Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Jason Shain, University of Chicago (Booth)

Jason Shain

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and University of Chicago Law School

“I am grateful to return to UChicago and for many opportunities across two world-class programs!”

Hometown: Santa Fe, NM

Fun Fact About Yourself: A sourdough recipe I created was featured as part of a menu created by a 2-Michelin-Starred Chef!

Undergraduate School and Major: The University of Chicago, BA in Theater and Performance Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title:

Mayor’s Office, City of Chicago; Mayoral Fellow

Before that: United States Air Force; Evaluator Air Battle Manager and Flight Commander

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Chicago Booth’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? As a practical matter, there are very few three-year JD/MBA programs that emphasize true integration between the JD and MBA sides. Fewer still have two programs in the top three among their respective peers. The geographic proximity at UChicago makes it easy to move between both buildings. Generally, having experienced UChicago as an undergrad, I greatly appreciate the cultural emphasis on The Life of the Mind.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Chicago Booth, and why? Wow, there are so many! The Mystery Random Walk is super exciting; I love the idea of not knowing where I am going to until the trip is underway. In clubs the BOLD (Booth Outdoor Leadership Development) and the Wine Club indulge two of my fondest hobbies. The Armed Forces Group has been instrumental in my connection to the Booth community and I look forward to working with them to do the same for others. There are also multiple classes I can think of – Advanced Negotiations or the Art + Business Lab sound like great ways to extend my MBA education. Perhaps most of all, I am excited to build a network of curious, driven people who share my interests!

What has been your first impression of the Booth MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far? Booth students and alumni have been, through the admissions process up until now, open, kind and generous with their time. The Armed Forces Group, in particular, was instrumental in my admission and transition from the military into grad school. They really demonstrated a pay-it-forward culture. Booth students and alumni also feel unique in the way a UChicago student does: curious, interested, and actively engaged in inquiry.

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA? Chicago is my favorite big city I’ve been to. From the stunning and distinctive skyline to the vibrant and exciting neighborhood culture, Chicago is beautiful, fun, and endlessly rewards those willing to explore. Being able to start my new career in Chicago simply feels promising.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It’s an Air Force tradition that when someone completes their final flight on their airframe, they are greeted on the airfield. When I got off my plane, the E-3, for the last time, I found dozens of people I had the honor of serving with over the years. That icy Oklahoma night, and the accompanying champagne shower, reminded me of the great opportunities I had in service to the country. I feel endlessly grateful for being able to serve, to make a positive difference, to lead through COVID, and to act as a mentor. Earning my peers’ gratitude and respect is one of my most cherished accomplishments.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? In the medium and long term, I want to use learning about economics, administration, and law in executive governance. In the shorter term, I am less sure. I am interested in economic regulation, the traditional consulting route, and federalism. Part of why I am seeking two versatile degrees is to explore what is out there at no added opportunity cost!

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Boom Town by Sam Anderson. It is about economic development and civic engagement, about a really cool city rising from the ashes and finding something wonderful in the most surprising place. It’s a reminder of how smart use of money can lead to social good and how often overlooked parts of the US are among the best parts.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I specifically applied to JD/MBAs focusing primarily on Three-Year Accelerated Programs. In addition to UChicago, I focused on Northwestern, UPenn, and Columbia.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Chicago Booth’s MBA program? Take advantage of any opportunities to visit. That will help you understand how you fit with the culture. The other big thing I’d say is remember to be yourself! Think of admissions as a mutual process – remember that you will spend two+ incredibly important years here. You’ll want to show that you are the sort of driven and intellectually curious person that will fit Booth’s culture while also making sure you know that Booth is the place for you.


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