CC image courtesy of Maura Teague, Flickr
The University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine organized a charity event, "Grad Student Speed Dating," on Feb. 9 at the Gordon Center for the Integrative Sciences (57th and Drexel). It was targeted at UChicago graduate students across different schools. In a rare display of true gender equality, the event was free for women and $28 for men. As a result there were more women than men at the event (to the joy of all the men who attended). I was amazed to see the efficiency with which it was organized and Nita Padavil and Lauren Hobbs from the Pritzker School of Medicine are to thank for that (Nita unfortunately didn't participate in the speed dating event herself, much to my disappointment).
The basic format of the event was to match men and women with 20 three-minute dates each while trying to avoid matching couples from the same school. Participants marked "yes/no" on a card after each date. All couples who said "yes" to each other received their matched partner's contact information.
This event proved to be a great opportunity to meet people from the opposite sex from different parts of the university - very valuable to the lonely souls of Chicago Booth who spend much of their time insulated from the rest of the university, deeply engrossed in recruiting and coursework (and TNDC).
Barring the acoustics of the Gordon Center that mandated shouting instead of conversing, the excessive lighting in the atrium that made the event seem more like an interrogation exercise and a handful of awkward dates with a few Chicago Booth women with whom I spent much of the three minutes talking about courses and recruiting, I found it to be a very refreshing experience. I met women from the UChicago Law School, Harris School of Public Policy, Pritzker School of Medicine and the School of Social Service Administration (SSA). I must add though - it was interesting to note the similarities among the women irrespective of the school to which they belonged!
It was also very interesting to exchange notes with my male Booth classmates after the event, which was uncannily similar to exchanging recruiting notes and tips. There was general consensus regarding certain women and spirited debate over others. I am sure the men were discussed with the same fervor by the ladies. I even spotted one of my former TAs at the event (a PhD student) who looked like he was there on a mission. I do hope he got what he was looking for.
With the exception of one date where I (and other male Booth participants) was confronted by an SSA woman with the awkward question "does Booth deliberately teach you how to be ethical in business?" most of my dates were very nice and engaging. The experience made me feel like a part of the broader UChicago community.
My results: two final round callbacks, one waitlist and four dings.