2021 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Adam Hogg, University of Chicago (Booth)

Adam Hogg

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

Age: 41

“Happy with what I’ve achieved and where I’m going… proud to be a part of Booth.”

Hometown: London, UK

Where are you currently working? I am the head of OCTO Ventures, a new venture capital unit in the UK Royal Navy bringing cutting-edge commercial technology to UK Defence.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I was proud to be chosen to join the Student Advisory & Activities Council by my cohort at Booth. To have been considered amongst such a talented and notable group of students was a real honour and a genuine surprise.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Over a 20 year career in the military, I’ve been fortunate to work with motivated teams and in fascinating roles around the world. During this time, two achievements stand out in particular.

In 2015, I was chosen as one of the first UK pilots to fly the F-35 stealth fighter jet and moved to the USA to work with a US Marine Corps flying unit in South Carolina. After four great years, I was privileged to lead 200 UK service men and women and 10 fighter jets back to the England to set up the first frontline squadron and prepare the team for deployment onboard the UK’s flagship aircraft carrier.

The second achievement is my current role in OCTO Ventures, an opportunity that came about as a direct result of the education and people at Booth. This started with three of my classmates briefing the heads of Royal Navy technology in the boardroom at the London Stock Exchange. It is now a major department in UK Defence having raised the first ever defence investment fund. I am most proud of the people and diverse expertise I have around me in my team and the energy and intellectual rigour they bring to our work. I learn from them every day and have been fortunate to find the perfect outlet for all that I have learnt at Chicago Booth.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Each of the faculty has been remarkable in their own inimitable way. Although their style and approach differ, the thing I have enjoyed most is the consistent theme of dedication, credibility and excellence.

That said, as I look back over the programme, I think most fondly of our first early accounting classes with Prof Haresh Sapra and the energy and enthusiasm he brought to the fundamental debits and credits!

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I chose to study at Chicago Booth for the people, the education, and the school’s stellar reputation around the world. Having access to one of the world’s most prestigious business schools on my doorstep in London and being able to work with and alongside the school’s faculty, students, and staff was a can’t-miss opportunity.

It was also the best fit for my future aspirations and needs. Booth has built a global reputation for robust analysis of data and fundamentals and I knew this approach would serve me well, particularly given my limited experience in business and future ambitions.

The programme is famed for being “rigorous” and this is not a term to be taken lightly in executive MBA education. I relished the opportunity and challenge this offered, and aligned with my principles of “if you’re going to do something, do it properly”.

As I approach the end of the programme, I am certain I made the right choice. Booth has given me the confidence, support network and knowledge I need to credibly and successfully make the next steps in my career and beyond.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Right from the outset, I relished being in an environment that challenged me and took me away from my normal environment. The lesson that stood out most was how to include the different perspectives within the team, and (as without sounding trite) to listen more and speak less as a leader.

A strong and clear rank structure had served me well during combat operations in the military, but it was the MBA programme that offered the opportunity to develop my leadership and team skills further, away from this traditional hierarchy.

It was clear from the start of the programme that I was not the smartest person in the room and developing these skills only proved this further!

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? A major reason people choose not to undertake executive MBA education is the additional workload and diminishing free time that comes with it. The commitment can seem intimidating and a source of yet another stress in our daily lives. I certainly did not relish the extra workload but was ready for the challenge.

To me, it was amazing how quickly we adapted to the new normal, and surprising how enjoyable it could be. Everyone had their own style and systems, and it was clear there many ways of coping with the study and exams.

It’s often said that we will find it difficult to fill our time after the programme ends and the workload stops. I am certain this will be true for me and my fellow classmates…

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? We were told at the start of the programme that we would be very different people when we left. I realise now how true that is. This was one of the best decisions I have made, and one that I took at the right time in my life and career. My advice is therefore if you’re thinking about it… go for it; you won’t regret it.

Alongside this, I would also recommend doing your research on the schools and their programmes as they differ greatly and not all MBAs are the same. Visiting the schools, listening to the admissions staff, and meeting the students will help to make sure you find the right fit for your needs.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? You can’t do it.

What was your biggest regret in business school? My biggest regret is that we didn’t get the opportunity to study together at Booth’s new campus in the City of London. It has laid empty for the past year and London was somewhere we were all looking forward to moving to and making home. That said, with things starting to open up again, I don’t think it will be long before we’re back in the City of London and celebrating our graduation together for EXP-26.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Being amongst such talented and smart classmates was one of the major highlights of the programme. I’ve met people I would never have encountered otherwise and learnt more in the last two years than I have at any other time.

Tackling the deep complexities of business theory and principles was hard in enough for me in my native language. I therefore have the utmost admiration for all the students who were studying and being examined in a language other than their own. I can confidently say I would not be in the programme if I were in their shoes!

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? Chicago Booth focusses heavily on delivering an authentic executive MBA experience in London that is as closely aligned with its home in Chicago and undiluted from the full-time MBA programme. This added challenge and opportunity for learning, and was another attribute that attracted me to Chicago Booth in London.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To lead a defence-focused venture capital fund and to have mastered the balance of work and family.

What made Adam Hogg such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“Adam Hogg is an invaluable member of the Chicago Booth Executive MBA programme, admired by students, staff, and faculty alike. Drawing on his remarkable career in the Royal Navy, he offers a unique and valuable perspective on business and brings diversity of thought to the classroom discussion. Despite his astonishing professional achievements, he is extremely humble. When he applied to the Executive MBA programme he was – charmingly – somewhat concerned about his lack of formal business education. He then went on to present one of the finest Executive MBA applications we have ever received, with exemplary recommendations and interview performance. He was deservedly selected as an inaugural 75th Anniversary Scholar and has since gone on to excel in the program. He volunteers on our Student Advisory & Activities Council and used his outstanding leadership skills to help navigate his classmates through the rocky transition from in-person to online learning at the start of the COVID pandemic. He is an incredible ambassador for Chicago Booth and we hope he is the first of many Royal Navy students in our programme.”

Rachel Waites
Director of Global Marketing Strategy, Recruitment and Admissions
Chicago Booth Executive MBA Program, Europe

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