Why I Coach—Kris Devaux

Kris D., an expert Leland coach, Booth MBA, and former Booth Admissions Interviewer, outlines why he chooses to coach and what it means to him.

Kris D.

By Kris D.

Posted August 22, 2022

Life is difficult; it is near impossible alone. I coach because, to be perfectly cliche, I am where I am today because several people have helped me out. I recognize that while experience is the only truly perfect teacher, learning from other’s experiences makes it that much easier to get it right the first time. This is something I wish I'd known when applying to MBA programs.

I came to business school from a very non-traditional career path, having played soccer professionally prior to joining Booth. When I made the very difficult choice to leave the world of professional soccer, I barely knew anyone who had gone down the MBA path. I was lucky enough to have one mentor who was embarking on that path, but we never really discussed the ins and outs of the process. As such, I utilized every resource at my fingertips, feeling like I had read up on everything there was to know about my top choice business schools. I crafted a story, recrafted that story, then spent three more months continuing to painstakingly craft the story for Round 1 of applications to help propel me into my new career. A week before Round 1 deadlines, I realized a fact I had somehow never picked up on: there was an actual method to the madness that is the business school application process. With no time to get a coach, I put my best foot forward and sent in my applications to a few schools. I got interviews, was told to be myself, prepped on my own like crazy, then flew out to Boston and Chicago for my interviews. I felt like they had gone okay and eagerly awaited phone calls on the day results came out.


I was heartbroken to not get a definitive yes, but that whole process taught me something I had unfortunately not known going into the process: schools are actually looking for specific things when looking at candidates. Understanding that the second time around, I applied with these specific things in mind, crafting my applications to fit each school's unique personalities, all the while representing my authentic story. When the phone calls came in, they came in with an added surprise: full scholarships to all the schools I had applied to in the second round. My choice was made; I was going off to Chicago Booth School of Business to embark on my MBA.

Fast forward two years, and I was sitting on the other side of the interview table, interviewing candidates for Booth as a second year Admissions Fellow. I saw great candidates who I was certain would get in, and I cringed inside as I saw candidates that reminded me of myself, going into the first round of interviews with little idea of what Booth actually looks for in a candidate. All were spectacular candidates, but unfortunately I could see who had the best chance to make it in when Booth would have to make hard decisions.

This is why I coach. I coach because there are many points I wish I had known prior to starting. I coach because I enjoy seeing people put their best foot forward. I coach, because when chasing a dream, no matter how prepared you think you might be, there are always small ways to stand out. Throughout business school, I coached numerous students both as a Career Advisor and as a Consulting Family Lead and found their successes to be just as rewarding as my own. I coach, because I enjoy watching people achieve their dreams. Let’s discuss yours!

Interested in working together on your MBA application? Click here for my Leland coaching profile.

Browse hundreds of expert coaches

Leland coaches have helped thousands of people achieve their goals. A dedicated mentor can make all the difference.

Browse Related Articles