Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Folasade Runcie, University of Chicago (Booth)

Folasade Runcie

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

“A classic, friendly Midwesterner who loves to bring people together.”

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Fun Fact About Yourself:

I began playing the violin when I was four years old and had the chance to perform for Tai Murray and Rachel Barton Pine.

I have lived on both coasts of the U.S. and grew up in the Midwest! The Midwest is still my favorite.

I was part of a dance group in college and choreographed hip hop dance pieces for our different showcases.

Undergraduate School and Major: B. A. Princeton University; Major: Philosophy, Certificate in African American Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: DoorDash: Senior Associate, New verticals

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? I chose Booth because its program is uniquely positioned to help me achieve my goals. As an aspiring entrepreneur, Booth’s esteemed intellectual culture, brilliant faculty, and thorough hands-on experiences – unique to The Chicago Approach – will equip me with the best business frameworks. In turn, these frameworks will guide me as I develop my future ventures and tackle challenges that come my way. Booth’s flexible curriculum and extensive opportunities for students interested in pursuing entrepreneurship, such as The New Venture Challenge and the plethora of entrepreneurship courses, will allow me to apply what I learn in my courses to my business venture while at Booth. Additionally, as a south-side native, who spent a lot of time in Hyde Park and at the University of Chicago, I know I will have a wonderful time living in the city, learning on and around campus and working with Chicago businesses.

The Booth MBA is also known for being highly data-driven. Why does the program’s focus on quantitative analysis and decision-making appeal to you? How have you been able to leverage this approach in your career so far? As an aspiring entrepreneur, being able to leverage data will be key to running my future ventures. Booth’s program will not only further hone my data analytical skills, but teach me how to optimize data in the most impactful way to make key business decisions. So far in my career, I have had to use data heavily in all of my roles. This ranged from creating seasonal inventory plans at Pottery Barn, to understanding assortment opportunities and performance at DoorDash. I also refined consumer personas and understanding business growth opportunities at Daybird, the startup I’m interning at this summer through Booth’s Startup Summer Program.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Chicago Booth? I’m excited to join the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Group and participate in the New Venture Challenge to take advantage of all Booth has to offer for aspiring entrepreneurs. I also love to dance and danced throughout college, so I’m also looking forward to joining the Booth Dance Club!

What has been your first impression of the Booth MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Booth story so far. My first impression is that Booth students and alumni are not only very smart and accomplished, but also super humble. I also have been impressed by the “pay-it-forward” culture that is a key part of the Booth experience. During the application process, current students and alumni were readily available and quick to respond to any questions. During my alumni interview, my interviewer talked about how she met some of her best friends at Booth, and how they still get together yearly to go on a girls trip and catch up about life. I look forward to making lifelong friends at Booth.

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA? Chicago is a great place to earn an MBA because it has so much to offer! The culture, arts, delicious cuisines from all over the world, and diversity the city offers are second to none! You can also find most major industries here, allowing students to plug into those networks during their time at Booth. It’s also a super accessible city, allowing students to take full advantage of Chicago’s many offerings. As a Chicago native, I’m excited to return back home. Chicago is the best and my favorite city!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Having started my career at a large, established, and successful retailer, I joined DoorDash to have a different experience in a startup environment and the opportunity to help build up an earlier stage team. One of my biggest accomplishments during my time at DoorDash was launching the fresh meat program at DashMart, DoorDash’s first-party grocery business. This required me to source and onboard key food distributors; work with local operators to create a SOP on the best meat handling practices,p; train hundreds of associates; and cultivate relationships with cross-functional partners across every level to bring this to life. Launching this program paved the way to launch other fresh categories and changed the way we currently order items from vendors.

What do you hope to do after graduation? After graduation, I plan to work on my own venture full-time. I want to create a health wellness platform to make wellness practices, such as meditation and visualization, more accessible to underrepresented communities.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Chicago Booth’s MBA program? Applying to business school can be challenging. Between the GMAT, writing essays, networking, and working full-time, it can be overwhelming. My biggest piece of advice is to pace yourself and focus on one part of the application process at a time and don’t rush. Finish the GMAT or GRE as soon as possible and then worry about essay writing after. Secondly, I would tell applicants to do their research on programs they are interested in. It not only helps when writing essays, but allows you to actually apply to and pick the best programs for you. Lastly, be authentic in your story: you’ll probably be more enthusiastic about what you’re really interested in and that will come across in your essays and interviews.

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