Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Doug Bowen, University of Chicago (Booth)

Doug Bowen

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

“I am a sociable, hardworking, and tenacious individual with a great sense of humor!”

Hometown: Montego Bay, Jamaica

Fun Fact About Yourself: I was the valedictorian of both my high school and college graduating class.

Undergraduate School and Major: Morehouse College | Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: BDT & Company | Associate Investment Professional

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school, and why was it so important to you? Without a doubt, I was attracted to Booth on account of its flexible curriculum. After having an intensive professional experience in Private Equity, I had a fervent sense of what I wanted to focus on academically, and it was imperative that whichever MBA program I applied to would allow me to dabble in my core interests within my first year.

With this in mind, I did my due diligence on Booth’s course offerings, and decided that in my first year I wanted to take “The Fintech Revolution.” This course would teach me about the monetary innovations that altered the world’s financial history, as well as today’s fintech innovations and the opportunities and challenges that they provide to corporations, entrepreneurs, and nations. I was also interested in taking “Mergers & Acquisition Strategy”, as I’m eager to dig into the theoretical framework of M&A processes to better understand corporate development teams’ systems of approach and ideas of value creation.

Additionally, after having discussions with both students and faculty, I developed an interest in applying for programs like, “New Venture Challenge”, through which I’d be afforded the opportunity to network and build teams with students who have e-commerce and fintech experience. Furthermore, if my team and I were selected for Phase II of the program, I’d enroll in “Special Topics in Entrepreneurship: Developing a New Venture”, which would give me access to coaches, mentors, and experienced investors who would aid me in developing my long-term venture.

What quality best describes your MBA community and why? Through my interactions with alumni and current students, I’ve learned about Booth’s unparalleled “pay it forward” culture in which students offer one another greater levels of support. Through my campus visit, I also learned about Booth’s closely-knit community in which each student’s membership in a “squad” allows him or her to create life-long relationships. Having such a cohesive community was a critical consideration for me as I thought about my desired MBA experience. My undergraduate experience at Morehouse College, through its highly collaborative culture that included professor-student mentorship and upperclassmen engagement, allowed me to thrive. Moreover, Booth’s innovative and inquisitive culture would immerse me in an environment rich with entrepreneurial thought, ultimately sparking conversations and connections that would provide inspiration for my future venture.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far? At BDT & Company, I ranked the highest in my Associate class for “fostering client relationships” and was asked to represent BDT at a client’s G4 family retreat as an Analyst (an opportunity usually offered to Vice Presidents and above) to present an overview of our company and the work that our team had done for the family.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I love Jamaica, unconditionally. This potency of love will not allow me to see a country with much-unlocked potential underperform. I believe that my country’s global competitiveness is only at its nascence. With the introduction of a robust fintech and e-commerce infrastructure, Jamaica will evolve from “developing” to “developed” .

My long-term career goal, then, is to overhaul the fintech and e-commerce industry in Jamaica to allow for the aforementioned advancements. I intend on doing this through the following:

1) Increasing foreign direct investments (FDIs) geared toward fintech infrastructure development while also brokering large national participation.

2) Increasing funding for tech education in Jamaica (i.e. coding classes, app development programs, and creating tech hubs for tech socializing).

3) Endeavoring a “reverse brain drain” effect by incentivizing Jamaican nationals to return and help build out the infrastructure.

To prepare for this endeavor, it was imperative that I enroll in a world-class MBA program that would allow me to explore the structural idiosyncrasies of fintech and e-commerce companies, whilst also developing foundational industry knowledge and strategically pertinent connections in a space new to me. Booth, through its course offerings, world-class faculty, and its global network, provided exactly what I was looking for.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Booth? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? I’m very much excited about gaining a network of diverse individuals with worldly professional experiences. I’m most nervous about COVID-19, and how it may negatively affect my MBA experience.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I’m very excited to be a part of Booth’s African American MBA Association. This group was a critical part of my Booth interview preparation process, and since my admittance, it has already provided me with various opportunities and career insights. I’m very excited to serve alongside group members to help prepare the class of ’23!

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I only applied to Booth. For me, it was Booth or nothing at all.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process?

Booth’s 2nd essay question, “Chicago Booth immerses you in a choice-rich environment. How have your interests, leadership experiences, and other passions influenced the choices in your life”, was probably the most challenging to answer to find. This was because there was no maximum word limit and I wanted to say so much! It really takes skill to balance being succinct and sufficiently detailed.

How did you determine your fit at various schools?  To determine my fit for the MBA programs I was interested in, there were 3 factors that I had prioritized: Student Interactions and Relationships, Curriculum, and Location.

Student Interactions and Relationships: I participated in campus tours and reached out to alumni and current students from a number of MBA programs to get a sense of student-to-student, faculty-to-student, and alumni-to-student interactions and relationships. After studying my findings, it became clear to me that Booth provided the best environment to cultivate all the aforementioned relationships.

Curriculum: Booth was the only school I was considering that had a flexible curriculum. This factor was extremely important to me as I wanted a program that allowed me to have a heavy hand in my MBA academic experience.

Location: After living in Chicago for 3 years, I became enamored of the city. I thus had a preference for pursuing my MBA in the Chicago area.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? I’m a little biased here since this company is my previous employer, but I’d have to say BDT & Company. In an age where social media and heightened publicity is top of mind for most companies, for BDT, it’s a major liability. As such, the company has prioritized confidentiality, and has opted to not have a website nor any social media presence, so as to provide its clients with heightened information security. BDT, then, allows the strength of its network and the quality of its financial products to serve as its marketing tools among people who ‘need to know’.

Students can use BDT as a real example of how specialized publicity and heightened confidentiality can not only coexist but also be foundational elements of successful businesses in a ‘social media’ era.

DON’T MISS: Meet The MBA Class Of 2022: The COVID Cohorts

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