematics. At Davidson, I was captain of the Men’s Division I Swimming team and met my future wife who was captain of the volleyball team. We now have two amazing sons, the second of whom was born during my first week at Chicago Booth. I always say my wife is my secret weapon during this business school journey.
Immediately before attending business school, I was a Vice President at Corrum Capital Management, a boutique alternative investment management firm headquartered in Charlotte, NC. Upon moving to Chicago and before starting classes, I did a two-month internship with a classmate’s startup that was participating in Chicago Booth’s Polsky Center Accelerator Program. My experience was actually featured in a recent WSJ article about pre-MBA internships and was an exciting opportunity to diversify my skill set before starting summer internship recruiting.
Accepted: Where are you currently in b-school? What year?
Andrew: I’m a second year at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. It’s hard to believe I’m already entering my final quarter; graduation is less than 100 days away!
Accepted: Why did you choose Booth? How would you say you’re a good fit for the program? Which other programs had you considered?
Andrew: I choose Booth because I wanted to surround myself with extremely intelligent, high quality people. From the incredible faculty to my impressive classmates to the accessible alumni, I’ve been fortunate to learn from such a diverse and humble group.
I’ve personally benefitted most from Booth’s pay it forward mentality that permeates career preparation and recruiting. I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to give back as a member of the Graduate Business Council and co-chair of the Booth Technology Group.
My business school decision came down to Booth and UC Berkeley (Haas), both great programs. It was a difficult decision, but after visiting Booth during the admitted students weekend, now called First Day, I knew it was the right fit for me.
Accepted: And if you could change one thing about the program, what would it be?
Andrew: With evening, weekend, and PhD programs, Booth is unique in the sheer number of working professionals concurrently pursuing their MBAs. Although I’ve taken a couple evening classes at our downtown Gleacher Center, I feel that most of my academic experience has been centered down at the Harper Center in Hyde Park and kept separate from evening/weekend students. With more work experience on average and equally diverse backgrounds, I wish I had more organized opportunities to interact with these students to expand my network and learn from their experiences.
Accepted: Where did you intern last summer? Can you tell us about the role Booth played in helping you secure that position?
Andrew: I did my summer internship at Google in Mountain View. I was an MBA intern with the Global SMB Solutions team, which is responsible for increasing product adoption and driving revenue growth with small and medium businesses. It was an amazing experience!
As a career switcher, from financial services to tech, the preparation and mentorship offered through Career Services and the members of the Booth Technology Group were invaluable to my success securing a coveted spot at Google. I also benefited from the advantages of Booth’s flexible curriculum that permitted me to take courses early in my first year to prepare for the internship, including the experiential Developing New Products & Services course that paired my group with a leading digital media company for a consulting project.
Many people assume that because Booth is in the Midwest there are fewer opportunities in the technology industry, but that’s a common misconception. I had internship interviews with five of the largest technology companies in the world and was one of a dozen Boothies at Google this summer. In fact, Booth placed more students from my class in tech internships than investment banking, second only to consulting. It’s a trend that is developing at business schools across the country and it’s exciting to see Booth leading the way!
Chicago also has a very underrated tech scene that is booming. Booth has been a large contributor with successful startups growing out of our New Venture Challenge like GrubHub, BrainTree, and MuSigma.
Accepted: Likewise, if you have a job lined up for next year, can you talk about how Booth was involved in that process? What’s recruiting like on campus? How early does it start?
Andrew: I’m excited to be returning to Silicon Valley as a Management Associate with Box in their Rotational Leadership Program. I was looking to join a smaller tech firm full-time, so the majority of my recruiting this year was done off-campus. I was able to leverage the Booth network and my experience at Google to gain access to several high-growth tech companies.
Although I didn’t participate in on-campus recruiting for my full-time search, I can tell you that it does begin very quickly, pretty much right when we all return from our summer internships in late August. There tends to be a flurry of on-campus activity the first two weeks back, which this year included tech firms like Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung.
Accepted: Looking back at the MBA application process, what would you say was your biggest challenge? How would you advise others who are facing a similar challenge?
Andrew: The biggest challenge for me was managing the surprisingly demanding application process while balancing my career and family responsibilities. Looking back, I wish I had started the process earlier to meet the Round 1 deadlines and not felt obligated to push my applications back to Round 2. In addition, it’s become increasingly difficult to fully showcase your whole self in such a short amount of space and limited word count. Getting to an interview was my biggest objective because I knew I could better convey a sense of self than I could in an essay.
Accepted: How are you enjoying your time in Chicago? How does student life differ there than in North Carolina?
Andrew: My wife and I always joke that if you could remove the harsh winters from Chicago it would easily be the best city in the U.S., if it’s not already. We’ve honestly loved our time here in Chicago. We live downtown where we have several world-class museums, an abundance of amazing restaurants, and even the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan right at our doorstep. Having grown up in the Northeast, the winters have not been too bad for me, but I definitely feel for my classmates from South America who are experiencing true winter for the first time.
It’s hard to compare my undergrad experience in Davidson, NC to my graduate student experience here in Chicago. Overall, studying business at Booth in a big city like Chicago has been a great complement to my liberal arts education at a small school in rural North Carolina. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both experiences!
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