Whether they met at Chicago Booth, applied to MBA schools together, or were introduced after graduation, there are almost 1,500 couples among alumni who have married their fellow Boothie. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the following are just a few tales from Booth sweethearts.
Mike and Lauren met at LEAD's Omega-Alpha dinner for outgoing (Mike) and incoming (Lauren) LEAD facilitators.
“Our first interaction was when Mike mistook me for a friend of his (we looked somewhat similar from behind) and hugged me,” Lauren said. "We then spent the evening talking about recruiting, pop culture, and nail polish—Mike was going to work at L'Oreal after graduation and had an uncanny ability to recognize good styling products! While it was an odd introduction, we’ve gone on to hug intentionally many times since.”
The foodies say their favorite date spots while in school were Balena and Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba. But their best Booth shared memory is a class they inadvertently took together early in their relationship—Business, Politics, and Ethics. Lauren found it a little terrifying because the course delves into complex, heavy, no-win situations and ethical conflicts—topics not traditionally discussed in the first weeks of dating. But it provided much conversation and debate and wound up being an interesting way to get to know each other.
"It also led to our first fight when we were discussing who would win if we were matched up in an in-class debate," Mike recalled. "Fortunately, we never had to find that out."
Both agree that their common Booth experience positively impacted their lives.
“Being at Booth gave us this shared educational framework and vocabulary—which means that even now, years later, we'll refer to a given case or course when working through situations. Recently I referenced one of Nick Epley's classes while we were driving home,” Lauren said. “On a lighter note, Booth also gave us some of the dearest friends we have."
Mike and Lauren both work at Amazon, Lauren as a principal HR business partner in Amazon’s Web Services, and Mike as a manager of vendor management running the Exercise and Fitness team on the retail side.
They support the school by being actively involved with the admissions team through both alumni interviews and admissions event panels in the Seattle area. Mike is serving on his reunion committee, and both are active donors and members of the Maroon Loyalty Society.
Andy and Kate Ebbott met while living in Laughlin Hall—a small building, now demolished—which housed business school students. Their favorite date spots included Giordano's Pizza, Gertie’s Ice Cream, R.J. Grunts, and the Lodge.
Their favorite Booth memories were running for the Business Students Association and the Student Council simultaneously, late night stops at Häagen Dazs, and a crazy night skiing at Wilmot Mountain.
“We actually didn’t have too many common experiences at the Graduate School of Business, since I was in the health care administration program,” Kate said. “It set the tone for a very independent marriage with shared values, but a wide range of interests and activities pursued separately by both of us.”
The couple is currently retired, but Kate worked for Kidder Peabody, followed by Harvard Community Healthcare Plan. Andy started at Coopers & Lybrand and then moved on to Cabot Properties, where he worked for 29 years.
The couple has remained involved with the school throughout the years, with Andy having served on their 35th and 40th reunion committees. Their firstborn son, Scott Ebbott, ’16, also received his MBA from Booth.
Eric and Kristin met on the first day of their first jobs after college at AT&T in New Jersey. They were part of a rotational program which had all of the participants training closely together for the first month. Their careers then followed a very parallel path for several years including applying, and then enrolling, in Chicago Booth together.
Their favorite date spot was meeting other Booth couples for wings and beer at Yak-Zies and their best shared memory was a Cubs rooftop experience hosted by professors Anil Kashyap and Ann McGill as part of the Giving Something Back Charity Auction.
“Booth professors made themselves accessible socially through that event, as well as being accessible on campus. That’s one of the reasons we loved going to Booth,” Kristin said.
Currently, Eric is vice president of market strategy at TransUnion, and Kristin develops and operates their Club Pilates franchised studios in Westmont, Oak Park, Elmhurst, and Woodridge, Illinois. Both still support the school, with Kristin active in Booth Reconnect weekends. They have also enjoyed hosting a student/alumni dinner sponsored by Booth and have been active on their various company Booth recruiting teams.
“We appreciated having the Booth experience together,” Kristin said. “We now jointly own a franchise, which I manage, and we respect each other’s decision-making and analysis, having been shaped by our Booth education.”