Real Humans of Chicago Booth’s MBA Class of 2021
Faina Dookh, Chicago Booth’s MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Stamford, Connecticut
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Connecticut, Sociology
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): I have been working on education, healthcare and economic policy for the past 6 years, including for U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Connecticut’s Office of Health Strategy, and Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy. I was also a Teach for America teacher for 2 years in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Why business school? Why now?
I have gained incredibly valuable experience in the public sector, from teaching in one of the poorest cities in the country to launching new healthcare reform initiatives in Connecticut to developing Senator Warren’s universal childcare plan.
Working to improve people’s quality of life made me curious about how the economy and the decisions of the business sector impacts the public, especially the most vulnerable populations, and how new business ideas and products can add value to society.
I also want to fill gaps in my skills, whether that is better leveraging data to make decisions, more effectively leading a team around a common goal, or understanding how to best use an organization’s financial information to enable progress.
The Booth MBA is the most effective next step to strengthen my leadership skills, my economics expertise, and my ability to financially and strategically operate an organization so that I can continue to work towards making a positive social impact.
Why Chicago Booth? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
The University of Chicago is prominent in shaping economics and social science theory and Chicago Booth professors are among the top economic and business thinkers in the world.
I also knew that I would fit into the school’s culture of intellectual rigor and curious exploration after having completed a Master’s degree in the Social Sciences from the school.
Lastly, I know that Booth has a global focus and a strength in entrepreneurship – two areas that are important to me.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
Having a background in the public sector and in sociology gives me a unique perspective on how political and governmental forces might intersect with the business world and the importance of considering how economic and organizational decisions impact vulnerable populations.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I love to oil paint as my creative outlet to balance out my analytic side. It’s great to create a custom landscape or portrait for a friend.
Post-MBA career interests?
My immediate post-MBA goal is to work as a management consultant in order to gain rapid, on-the-ground exposure to diverse business problems and use my background and newly learned skills to solve them.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Leaving enough time to write several drafts of my essay was very helpful. I found that when I took a break from what I was writing and came back to it that it was easier to edit the text and improve it. It was also a meaningful reflective process for me to identify what truly matters to me and how I can explain my past and my goals to others.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would worry less about how my background may or may not compare to other applicants. In my application I focused on how an MBA fits into my personal aspirations and aligns with my trajectory and I wish I were less concerned about whether this would be enough, because it was.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Of course I would skip taking the tedious standardized test if I could. I got through it by setting a deadline for myself so that I knew there was an end in sight.
What is your initial impression of Chicago Booth’s students/culture/community?
Chicago Booth students are impressive in their intellect and backgrounds. I have already met so many interesting and talented people who come from all over the world and who are ambitious and intelligent, but also approachable and incredibly supportive.
One thing you have learned about Chicago Booth that has surprised you?
I am surprised at how quickly I built connections with a large number of the other incoming Booth students. Our 2021 class already feels so close and we haven’t even started classes!
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I am anxious about how I am going to fit all of the courses I want to take into my two years here. The classes at Booth are amazing both for their content and the professors who teach them. I only wish that I could clone myself to take them all.
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am excited about exploring areas that I know less about – whether that is big data, international financial policy, or where the best brunch place is in Chicago.