Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Phil White, University of Chicago (Booth)

Phil White

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

“An ambivert East Texas guy with a global personality.”

Hometown: Tyler, Texas

Fun Fact About Yourself: I wrote a bill when I was 17 that was signed into law for the State of Texas by Governor Rick Perry.

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy at West Point (B.S. in Law / B.S. in Chinese)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: United States Army (Executive Officer, Army Military Working Dog Program)

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? Of all the business schools out there, Booth provides flexibility and depth to tailor the world-class curriculum to personal goals. I think it is important to take full ownership of the experience and Booth allows me to do that in a unique way. Booth’s program is known for its data-centric approach and quantitative rigor. This is exactly the challenge I am looking for to harmonize my non-business undergraduate studies and experiences in the U.S. Army to launch me to a life of positive impact.

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? I think MBA applicants, generally, can over-emphasize networking, getting a job, and then learning on the job as the ideal path. Business leaders must be adept in foundational skills and must also be on the cutting edge of analyzing complex challenges if they plan to truly make an impact. Leveraging data will be more and more essential to tackling tough challenges such as the global energy transition and optimizing every existing process of modern day living. Data by itself is not enough, these challenges require innovative leaders to interpret data, rationally predict outcomes, and make strategic decisions based on competing priorities.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Chicago Booth? The holistic experience is exciting! For me, I look forward to participating in professional clubs such as the Business and Sustainability Club, Energy Group, and Management Consulting Group. More personally, I look forward to meeting other veterans in the Armed Forces Group, shooting for par in the Golf Club, and living a healthy lifestyle with the Run, Bike and Swim Club. Generally, I love the mentorship model of second year students giving back to first year students by running these phenomenal organizations and making a true family culture at the program.

What has been your first impression of the Booth MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Growing up in East Texas, I can’t say I ever knew more about Chicago than the Cubs and Sammy Sosa, let alone the University of Chicago or Booth. Throughout the application journey with business schools, Booth students and alumni were welcoming and humble professionals. They artistically navigate social situations and can talk intelligently on a range of topics. When I feel like I have more to learn when I leave a conversation, I know I’m in the right place. The Armed Forces Group at Booth was engaging and supportive throughout the whole process, so I certainly want to give them a shoutout for investing in the next generation of veterans exiting the military and looking to make an impact through business.

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA? Chicago boasts a warm and welcoming Midwest culture (even if the winters try to challenge that warmth) fused into a big city that is geographically central to the United States. You can go anywhere from Chicago and do anything. Chicago is a great balance of opportunity and quality of life.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  It was creating the first combined military working dog unit in the U.S. Army by consolidating 7 unique organizations in 3 countries in Europe under a single umbrella and having a blank canvas to innovate and add value. I felt like I was doing a startup from moving desks into an empty room to creating and delivering marketing materials to commanders throughout Europe on how dogs could serve their organizations from law enforcement to combat operations. We drastically increased operations and at the same time, improved the quality of training so Soldiers and their 4-legged partners could respond to any and all challenges.

What do you hope to do after graduation? I hope to work in a global consulting firm to tackle challenges of the global energy transition, ensuring societies have a reliable and sustainable source of energy across the world. I see the energy transition as my generation’s greatest challenge and hope I can invest in our future.

What other MBA programs did you apply to?  I applied to quite a few programs given the nerves of such a big transition from the military. I applied to programs with a combination of great people, great focus, and great opportunity. Here’s the list of business schools I applied to: Harvard, Wharton, Sloan, Kellogg, Darden, Ross, McCombs, Jones, and Owen.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Chicago Booth’s MBA program? You’re a young professional who has been successful and driven to this point. Without resting on your laurels, craft a fun, interesting, and sentimental way to communicate your life story and do some tough introspection to see where you want your life to head in the future. Take all of those thoughts and pair them up with everything you can learn about Chicago; is Booth going to be the best fit to challenge you and push you to your goals? Once all that thought and research is complete, you simply need to communicate it on the application.


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