Deepti Jodhawat is thinking big and achieving big in the USA.
Moving on from a banking career in London, she chose the US over Europe for her MBA, convinced by the fully immersive experience that a traditional two year MBA can offer. And it was the career opportunities presented by the Chicago Booth MBA that really tipped the balance.
“I was very clear that I wanted to try working in the US,” says the 27-year-old student. “The MBA is understood in the US, it was born in the US, and it makes sense to do it where it’s appreciated and respected the most.”
Set to enter her second year at Chicago Booth, Deepti’s currently halfway through a summer finance internship at Amazon in Seattle; which she applied for, was interviewed for, and secured on campus in a matter of weeks.
Having previously worked in technical roles for Macquarie Group and specialist banking group Investec, she’s delighted to have the chance to experience new levels of responsibility in another large, and growing, multinational. “The project that I’m working on is not what I’d have expected from a finance internship. It’s more high-level strategic, whereas before in banking I was doing very specific tasks every day.
“That’s what’s great about business school in the US,” she continues. “You’re given the time and freedom to explore different ideas. In a one year course you lose the internship. And, I think, if you’re a career switcher, you need the extra summer.”
Chicago Booth consistently positions in the top 10 of the Financial Times’ Global MBA rankings. Its strength in careers is clear: 95% of its MBA students find roles within 3 months of graduation with an average salary increase of 107%. But it wasn’t just stats and figures that encouraged Deepti to traverse the Atlantic.
“In the US they’re big on confidence and personality,” she explains. “Most Americans in my class are very good at public speaking - it’s a big part of their education - and in the UK that’s something that I’d never experienced.”
In the first weeks of their MBA, Chicago Booth students take part in a leadership course focused on personal development, introspection and public speaking; all geared towards preparing young professionals for high-level management roles.
It’s an American way of teaching, and thinking, to which Deepti wholeheartedly subscribes: “As you get more senior it’s not enough to be smart. You have to make sure your people skills are good, because that’s the only way you can really start to manage people,” she says.
The flexibility of the Chicago Booth MBA curriculum was another attraction. Coming from a background in banking, and having covered many of the core finance topics already, Deepti was able to craft her own MBA journey, choosing new, more advanced topics that best matched her experience and ambitions.
But what stood out most was the people. The Chicago Booth MBA cohort is impressively diverse; 54 different countries are represented and 48% of students are women. Out of the school’s 80 student-led groups, Deepti is a member of four: Management Consulting, Technology, Chicago Women in Business and Audio Booth, the school’s music society.
“They’re all run by second years, [and] it’s incredible how much time they’ve spent helping us to fix our resumes and giving us mock interviews,” she says.
The community feel extends beyond the MBA program. For Deepti, Chicago is a perfect size city; big, but not too big that you feel lost. Moreover, Chicago Booth boasts a 47,000-strong alumni network which extends across 116 countries worldwide. It’s a global reach which opens up career opportunities both in the US and further afield.
Deepti is confident in finding a role in the US, and is intent on pushing herself; to make it big in the US, and to keep up with the high standards set by generations of Chicago Booth MBA alumni.
“All the big companies are very open to international applications here, and when you come from a good business school, people are very open to talking to you,” she says. “The bar that I set for myself is just getting higher.”
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