Meet Chicago Booth’s MBA Class Of 2020

Allie Can Lei

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

Hometown: China & Singapore

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a ramen lover and entrepreneur; I have tried almost every ramen restaurant in the bay area and I spent ten hours making my own ramen and selling it online.

Undergraduate School and Major: Tufts University, Quantitative Economics and International Relations double major.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Twitter, Sales Strategy and Operations Associate

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I worked with our sales leaders at Twitter to implement our US turnaround strategy, building a new sales team dedicated to servicing our mid-size client accounts. During the process of building this team, I was heavily involved in identifying clients for the team to service, creating an organizational structure and executing our new go-to-market strategy. It was challenging and exciting to be testing hypothesis on the ground every day. The amount of exposure to leadership and resources also helped me understand organizational pains and the core values that would support sustained growth for a mature company.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? What gravitates me towards everyone is how genuine they are. While an MBA is usually associated with a lot of networking, I think being genuine and keeping things real are the foundation for the strongest relationships.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Booth’s flexible curriculum is a huge draw. Given different backgrounds and priorities, it is important to be able to customize our classes and schedule to maximize what we want out of these two years. Personally, there are specific classes I want to take in a certain order, while being able to allocate time for myself to work on my start-up.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am looking forward to LEAD, a leadership class we all have to take when we first start off. It will be a great experience to learn about ourselves and bond during the retreat.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Having the last two jobs where I discovered what I am passionate about and good at doing, I feel ready to start investing in the big direction I want to take my career long-term. MBA will allow me to gain the skills and experience I lack in an effective environment.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I feel that what I can learn in a job can be more restricted to the specific skills the job requires and the type of people it seeks. However, in a MBA environment, I will get exposed to a wider group of people and situations that challenge my ways of thinking and develop my skills in a more well-rounded way. I see it as not only a beneficial step for me to elevate myself in terms of personal and professional skills but also a long-term investment to be an effective leader.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to a few other schools on the East Coast, as I wanted a change of environment from the West Coast.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? The most effective way for me was to talk to the current students. The culture is created by the people, so getting to know them in a personal way and spending time together, during campus visits or other events, allowed me to evaluate if I can see myself having a good time at the school.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Moving to the US for college exposed me to a culture that celebrated everyone’s individuality. It gave me a chance to redefine who I want to be and pick experiences that could shape my values. I learned to be grateful for the opportunities I get in life, such as the higher education I receive, and see it as a reminder for myself to pay it forward by doing something that has a greater social impact beyond my immediate surroundings.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I hope to continue working in the consumer Tech space, either in my own start-up or help companies expand internationally.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope I would be a more mature and thoughtful individual. In my career, I wish to be in a management role running point on a business unit or product.

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