ATTENDING BOOTH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

This is the 3rd part of an interview with Huei Jang, an alumnus of Chicago Booth MBA program. He’s a Managing Member of Empire Biscuit, a southern biscuit counter-service place in NYC. He’s also the Founding Member of Original Jangster, an advisory practice specializing in providing finance, accounting, and investor relations advice for early-stage start-up firms.  Previously, Huei worked at UBS in Investment Banking.

What did you like best about your program? What did you think could be improved?

 I am not sure how much of this is attributable to the program or the school, but the best part of my program was my classmates. One could say that this was dumb luck; it could also be incredibly skillful engineering of a class. You will always have ways to be successful in the future…but you only get this two year window to really build these sorts of strong personally-driven professional relationships (that often last a lifetime).

I made my own choices and I placed academics on the backburner from the onset. We had grade non-disclosure at Booth, so I was a bit more nonchalant about that sort of thing, but it probably would have helped me personally if there was a bit more pressure somehow to actually study. Something I will add on to this—in this sort of environment, you will “accidentally” learn a lot whether you try to or not.

 What trends did you notice within your class in regards to background, goals, diversity, etc.? Is there any particular group that you feel was better served by the MBA degree than others?

My guess would be that every class in every top-tier business school is engineered with roughly the same sorts of goals in regards to background, goals, and diversity. What does shift is more macro-economic—finance has heavily fallen out of favor in the last few years. That generated a greater shift towards management consulting and start-ups.  With this in mind, the groups that were better served in the short-term were those seeking to enter traditional fields (i.e., fewer banking positions with fewer banking applications, so these applicants still generally end up with a banking job anyway) because of the system in place—the “march” and recruiting engine.  My suspicion is that this actually hurts people in the longer term because folks are not forced to examine themselves and their opportunities more deeply when they have the chance to do so more safely.

What do you wish you had known before you attended business school?

Not to attempt to drive home from class during the most severe blizzard Chicago had seen in 42 years. I lost three toes, a roommate (the British one…I think he’s still somewhere on Lakeshore Drive), two tires, and some dignity.

 What were the most memorable aspects of your MBA experience (academic, social, networking, etc.)? 

We often joke about Booth being high school. In college—after being under your parents’ roof for 17 years—you strive to grow up and be an adult (even if you really are still just a kid). In graduate business school, a small army of grown men and women are trying their hardest to be kids again (to have no real-life worries, to be irresponsible again…except this time with a real 21+ ID and much deeper pockets). Call it social, or call it networking, but that is what I will always remember most.

 What were your impressions of the faculty at your school? Were they accessible to you? Were there any professors you connected with more than others? Did you find a mentor? 

I honestly could have done more to connect with the faculty, but I can absolutely tell you that I was surprised at how skillful the professors were at teaching. It is easy to think going in that this dorky battalion of award winners would not be very good at imparting their knowledge to others, but I was completely astounded by the level of excellence in that respect, time and again. They all seemed very accessible.

There are enough mentorship systems in place, both institutionalized and informal, to give you all the guidance you need.  As a first-year, I felt that every second-year was a mentor in some way or another.

You are now in NYC, but studied in Chicago – did you travel often for recruiting? how did you find the jobs (summer and full time)? Was it via on campus or something else?

A very important note here is that I lived in New York before school, and had every intention of returning after school. This made my life easier because I was not moving anywhere new to start a new career.

I went through the typical investment banking on-campus recruiting march. On average, a NY-based banking recruitee will have to fly to New York about three or four times. Compared to other schools, we get off pretty easy here.

 What was your experience with career services at the school?

I had little real interaction with them because I was pursuing a traditional industry. The Investment Banking Group and your 2nd-Years guide you through the process as long as you are willing to accept their assistance (they are very helpful, and they care that the school continues to look good in front of these firms, their future employers).

Read more stories about MBA students and their journeys:

…and find ideas on how to craft your own MBA application: