Three Student Veterans Form Inaugural Cohort of Joint A.B./M.B.A. Booth Degree Program

The students spoke to The Maroon about their journey to UChicago, career goals, and what the program means to them.


UChicago News

Booth’s Harper Center.

By Naina Purushothaman

The Booth School of Business announced the establishment of an Accelerated Booth Scholars Program for University student veterans on November 11. Coming from an anonymous $24 million grant gifted to the school for the expressed purpose of helping student veterans, the accelerated five-year program is designed to help UChicago veterans earn their joint A.B./M.B.A. degree. The first cohort to participate in this program are third-year student veterans Colin Augustson, Nicholas Golin, and Robert Zamora. These students spoke to The Maroon about what this opportunity means to them and their careers.

Colin Augustson: United States Marine Corps, majoring in Economics

When Augustson was deciding on his next steps after his military career, UChicago provided the structure he was looking for in his higher education.

“I was really looking to transition to a different type of challenge than what I had in the military,” Augustson said. “It’s challenging in a lot of ways, but I knew I wanted to just put myself in a place where I was going to be surrounded by the best and the brightest.”

Getting an M.B.A. degree has always been a career goal for Augustson. Currently, he is studying abroad for a year at the London School of Economics. Though it was a hard decision for him to make, Augustson believes studying abroad has been a formative experience. “I really wanted to get outside my support structures and push myself to be uncomfortable in that sense and gain the social skills that come with that,” he said.

Augustson is interested in pursuing roles in project management, specifically in environmental technology firms. He believes that getting his M.B.A. early on, which this accelerated program will allow him to do, will benefit his career trajectory.

“Having the kind of exposure and the more formal education that an M.B.A. provides sooner in my career rather than later will allow me to start applying those [skills] and build a very strong foundation at the beginning of my career,” Augustson said.

As Augustson looks forward to beginning the accelerated program, he is excited about the wide selection of electives that are offered and that will allow him to tailor his curriculum to his own interests.

Nicholas Golin: United States Marine Corps, majoring in Economics

For Golin, UChicago was his dream school growing up. “I always greatly respected the academic challenge that the institution represented and the quality of people that it placed into the workforce. When the chance to attend UChicago presented itself after my time in the Marines, it was a dream come true for me,” he said. Even though he hadn’t initially planned on getting an M.B.A., he found that pursuing one was the logical next step for him after his time in the military.

The establishment of the joint A.B./M.B.A. program allowed Golin to broaden his career goals. Currently, he anticipates pursuing a career in investment banking, and said his time in the military has prepared him for the fast-paced career.

“My experience as a veteran really helped me navigate the different challenges that arose when working late into the night on various projects,” Golin said. “The infantry and investment banking lifestyles are very similar, and I thoroughly enjoy banking’s version of this highly dynamic, highly collaborative environment.”

There are several parts of the program that Golin is looking forward to. In addition to building up his academic and professional experiences, he hopes to build connections and a network. “I am also looking forward to connecting with my new peers; building long-term, professional and personal relationships are extremely important to me, and there is no better way to do this than becoming part of the social network that Booth cultivates,” he said.

Robert Zamora: United States Army, majoring in Economics

Zamora’s journey to UChicago began when he started looking for schools after his time in the military.

“After researching the different schools in Illinois, I knew in my heart of hearts I wouldn’t be happy or pleased with myself if I didn’t try a challenging institution,” Zamora said. “The University of Chicago, in my opinion, is one of, if not the most challenging universities in Illinois and the country.”

Zamora said that while he hasn’t fully defined his career goals, his time in the military has shed some light on the type of work he wants to do.

“I want my teammates to feel like they are listened to, cared for, that they can grow and don’t have to choose between family, self, and the job,” he said.

Additionally, Zamora believes there are several ways in which his military career will benefit him in this accelerated program. “Something I noticed and appreciated in the military is that when a leader knew the job, and they could explain what and why we are doing something, that typically carried a lot of weight, and people respected them much more,” he said.

One of the most important aspects of a career to Zamora is the impact on society that job will have. “I want to impact people. I want people to grow not only in the job but with their families and themselves. I don’t want people to chase a dollar just to live. I want people to find hobbies, enjoy their lives, and love and laugh. I think doing that can positively impact a business,” he said.

Zamora enjoys commercial real estate, and though he hasn’t narrowed down his career path yet, he is excited about the resources this joint program will give him. “I am looking forward to networking and potentially finding a career passion,” he said. “I am hoping [that] while taking some courses and meeting my peers and faculty, I can start to draw out these hardcore passions.”