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Fridays from the Frontline: Starting up at Booth

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The MBA is a framework to explore what matters most to you. Much of the value of business school is in helping students define and refine their professional goals, and then equip them with the tools to excel in their desired field.

As you might imagine, the sheer number of opportunities associated with elite programs like Chicago Booth can be overwhelming. Many first-year MBA students find themselves paralyzed by the options at their fingertips.  In light of this challenge, Booth’s Nakul Gupta took to the Booth Experience Blog to unpack how to navigate the plethora of choices at your disposal when you first arrive at business school. 

The following piece has been republished in its entirety from its original source, the Booth Experience Blog.

Best Booth Moment Series: Starting Up At Booth

by Nakul Gupta

In the next edition of our Best Booth Moment Series, second year Nakul Gupta shares key learnings that helped him build a mentorship platform:

During my first year at Booth I was excited, more than anything else, by the sheer number of opportunities. It was intoxicating to navigate the endless stream of choices from classes and professors to talks, socials, and trips. I soaked it all in. After all, it was a special opportunity to meet so many people and cultivate deep relationships! I knew what really mattered to me the most was building a strong community and generating ideas with others that can have a positive, lasting impact.

Best Booth Moment Series

After spending a fulfilling summer in the growth strategy team at Credit Karma, I introspected. I loved solving big, messy user problems through tech-enabled products that empower people at scale. This was something that each of the tech firms (VMock, Credit Karma, and Shipbob) I worked at had in common.

Deeper introspection made me realize that there was a problem that had been staring me in the face, and I could apply all those principles I strongly believed in! Closer to home in India, thousands in smaller cities were struggling to apply to business schools as they lacked the network or finances. Even more heartbreaking was to learn from 50+ of my international friends at b-school I spoke to, that messages on linkedin from those MBA aspirants were going unanswered. There was a disconnect on both sides of the equation.

I decided to act by using everything I knew to try and make a difference – building a team with fellow Boothies Juan Pablo and Katie Orovecz, curating a community of mentors and bringing it all together in a tech-enabled marketplace platform. Early reviews from prospects have been heart-warming and we are positively surprised by the strength of demand from the community.

Through this piece, I wanted to share with my peers the key learnings I used to channel the frenzied energy from the first year going into the second year at Booth. I believe this could stimulate those who are looking to start-up while at Booth!

  1. Choose classes that can help shape your decisions & actions in real life

After each class I implemented the key takeaways: experiments through google analytics, hubspot, SEO etc. from the digital marketing lab class, managing collective team intelligence through leading & managing teams class, platform competition class, and the list can go on. A proud moment was the vote of confidence from the judges in final presentation of the New Venture Strategy class where Juan Pablo led the pitch.  

  1. Professors can be the best long-term mentors & partners in your entrepreneurial journey

Prof. Lil Mohan helped us think in a very practical way about customers and digital acquisition, and was happy to be an advisor!

  1. Identify like-minded people early on to build a team-like-family that is as passionate as you are but diverse in skillset

If you can find smart people who you will have a ton of fun working with and get them excited about the mission, half the battle is won! We are lucky to be adding members (Panani Raman, Juan Pablo Villasenor, Chen Che) to our team-family who love doing this!

  1. Best form of learning is by actually building something – immerse yourself in technology if you love it

Focus your efforts on what can add value during the precious time here at Booth and build what you are passionate about for the long-term with the people you love working with! Also, please don’t ignore those ‘cold’ LinkedIn requests from MBA aspirants seeking help and send them our way at!

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.