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Ashley Cornwell


Several years ago, Ashley Cornwell found herself feeling a little hemmed in by her job. She worked in a small niche of the financial sector dealing with government bonds from the trustee side. It was interesting work and she says it taught her a lot, but lacking a degree in finance she worried she might be closing herself off to future career options.

“The career growth in that sector is pretty limited,” she says, “and the people who stick with it really love it. I liked it, but to say I loved it would be going a bit far. I at least knew that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life doing it. And so that’s when I started looking into business programs in the Chicago area.”

After taking the time to research her various options, Chicago Booth quickly rose to the top of her list. She read all she could about its programs and eventually decided to attend an evening information session to learn more. It was there that she first heard about the GSALB program.

“The GSALB program struck me immediately as a great option,” Ashley says. “Having been out of school for a while, I was nervous about becoming a student again. It seemed perfect that I’d have the chance to try some classes out without having to commit myself to a program. I’d be able to make sure it was really what I wanted to do. And, plus, that I’d be able to confirm that Chicago Booth was the right place for me made the GSALB the right choice.”

Ashley took three fundamental classes at Booth through the GSALB program—Financial Accounting, Business Statistics, and Microeconomics. She says they were a great way to get her mind back into the place of being a student again. When asked if any class in particular continues to stand out for her, she admits that her class in microeconomics provided her with a little more of a rollercoaster of emotions than the other ones.

“It was just that I remembered friends in college freaking out about their microeconomics classes,” she says, “and here I was—never having taken it before—about to take it at the University of Chicago, a place so famous for its economics. It had me sort of freaking out for a while too.”

As it happens, it became her favorite class in the end. Though it was challenging, she found it incredibly interesting and actually enjoyed doing the hard work. In fact, her experience sealed the deal on her decision to become a student again and get her MBA. Now, as a student in the Evening MBA Program at Chicago Booth, Ashley says she even plans to pursue a concentration in economics.