Meet Chicago Booth’s MBA Class Of 2021

Daniel (Dan) Derrig

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

A restless soul, trying to make a positive impact on the world.”

Hometown: Mount Prospect, Illinois

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a dual citizen of the United States and Ireland, so travel and adventure are core to my identity.  With that said, I’m looking forward to visiting Cyprus on my Booth Random Walk trip!

Undergraduate School and Major: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Accountancy and Finance double major

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Chicago Venture Partners: Senior Associate, Deals

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My greatest career accomplishment was earning the KPMG Engagement of the Year award in 2015.  This was earned by creating a transformative impact in the healthcare sector through M&A. It was the result of a number of service lines coming together as a cohesive unit to provide a complete solution for the client. With experience in each of these service lines, I was able to deliver client value across the various workgroups. This is just another instance of teamwork coming together to produce a significant impact.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? I can sincerely say that every Booth student I have met is extremely benevolent. They continue to go out of their way for others to help advance the careers or lives of those around them. I had insightful conversations with students who were participating in the International Business Exchange Program, interning with some of my target employers, and leading campus clubs.  This is truly representative of the “Pay It Forward” culture associated with Booth.

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA degree? Chicago is a world-class city. There are top-ranked educational institutions, a plethora of employers across every imaginable industry, and restaurants, entertainment, cultural establishments, and nightlife that contribute to a rewarding lifestyle.

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 was the paramount factor when deciding where I would earn my MBA. As someone who studied business during my undergraduate years, I did not want to engage in a traditional core curriculum that, in my eyes, confined students to a standardized education experience. I plan to dive deep in M&A and entrepreneurial courses as well as transaction law courses through The University of Chicago Law School within my first two quarters. This is not something that can be done at every top business school.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? As we approach the end of summer, the Booth Random Walk trip is at the forefront of my mind. My group is going to Cyprus and has a lot of activities planned from swimming with sea turtles to cruising on a catamaran. It should be a great way to kick off the Booth experience!

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? This question takes a lot of introspection on behalf of each candidate. Ironically, most of the people who ask the question don’t have a definitive answer. The truth is, people and goals change, so what you are pursuing today will likely not be the same in 10 years.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? In my efforts to be a leader in M&A, I want to develop a deep understanding of deals, transaction law, valuation techniques, and M&A tax considerations. Last year I was passed up in the final round for, what I considered, my dream job because I did not have an MBA. Through that experience, I recognized the value that an MBA holds in the job market.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS, Kellogg, LBS, Tuck, Wharton

How did you determine your fit at various schools? Researching the programs and identifying the right personal fit is quite a task. I started by speaking with peers and mentors to identify programs that they admired. I confirmed their sentiment with various MBA rankings. Then, I identified schools that placed students for both internships and full-time roles at my target employers. Booth, unlike some schools, has an incredibly transparent employment report. I compared the number of placements by sector and by employers for the past three years across my other target schools (if disclosed). Once I had the data to support my intended applications, I began to visit the schools and speak with students, admissions staff, and faculty to understand the resources and culture within each program. Ultimately, I was fortunate to receive offers from multiple schools and Booth was the program that offered everything I wanted within an MBA experience. All of my due diligence paid off in knowing that I am attending the program best suited to achieve my personal and professional goals!

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? There are a lot of experiences that helped shape who I am. I will have to say that the most prominent experience is one that I really have no recollection of, but have been told countless times. I was born following a fatal car crash.  The paramedics declared me dead at the scene, but the hospital staff was pleasantly surprised to discover otherwise. Considering that, I try to never take life for granted and am committed to making a positive impact in everything that I do.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I’d like to be seen as a leader in mergers and acquisitions. However, I have always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit, so I may take part in founding my own enterprise.

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