Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Emma Lawler, University of Chicago (Booth)

“Emma has a background in products and entrepreneurship. She worked at Fitbit, theSkimm, and was a co-founder of Moonlight, a remote work market that was sold to a competitor in 2020. ”

Hometown: Denver, Colorado

Fun fact about yourself:

  • Before the pandemic, I lived in 9 major cities around the world while working remotely, including Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Barcelona and London.
  • I am a certified yoga teacher. I took the 200-hour virtual Yoga Maya training in New York City during the pandemic.

Undergraduate and major school:

  • License: University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Creative Technology Certificate (One Year Program, User Experience Design, University of Colorado at Boulder)
  • Certificate in preparation, CORe (3 courses, Harvard Business School online)

Most recent employer and job title: Senior Product Manager at theSkimm in New York

Which word best describes the Chicago Booth MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Motivating – I am always amazed by everything each student or alumnus has accomplished and the passion they bring to their work. At first, I was greatly influenced by every conversation, discovering new opportunities with every person I spoke to – internships, recruiting, networking, clubs, travel, etc. Each person has a truly inspiring path and they want to take you with them. I am delighted to surround myself with a group of such ambitious people and take every opportunity to learn from each of their unique journeys. I came to Booth to continue my research in entrepreneurship, and I can already say that I will have a vast network of professionals to collaborate with throughout this journey.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key element of Chicago Booth’s MBA program that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was drawn to Booth’s electives and entrepreneurship concentration, as well as the flexibility of the program. I was looking to acquire skills in quantitative finance, develop an ambitious peer network, and incubate my next startup idea. Courses like Entrepreneurial Discovery and the New Venture Challenge, the Entrepreneurship and VC Club, and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation all made Booth the perfect fit for my goals. As I get more involved, I am continually excited about the learning and resources available to entrepreneurs.

What class, club or activity are you most passionate about at Chicago Booth? I am planning to participate in the New Venture Challenge and aspire to secure funding for my next startup. Booth’s flexible schedule will allow me to incubate and validate business ideas with other students and faculty before fundraising. I’m also excited about experiential lab courses like the PE / VC lab, where students learn investment skills in the classroom and apply them through an internship working directly with local businesses.

When you think of the Booth philosophy, what’s the first word that comes to your mind? Why? Rigorous. Before I applied to Booth, I knew the school had a reputation for offering a quantitative curriculum. I look forward to acquiring the technical skills that I will need to be a business leader throughout my career. Yes, maybe I could learn some of these skills over years of practical experience, but I believe this two-year program will give me a more solid foundation to achieve my lofty goals and make a bigger impact.

Describe your greatest achievement in your career so far: I was the co-founder of Moonlight, a remote work platform for finding and hiring experienced software engineers. We validated the idea as a remote team, raised a first round of institutional venture capital, hired a team, built a complex two-sided market and sold the platform to PullRequest in 2020. Moonlight still exists today. hui in case you want to find a job in software or hire developers!

How has COVID-19 changed your perspective on your career and your life in general? In 2020, I sold Moonlight – the company I had co-founded and worked for for three years previously. I learned a lot of lessons being a founder for the first time and knew I wanted to start over with more formal business training under my belt. Then the first peak of the pandemic hit in New York where I lived, and I had a lot of time to think. I decided on three things: I wanted to join a women-centric startup, attend a major business school, and possibly start another startup. I was hired at theSkimm as a Senior Product Manager, applied to several schools and chose Booth. Now I am working towards my goal of starting another business. While COVID-19 has been devastating, it has given me the space to reflect on my goals and spend a lot of time working on this new path.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission to the Chicago Booth MBA program? Timing is everything. Apply when you have discovered your authentic path and understand how this MBA will help you achieve those goals. Spend meaningful time on each part of the application and focus on your story – what did you do, what do you want to do in the future and how the community and the Booth program will help you get there, all Throughout each part of your application, interviews and decision, stay true to your personal journey. This thinking and clarity will help you stand out from the crowd and also lead you to a meaningful career where you will be happy.

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