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Chat with Current Students

January 14, 2009—9:00-10:00 AM CST

Amanda: Hi everyone, thank you for joining today's chat. Please feel free to start submitting your questions now. We'll begin answering them in about 5 minutes!

Katie: Hi, I'm Katie Davis. Welcome to our chat this morning. Feel free to ask us anything about campus life, curriculum, or Chicago in general!

Di: Hello everyone, my name is Di, and I am a first year student.

David: Good morning! I'm a first year student happy to answer any questions you have about Booth and Chicago. I was born and raised here in the city and I love the weather.

Samuel: Hi everybody! Im Sam, Second Year student from Argentina. Welcome to the Booth Live Chat!

Laura: Hi everyone, my name is Laura and I am a second year student.

JK: Hello everybody! I am J.K. a first year at Chicago Booth. I am a software engineer by background. Before school, I worked for a tech consultancy in Paris, France. Before that I worked for a couple of start-ups in Beirut, Lebanon. So come on, let's here your questions!

Mia: Hello Everyone! My name is Mia and I am a second year student who is concentrating in Marketing, Strategy and Entrepreneurship. I look forward to any questions that you may have in regards to Chicago Booth, Marketing, campus life. I am also a co-chair of the African American MBA Association and a member of the Marketing Group, Corporate Strategy and General Management Group, and Chicago Women in Business (CWiB).

Kurt: Good morning thanks for joining us on our chat. We have a great group of current students here to answer your questions so take advantage of this opportunity to get the insiders perspective.

imbert: Good morning! What are the most popular apartments among the MBAs in the downtown area?

JK: Hello imbert - so what we call the Booth dorms in downtown are the following luxury high-rises (in descending order of rent): The Tides, The Shoreham, Millenium Park Plaza, Colombus Plaza, Park Millenium, ... There are also other buildings, but they just don't have the typical 50 students+ communities that the above buildings have.

Nancy: What would be the one thing you wish someone had told you before you applied to business school?

David: For me, the biggest surprise in coming to school was the amount of work required outside of class! I am constantly balancing my commitment to school activities, recruiting and coursework. It has not been a cakewalk by any means!

Madoff: How accessible are Chicago's faculty members, from the associate professors to the Steve Kaplan's of the school?

Mia: Booth professors are very accessible. If you are deciding whether or not to take a class, professors will respond to your emails if you have questions about the curriculum or topics covered. Additionally, if you are enrolled in a class, typically there are regular office hours where you can meet with the faculty member. Lastly, you are also able to meet with professors. Many of them are involved with other aspects of the school such as the Polsky Center, The Kilts Center for Marketing (to name a few) where there are events, speaker series, case competitions, etc. where faculty members are an integral part.

Mili: Hi, I am interested in hearing a little bit about campus life

Laura: I will address the question about campus life. The facilities that the university has to offer are amazing. The Harper Center is definitely a hub for student activity. If you can, I definitely recommend visiting campus and spending some time in the Winter Garden. There are always so many activities going on both in Hyde Park and at the Gleacher Center that it is difficult to choose which ones I want to participate in.

Pawas: A question for Samuel. I am engineering graduate from India. My career focus on Corporate Strategy, Finance and Business Development matches to your concetration. I would like to know your experince and what are the courses, learning modules and faculty that have helped you achieve your career aspirations. Since, I 'll be completing my CFA Level-1 in June, I would like to know the concentrations in Corporate Finance and Strategy that will foster my career.

Samuel: Hi Pawas! Welcome. Indeed I am in those concentrations and will be working in corporate strategy. Before the MBA I was a controller so I had to improve my strategy skills, meaning opening my mind a lot. What I did is take advantage of the flexible curriculum a lot. I first analyzed what I needed in order to improve myself and then choose the courses. There are a big number of courses in corporate strategy and great professors (I don't have to tell you about finance, in which Booth is great) but for example the course Strategy & Structure helped me greatly to improve myself and understand the fundamentals. I will recommend you to assess yourself deeply and then see what you need to improve (I think that in finance with a CFA you are more than fine). Best regards and it was a pleasure!

Nancy: Hello and Good Morning, I have a question about course selection. How do you pick courses .... for e.g. if you want to pursue a career in managing financial organizations and need the managerial skill set as well as the finance knowledge, how would you go about designing a program for yourself?

Di: Good morning, Nancy. You will get a lot of help regarding how to select your courses. First of all, the academic advisors will provide you one on one direction if you need it. The second year students are a great resource in terms of which classes are helpful for your career interests. In addition, you can always email the professor to ask about the class before bidding for the class.

imbert: How challenging is it to bid for and enroll in a heavily-demanded class?

Laura: I haven't had trouble getting classes that are "heavily-demanded". During my second quarter here at Chicago Booth I was able to take a course taught by Nobel Laureate Professor Gary Becker. Because the curriculum is so flexible, each student can customize their own program. This really helps spread demand for popular courses to make them more accessible.

Salma: J.K. how was the trek to Dubai?

JK: Hello Salma and thanks for your question: the Dubai Trek was great. The feedback was great from the 17 companies that we met with. We met with the big consultancies, most of the bulge bracket IB's and some P/E shops. Two of the 12 trekkers on the trek have now an offer each from a PE and a big IB, and others have now strong personal ties with many of the decision makers over there.

Voila: Hi! I'm from Latin America and my fiancee has agreed to move with me to the US. Did any of you arrive to campus with a S.O. and how was the experience? Thanks!

Samuel: Hi Voila! I am from Argentina and came with my wife. Actually it was great but for two reasons: First of all, we agreed that the project was for the two of us, not only my project. Second because she found something to do (she is studying arts), so she felt on board and the experience was great. I recommend to you that he/she find something to do and most important make him/her feel that he/she is an important part of the project.

Samuel: There are many things to do and I don't know of anybody who had any problem! Good luck! Sam

imbert: How popular is badminton among the MBA student population? Do you know of many (or any) enthusiasts?

JK: Imbert, there is no such a thing as a formal Badminton Student Group at Booth. However, many activities get practiced by students outside the context of a student group! All you need is a partner, and courts abound around town. The dearest to us of course is the Ratner Center, which is one of the University's state of the art sports facilities and is a couple of blocks down from the business school campus.

ym86: Hello, I am a Round 1 admit who is looking into some housing options. Any recommendations would be highly appreciated. I don't plan on driving so it needs to be within walking distance from the campus or some form of public transportation (is public transportation safe there?) and I would like to be close to a lot of other fellow Boothies (where do most people live?). I don't want to sound too picky, but I also prefer furnished places that are relatively recently built. Do you have any recommendations?

Samuel: Hey! Welcome! I live in Regents Park (a towers complex in Hyde Park facing the lake)which has everything you want: is close to Booth, has free public transportation, more than 100 students from each year live there and you could buy furniture from a second year that is leaving without needing to move it more than a few floors! Best, Sam

Pawas: Hello and a very good morning to all of you. For starters, I would like each of you to share your experince with Booth School of Business. Along with it, please share your time managment with curriculum, student clubs and other learning opportunities.

Samuel: Hi Pawas. Well my experience is very interesting as I am co chair of three student groups, I mentored undergraduate students, I had 3 job offers, I am married, etc. In terms of time management you should be very organized, try to choose among things and you will be fine. I think it depends on each person, in my case I was fine (some days were tougher). Sam

Nakul: What is the mood in majority of the classes - formal and strict or informal and easy going?

Di: Hi Nakul, I would say all my classes have been very informal and easy going. It is very conversational between professors and students, and I find I learn a lot from my fellow students in the class.

SJ: I would like to understand - what has been the essence of your experience at Chicago? Since it is a flexible curriculum and students chart their own course, what is the common experience that links back to the essence of being a student at Chicago Booth ?

Laura: One common experience that all students share is the LEAD program. This is the first course that you take when you enter Chicago Booth and the only course you are required to take with your cohort. That said, the cohorts continue to plan social activities throughout the course of your Booth experience. Beyond LEAD, I think the flexible curriculum actually really helps to link students together. Because the curriculum is so flexible, you will have many opportunities to meet a broad range of classmates, both first and second year students, rather than being required to take classes with a small subset of the total class. Once you factor in all the student groups and activities on top of classes, everyone really becomes involved in the Booth community and those collective shared experiences form the essence of the Booth experience.

Walter_1: Hi Amanda. What would you say sets Chicago Booth apart from other top tier business schools?

Kurt: Chicago Booth is an institution that believes in the power of ideas, and everything we do at Chicago is predicated on the notion that great ideas flow from an environment where diversity is respected, fundamentals are stressed and the freedom to choose the right path for your education is encouraged. By providing our students with an environment where they feel respected and encouraged to pursue their own interests, and they are given a strong understanding of business fundamentals (accounting, economics, behavioral sciences, stats) to dissect complex and ambiguous problems we create an environment where ideas flow, an environment where students and faculty collaborate to challenge the ideas that are formed.

Jessica: What different international trips does Chicago Booth have to offer? How long are these programs, when do they occur, and how many students usually participate? If someone has been on one, I'd love to hear about your experience.

JK: Hello Jessica and thanks for the interesting question: Actually, there are a number of opportunities to be on trips at Booth. For instance, right before the start of the program, many of us here were on Random Walks - I went to Alaska, Di went to Argentina, Laura was in Costa Rica, and Katie went to China. These are just leisure trips organized for incoming students to mingle and form friendships before school - and are very high demand (there are about 20 destinations and the number of participants varies between 10 to 50). Then, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we had about 15 career treks this year (the largest number of treks ever so far) and some were first-timers like the Dubai Trek!) We have a number of other treks being prepped as we speak for Spring as well. Also, don't forget to look for our IBEP program that allows student to study abroad around the world!

G-81511637: I am curious about student-led career treks to China for example. Can you comment on the types of trips students plan at Chicago Booth and supportiveness of alums/hosts in country in making it happen?

Di: Hello. I was on the investment management trek to Boston, New York, and Baltimore this winter. the IM trek was planned by the Investment Management group. We visited a number of IM firms in all three cities. Alums are very helpful. They are typically the first people we contact when we set up the trek, and they always provide helpful insights on the firm and industry. I did not go out of the country, but I have friends that went on the London banking trek during Thanksgiving break and the Hong Kong banking/IM trek during winter break. A career services person will also join the trek to assist if needed.

MBARetail: I've heard on several occasions that, on a typical day at business school, there are 10 activities you want to participate in, 7 that you can fit into your schedule and 5 that you actually end up being able to do. As current students, are there any activities that, in hindsight, you would have liked to have participated in but were not able to?

Samuel: Hi! Yes, totally correct, that's exactly how it is. What I found very interesting but I couldn't go because I didn't have time were the many speakers and conferences with CEO's or big executives. I always had many things on my schedule that prevented me from taking advantage of it. Another thing I couldn't do and was invited to do was the Management Lab and the New Venture Challenge. As I told another student, you have to choose among the many options. Sam

Comodore: I was online yesterday and tried to contact some clubs, the contact information is not available. How do we get in touch with club members to learn more?

Kurt: The club site should be up shortly. A few days ago we encountered some technical problems with a portion of the website and some of the student sites were impacted. Our Interactive Marketing team along with our Computing Services department are working to uncover the problem and repair the damaged sites. As a precautionary measure to outside users, all the pages were taken down until the source of the problem could be discovered. As an alternative source for this information, I would encourage you to go to our discussion forums and post your questions there. Our club leaders are good about monitoring the forums and responding to specific questions.

VinayIndresh: Kurt, I could see that most of you are on at least 3 clubs/communities clubs. On an average how many hours could you afford to spend on each in a week?

Laura: The great thing about the Chicago Booth experience is that it is so customizable. The time spent during club activities really varies based on the individual student, time of year and which clubs you are involved in. For example, you may choose to spend many hours with the career focused clubs, such as Management Consulting Group or Marketing Club during recruiting season because they facilitate mock interviews, interview preparation and company visits. Once recruiting is finished you may choose to spend less time on career clubs and more time in social or community service focused clubs, such as the Golf Club or Giving Something Back. Balancing time for classes, recruiting and club involvement certainly challenges time management skills, and the amount of time really varies for each student.

Howard: J.K. What disciplines are available at Booth where you feel that a background in IT would be the most valuable?

JK: Hey Howard, and thank you for your question: Your IT experience is really leveraged by the industry you were in. We have people who worked on developing/selling trading software that find themselves wanting to go into finance. And people like me who did things like change management and integration who find themselves drawn to consulting. I also got buddies who come from Silicon Valley and want to go back there but on the VC side... and the beauty of the Booth curriculum is that you immediately find yourself making the decisions and picking the classes that help you steer your career search in the direction of your choice!

john_1: I plan to concentrate in finance and accounting, but one of my major motivations for pursuing an MBA is to enhance my soft/interpersonal skills (I'm an engineer). Given Booth's lack of a core curriculum, I am just curious if you feel like you have improved these skills at Booth?

Mia: There many opportunites to enhance your interpersonal skills while at Booth, both in and out of the classroom. Your first year, you take a course called LEAD, which helps develop your leadership skills and you gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses and have an action plan after you complete the course. Many students also become involved with the student groups in a leadership role (co-chairs), which also helps you build these skills. Many of the classes (also Finance courses) involve group work, so you work on your teambuilding skills while at Booth. At Chicago Booth, the courses you opt to take are flexible, but there are still specific classes you must take. For instance, you must take 3 courses in Accounting, Microeconomics, and Statistics to graduate. Some sutdents opt to take Regression, for instance instead of Statistics to fulfill this requirement. There are also "Breadth" areas, such as Finance, Accounting, Economics, and Marketing, where you must fufill 4 out of 6 breadth courses. Within each breadth topic, you have numerous options of what courses to take. Overall, the way the curriculum is designed, you are able to cater your coursework to pursue your interests and enhance your skills. I think that this is a huge benefit compared to some other programs.

jgarcia: Good morning to all of you and thank you for taking the time to participate in this chat. A general question I have is what really separated Chicago from the other business schools you were considering? I have heard they are all very similar so I was curious what the driver for each of you was?

Laura: Chicago Booth is unique in many ways. For me there were a few differentiating factors. When I came and visited campus, I sat in on a course and was very impressed by the classroom environment and energy. It was very interactive and the "challenge everything" mantra really is exemplified. Additionally, when I visited I had the opportunity to speak with current students and really felt like those were people I would want as future classmates. I realize that is intangible, but it is very important. I was also very impressed by the flexible curriculum. I am a career changer and was able to take specific classes early in my curriculum to help me prepare for interviews and internship recruiting.

G-81511634: I was also hoping Mia could talk about being a student and a mother. I'm interested in starting a family while I'm a student at Booth and I'm worried about how that will affect my experience.

Mia: When I began school, my son was 9 months old. I made sure that prior to beginning school, I had a support network in place to help with childcare. My family is here in Chicago and I used a combination of my parents watching my son and daycare. Some students here opt to use a nanny and babysitters. At Booth (and any other b-school), there are extremely busy times, such as when you are recruiting, interviewing, or taking midterms/finals, but there are also times when you are less busy, such as during spring quarter your first year. You have to balance school, recruiting, family, social life, etc., but many people do that successfully. I have found that some aspects of school are nice when you have a family, such as long winter breaks (3.5 weeks), a long break after your internship (2-4 weeks) and you don't have a set schedule. For instance, last quarter I had classes only 2 days a week, so sometimes I was able to hang out with my son, other than just in the evenings and weekends, which is what you do when you have a regular job. We actually just formalized a Mothers at Booth group this week and we are looking forward to getting our website together in the next several weeks or so. I have other women who you can talk with as well if you would like to get their perspective. There are also women here who started (or added to) their family while in b-school. Please reach out to me and I can answer more questions and connect you to the right people. My email is mhillsma@chicagobooth.edu. Good luck!

G-81511637: Describe your feelings on the weather in Chicago now vs. your feelings two weeks ago ;)

Jeremy: This question is for Mia: I'm looking to go into marketing (hopefully brand management in the CPG industry) and I'm curious how your recruiting experience has been in that field. Booth is a marketing program that's on the rise, so I'm wondering if you found the selection of companies recruiting marketing students to be diverse and suitable to your career interests.

Mia: For me, I felt that there were a lot of companies (especially CPG firms) that recruited here. You can find this information through our career services information online. If you are interested in particular companies, I would definitely review what comapnies recruit on campus for all the schools that you apply to. Like with all programs, it is competitive to find an internship when you are at a top business school. At Booth, the Marketing Group helps prepare you for recruiting and interviews with mock interviews, connecting 2nd year students who interned within marketing to 1st year students who want to learn about their experiences. Also, there is a Marketing Group Mentorship progam. I actullay have 2 mentees who I am helping throughout their first year at Chicago Booth. I have found that the classes offered are diverse, and we have a great faculty. I was able to take 4 marketing classes my first year, due to the flexible curriculum, which really helped me while I interned at Kraft (and ultimately got a full-time job offer). Also, there is the Kilts Center for Marketing (please check out their web page). Overall, the students recruiting for marketing are a much smaller group compared to consulting or banking, but there are numerous resources and events, either through career services of the marketing group that will help you get a internship.

Andrew_1: Good morning, how has recruiting been going? Specifically, what does the job market look like for a Chicago grad?

Samuel: Hi Andrew. Recruiting was very good given the crisis. Most of the students I know have offers and many, more than one. In my case I had 3 offers and already accepted a very good job in NY. Of course it is a tough moment, but the quality of my classmates is very high and recruiters keep coming for talent. Sam

Marco: Good morning guys. I have a question. Do you feel that there is a good amount of diversity at Chicago Booth? what is the percentage of international students?

Di: Good morning Marco, I think about 37% of the students are international students. the student body is also diversified by background. If you are interested in anything (career or personal), the chances are you will be able to find someone here who has done it. It is a great experience to be able to talk to so many people with such diverse experiences.

SG: Hi everyone and thanks for hosting this chat. This question is for Di....I see that you have got multiple certifications such as CFA, FRM and pursuing CAIA...can you please tell me after learning so much on your own, how does chicago booth curriculum and resources complement your knowledge and what extra skills have you learned by attending Chicago Booth?

Di: Morning SG. The flexible curriculum is one of the valuable attributes of Chicago Booth. In my case, it was especially important when I was evaluating schools. For example, my first quarter, I was able to bypass the basic accounting and stats classes and took a "footnote accounting" class and a Regression class. I felt I was challenged starting the first day of school. Also, some people think Chicago Booth is a just a finance school, but it offers more than just finance courses. We have so many rock star professors in the strategy and marketing areas. I loved my competitive strategy class last quarter because it really makes you think about the company beyond just the three statements.

Walter_1: How would you rate Chicago Booth's career placement support offered to students?

Samuel: Hi Walter. Actually I found Career Services to be one of the biggest assets of Booth. I worked in Oil & Gas as a controller, and came here to change function, industry and geography (I am from Argentina). Many students told me that was impossible but career services encouraged me and gave me many tools and contacts. I finished with 3 offers for corporate strategy in the US in agribusiness which was my three objectives. I don't know other schools but in my opinion Booth is #1 in career services because is literally great! They give you a great support and many many tools. Also Booth is a talent supplier in which many industries come to recruit. Alumni are everywhere and in all industries and give us their support also. Best, Sam

Alex: Good morning everyone. I had a question about the living situtation. Do most of the students live in the Hyde Park area, or do most commute from other parts of the City?

Samuel: Hey Alex! We have like 30% living in Hyde Park and the rest are Downtown and Lincoln Park. The commuting from downtown is fast and good using the Metra but if you live in Lincoln Park you need a car. So there is nothing written but you have tendencies: internationals are split between Downtown and Regents Park and Americans live in Lincoln Park or Downtown. Sam

con: Hello - being located in chicago, you are often compared to Kellogg, which is known as a marketing school. For prospective marketing majors, what advanatges would they have at Chicago vs Kellogg?

Mia: Some advantages at Booth are that there are the same resources available to you and your career interets versus other industries, such as banking, finance, or consulting. There are a smaller number of students who are recruiting, so if anything this is an advantage when trying to get face time with a recruiter, access resources from career services, or participating in the marketing group events, such as the conference, speaker events, etc. I have found that many of the same companies recruit at both Kellogg and Booth. You have to check out what specific companies recruit at each school if you are interested in a specific firm or type of marketing job. We have firms that recruit within CPG, healthcare/pharma, high tech, finance, and many other industries for marketing. The flexible curriculum allowed me to take 4 marketing classes my first year, which helped me learn about the industry/funtion and helped me transition my career. At other programs, you may be taking most of you core classes during your first year. Lastly, especially nowadays, there are a lot of analytics and analysis involved in marketing. If anything, Chicago Booth gives you additional tools to make decisions within marketing.

Sam: Sam, I read that you are involved in Giving Something Back. Can you please tell me a bit about the club and the organizations that it supports. Does it support the Illinois Special Olympics?

Samuel: Sam how are you! Indeed I am involved in it although only as a volunteer as I was elected by three student groups to be co chair, I couldn't do more for Chicago Booth. The groups support many organizations, a lot here in Hyde Park and others in other places of the country. Within that there are different activities that you could do, as teaching for example or help entrepreneurs of Hyde Park in their ventures. I am not sure about the Illionis Special Olympics but you could go to the website and send an email to one of the co chairs, they will provide you the info. Best, Sam

Pawas: As a student of Booth School of Business, what do you think are the major take-away from the two-year MBA course. Apart from the Alumni-network :-)

Katie: Great question! There are so many opportunities to take away from the full-time experience. Many programs exist to help you solidify your career goals. There are extensive resources through the full-time program for recruiting, both for internships and full-time positions. There is also the opportunity to get as involved as you would like in student groups. In that way, there is a very strong sense of community that you get in the full-time program, which leads to the alumni-network you mentioned.

AlexD: Hi, I wanted to ask how much time per week does it take being involved in a student group?

Katie: Alex, your involvement can be as great or as little as you want it to be. For example, you can choose to be a member of several groups, and attend meetings/events at your convenience. Or, if you are looking to get very involved, you can do that as well by taking on leadership positions. As a co-chair of the Wine Club, my commitment is around 4-6 hours a week to that particular student group.

Nancy: Who is your favourite professor and why? Which is your favourite course and why?

David: Nancy, my favorite course right now is Operations with Dan Adelman. I'll be the first to admit I never thought I would take an Ops class, but he makes the material very interesting and he's a pretty funny guy. He also brings in his real world experience (calculating waiting times at polls for the Obama campaign) and makes everything that much more relevant.

Jon: With the financial crisis going on, what is the mood on campus and also in the city of Chicago?

Katie: While the financial crisis has affected the recruiting scene on campus, my classmates seem upbeat. The administration has done a great job in supporting both recent graduates and current students in their job searches. Additionally, I think that many second-years currently searching for positions realize that while it may take longer to secure a job, they still feel optimistic about their prospects. As for the city of Chicago, I think that people are being more cautious, but we have so far been isolated from the dramatic job loss that some other major cities have experienced.

G-81511634: This question is for David, but anyone can answer it! I'm very interested in nonprofit and public management. What is going on in the Net Impact club and how does Net Impact play a role in Booth overall?

SHernandez: I see that many of you are active in clubs, how have you learned to manage your time committments towards your academics and clubs? Also, how did you discover the clubs you are now involved in?

David: Hey Guest! I am a member of Net Impact and attended this year's conference with a group of 15 other students. Net Impact a lot of different programs, including Board Fellows program where students are placed with non-profits to work an a project for their board over 10 weeks. We are also planning a conference in the spring, working with faculty on incorporating new curriculum, and working with facilities to make Harper a greener building. So we've got a lot going on. I'll also say that there's a lot to do if you are interested in nonprofit/public sector. In fact the head of the Chicago Transit Authority is a Booth alum and will be on campus today to discuss internship possibilities there.

Di: Good morning SHernandes. Time management is a key issue. There are so many things happening on campus you would want to get involved in on top of classes/group meetings, and recuriting for summer internship (for first year student like me). the clubs are grouped into 1) diversity clubs,such as Chicago Women in Business, 2) social clubs, such as wine club, 3) athletic clubs, such as yoga club, 4) social interest clubs, such as Givingsomething back, and 5) career focused club, such as Investment banking Group. I am a member of a numbers of clubs, which is a good mix of social and career. I am most involved in the Investment Management Group and chicago global citizen. During orientation, you will have an opportunity to explore all the clubs and what they do and decide what's interest you the most. Hope that helps. Di

Sibow: Aside from Hyde Park and the Harper Center, where do most off-campus activities, events, and socializing take place? In which neighborhoods? At Gleacher? Thanks!

JK: Hey Sibow - so Gleacher is our downtown campus, where as the Harper Center is our Hyde Park campus so on-campus events take place there. Now off-campus events take place literally all over the city, from the Blackstone hotel, to the Ritz-Carlton, to the McCormick Place, and we even had our Fall semi-formal in the Shedd Aquarium! Other socials take place in the Chicago River, in Lincoln Park around bars and pubs... the fun never stops!

VinayIndresh: Mia, since the curriculum is flexible students can take any courses they like. If by chance a student is taking highly unrelated courses will the school academics committee or the placement committee give advice to the students?

Nakul: Will the amount of work increase exponentially if I decide to do multiple conentrations? ExampleL concentration in Entrepreneurship and Strategy Management? Will school-life balance still be there?

Mia: Yes-there are a lot of resources for you to decide what courses to take. On the Chicago Booth portal, you have access to the syllabus or a course, professor evaluations, and the bios of the professor. Also, you will meet with an academic advisor throughout your time at Booth to help you figure out the path you want to take. One of the most valuable resources are the second year students. When I was a fist year, I was able to ask 2nd year students what courses they took, what the recommended, etc. to help me decide what would be best for me. Overall, you make the decisions based on numerous resources.

Katie: I will answer this question, as I currently have three concentrations: Finance, Strategic Management, and Entrepreneurship. Because the curriculum is flexible, you can choose classes that fulfill more than one concentration. Though there are always challenges to maintaining the school-life balance, you will only take 3-4 courses a quarter. Therefore, its best to utilize the course evaluations posted for each course before you enroll to choose a balanced load each quarter.

jgarcia: Do you find the Chicago environment is good about including spouses in clubs or activities?

Pawas: Hello and a very good morning to all of you. For starters, I would like each of you to share your experince with Booth School of Business. Along with it, please share your time managment with curriculum, student clubs and other learning opportunities.

Samuel: Hi! Yes definitely. I am from Argentina so the cultural change was an issue, but the environment and the support from Booth was great and fundamental. My wife is part of the Partners Group and has many friends and activities related with Booth. The environment is very inclusive so dont worry, she/he will be fine! Sam

David: Good morning Pawas! I have had a rewarding and challenging time learning to balance all of my commitments at school. I have a tendency to want to get involved with lots of activities and my time at Booth has been no different. I've taken 3 courses per quarter so far, I am an active member of 4 clubs and I am recruiting for consulting. Most days I am here at Harper all day, and I'm either in class, in group meetings or at the gym. The main goal for me has to been to stay organized and make sure I commit to what I am actually able to do. The great thing about the whole experience has been going through it with other classmates, sharing our frustrations and learning from each other's mistakes.

BoothBound2011: What aspect of the Chicago Booth experience has provided you with the biggest sense of community?

Katie: We are fortunate that there are quite a few aspects of Booth that provide a sense of community. Before the program even begins, you have the option of going on a Random Walk trip. This is an amazing way to see a foreign country and bond with 15 other students. First year students are divided into cohorts for the LEAD program. There you have the opportunity to bond with 70 or so of your classmates. At the same time, these cohorts interact with each other, so a sense of community is established within your first quarter on campus and remains throughout your two years here.

Nancy: How can you get involved with the Polsky centre?

G-81505958: Has there been anything about your UChicago experience that significantly differed from your expectations going in (either for the better or the worse)?

Mia: It is very easy to get involved in the Polsky Center. I am actually participating in the New Venture Challenge. Please check out the website online. http://research.chicagobooth.edu/nvc/index.aspx Also, you are able to stop in and discuss your ideas with faculty. There are also case competitions, speaker events and a conference that is held. There is a lof of great information on the website. They have an open door policy and are extremely accessible.

David: I am constantly amazed by the caliber of the students here. I think it is safe to say that everyone here has had a very successful career before coming to Booth. What's surprising is that this results in some very rich experiences different from anything I had experienced before school.

Swaroop: Is there a link to the list of participating schools in the IBEP program?

David: Swaroop, here's the link:

David: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/fulltime/academics/international/partnerschools.aspx

steps_mba: How can one develop leadership skills (apart from LEAD) at Chicago Booth?

Katie: There are many opportunities to develop leadership skills here at Booth. Apart from LEAD, you can get involved with the Graduate Business Council (our student council) in a variety of roles. After joining student groups of interest, you can take on a leadership role within the group as a co-chair. Additionally, there are several case competitions and events through Booth in which you can participate and represent the school as a leader in a particular field.

G-81505958: Have any of you taken advantage of the International Business Exchange Program? If so, what was your experience like? If not, what have you heard about the program?

steps_mba: Katie, My post MBA goal is to work in Real Estate. Could you please elaborate something about the RE Group? Thank you.

JK: Hey there G-81505958! So the IBEP is one of the interesting ways for students to add more flavor to their MBA by going abroad, especially for those who have less of an international exposure and want to get there. Some do it because they are also interested in a region and being on the ground in say Brazil, Hong Kong or Australia can definitely help them expand their network and give them access to the other school's resources. I am currently considering going back to France for instance (to join ESSEC in Paris) because it could help me capitalize on my french network and help me add more business connections to it.. plus, I love Paris, so it all works out. Some others also do it just because they are interested in a particular course in some other school or by a specific professor. And generally, more and more students are applying to the program at Booth, which I believe says a lot of good things about it and the schools we have partnered with around the globe.

Anirudh: Question for David: Have you been able to follow up on your interest in political campaigns, etc.? If so, how?

Katie: The Real Estate Group on campus is a great organization. They do a great job of bringing resources to campus to speak about the variety of positions available to MBAs in Real Estate. Additionally, they sponsor teams for several case competitions specific to Real Estate (I competed in one at UNC last year, and it was a fantastic experience). They also hold resume and interview prep workshops that help you secure roles in the industry. And finally, there is an annual conference held at the downtown Gleacher campus, which is attended by 100+ alumni in the field, which is a great networking event.

David: Oh definitely! The Obama campaign was obviously here in Chicago and there's about to be a special election on the north side for Rahm Emanuel's seat. Actually, a U of C prof is one of the candidates who has filed. I have definitely kept up with the world, but try not to get too sucked in.... Greg: Good morning. Could someone comment on the Private Equity Lab? How new is it? How many students enroll? Also, what would be a prototypical example of a project undertaken within this course?

MrSmith: I have been told that many Chicago Booth students live in the city. Could you talk how this impacts involvement in student activities and groups? Can you talk more generally about student life outside the classroom?

David: Mr Smith! While students tend to live in different neighborhoods in the city, students are focused in three major areas (Hyde Park, downtown, Lincoln Park). That said, Chicago is a very "small" city in that no one is more than 20-30 minutes away from each other. Social events happen here in Hyde Park (Di and I are on an intramural broomball team) and in all different neighborhoods. For me, Booth was a great choice because the student body embraces the whole city and not just a specific neighborhood.

JK: Hey Greg - good question: So the Private Equity and Venture Capital Lab has been here for a few years now and it is a really good experience, especially for those trying this new career path for the first time. Typically, it is a class that you have to apply to and it happens once in Winter and once in the Spring quarters. Students from both 1st and 2nd year apply to it actually. Student applications are sent to PE's and VC's that choose the candidates they want to interview. Once you're selected by a company, you are assigned a real project and some actually do get offers to stay and intern and finish the project they started. This is a very helpful way of getting to know the PE and VC people especially since they are both amongst the non-traditional career tracks that are hard to get into just by knocking on doors.

john_1: Given the flexible curriculum, I imagine you meet a lot of people. However, I worry that you may not develop close relationships with them. Is this true? Do you feel like you are very close to many of your fellow classmates?

Katie: John, this is a great question. I personally have dealt with building relationships at school, particularly because I am from Chicago and so balance my family and friends with school friends. That said, it is easy to build strong relationships with classmates, so long as you get involved. Whether it be through getting involved in student groups, attending TNDC (a weekly social activity for the whole MBA student body), or just hanging out in the Winter Garden, there are many ways to not just meet, but actually socialize, with classmates.

Walter_1: Laura, I'm interested in hearing more about the Risk and Gaming club.

Laura: The Risk and Gaming Club hosts a variety of events throughout the year, ranging from poker tournaments to out upcoming annual trip to Las Vegas. We also work with the statistics faculty to organize sessions on risk and gaming. For example, each year a few weeks before the Kentucky Derby we work with one of the statistics professors to host a lunch seminar on statistics of handicapping horses. Risk and Gaming is a great way to meet fellow students and faculty.

Rashmi: Hello and good morning. What are the things you have found to be helpful in your personal development other than academics and activities at Chicago Booth?

Laura: The alumni network has been very helpful in my personal and professional development. I have reached out to alumni in the alumni directory who have made time to speak with me on a one-on-one basis about their MBA experience and career paths after Booth. Additionally, the school does a great job of organizing events for students to interact with alumni in groups. The alumni breakfast series is a good example of this.

G-81552291_1: Hi David, can you please talk a little bit about Net Impact club?

David: We have a very active group of students who represent a variety of backgrounds and career tracks. We do a variety of different things: board fellows, spring conference, community service/consulting trip to New Orleans over spring break, curriculum committee, green committee. I'm involved with the green committee and we are working with our school's cafe to decrease waste. It's been a great project.

Polka: Hi. Thank you for holding this chat. Could you please elaborate a little on the Chicago Women In Business Club? What are the recent initiatives?

Katie: Chicago Women in Business (CWiB) is a great conduit for the women on campus to network amongst themselves and to discuss issues facing women at school and in the workplace. Events are accented by prestigious speakers and often provide alumni networking opportunities. Recent initiatives have included seminars on work-life balance, getting ahead in the workplace, and alternative career paths. However, access to recruiting avenues and alumni networking remains one of the main goal for the group.

Sam: I am interested in learning about how you have seen your peers that are married or involved in serious relationships balance their time. Are spouses/significant others welcome to tag along? Mia, I noticed that you are married, can you please share your experience?

Mia: If you are married or have a significant other, you have to make sure that your family is still one of your priorities during school. There is the Partners group, which is designed to get your spouse involved in student activities. At Booth, most of the social activities, such at the LPF that occurs every Friday on campus, are open to spouses as well. If my husband is ever finished early on Fridays, I invite him to come to LPF, for example. Also, you are able to have your spouse/signifiant other joing you when you are going out for drinks, dinners, or hangout with many of your classmates. There are a significant number of students who are married here. Overall, I just make sure that I make time for my family and if need be, schedule time to spend with my husband. During recruting, intervews, and final exams, you are extremely busy, but there is also down time too, such as a 3.5 week break during the winter. I use spring break, winter break and the break after the internship to do something special. I also set expectations about what free time I would have and tried to keep my husband aware of my schedule and what I was doing for the week.

chelo: Good morning everybody! I would like to ask something to Samuel Saenz Rozas: how strong is the Latin American community in Chicago? I guess there are many Chileans and Argentineans...what about Uruguayans?

Samuel: Hi Chelo how are you! I write in english so the rest can read. The Latin community is great, I am co chair of the labg and we had a lot of members. We dont have uruguayans in my class and the 2010 class but we are waiting for them, specially we, argentineans that are brothers of uruguayans. The community is very strong, many activities, more than 35 students from Latam each year, a strong group, etc.

Samuel: You will be more than happy! Asi que venite, te esperamos! Samuel

jgarcia: I am always fascinated with the amount of clubs / groups you are all involved with at any one time. How difficult is it to allocate time to each and feel like you are getting the most out of the experience?

Laura: I certainly find it challenging to be able to make time to participate in all the activities I would like to. There simply aren't enough hours in the day and I can only be in one place at one time. For example, yesterday there were two very interesting lunch speakers and I had to pick which one I wanted to hear. You just have to set priorities when choosing which events to attend. The wealth of options really allows you to choose what you want to do to make the most of your experience.

AlexMoscow_1: what are the reasons to join clubs? Besides general interest

JK: Hey Alex - good question. So there are 3 types of Student Clubs if I wanted to break them down in rough categories: Career focused, Community focused and last but NO least: fun focused. And beyond the obvious reasons why one would join any of these clubs, the networking opportunities in these clubs are amazing. You meet peers that share your interests. In a class of 578, I am in 7 clubs and that gives me the opportunity to meet many people who share some of my interests and work with them towards different goals. Also, it is a great chance to mingle with second years and quickly getting more insights around school, the program and the inside information for those who've been there a year more than you. Also, it is a great way to run away from Academics and still be involved in a lot of useful events open to the outside or within your class.

Teye: Hi could you please throw more light on the teaching methods used at booth? Is it lecture based or case based? And how useful have you found these methods? Thank you.

Di: Hi Teye, there are mixed of lecture and case based classes. Sometimes, the professor will also bring outside speakers to class as well. you will be able to find out whether the class is a case class from the curriculum before bidding.

G-81505958: A couple of questions about the Gleacher Center: Are full time MBA students able to take classes there? Are those typically the same courses offered at the main campus? Are they usually in the evening?

Laura: Full time students are allowed to take classes at the Gleacher Center. Courses taught at Gleacher are taught by the same professors who teach on the main campus and the course material is exactly the same. Courses at Gleacher are taught on both the evenings and weekends.

viper: What is one thing that you will miss most about Chicago Booth after graduation?

Laura: There are so many to choose from! I will miss seeing my classmates/friends every day, socializing in the Winter Garden, and getting to schedule classes so that I can sleep late. (Yes, I realize that is more than one thing!)

mjanderson: David: after working in politics, what made you decide to pursue and MBA?

David: That's a great question! I actually considered attending the Harris school (public policy) but decided that Booth was a better choice for my career goals. I was impressed by the focus of the education on real problems, the academic rigor and realistic settings (group work, high caliber minds, etc). I was also impressed by the alums (head of CTA, Jon Corzine, Chicago City Treasurer, etc).

G-81457143: Hello. I would like to ask: (whilst making huge generalisations), are there recurring personality traits in the student body at Booth? Eg, are they really intense people? Alpha male/females? Do they tend to approach life with a great deal of hubris?

Samuel: Hey! How are you! Our student body is deeple diverse but one thing is constant: more than 95% (you always have some outliers) is have the following characteristics: Open minded, engaging, helping others for example in student groups or homework, and veru enthusiastic with social life. I didnt see any bad behaviour among my classmates while working together or when doing recruiting. Sam

Gypsy: How much of one's time is occupied by classes? Michael: How well do you feel Booth has done integrating learnings from the current Wall Street crisis into the classroom? Are you seeing more or less focus on the situation than you had hoped for?

Di: Hi Michael, I feel the school has done a great job keeping us up to date. In addition to the classroom discussions, the school also hosts events, such as Becker Brown Bag series to have professors to talk about the current credit crisis. In addition, the school sends out periodical emails titled Chicago on the Financial Crisis as well.

Mia: Each quarter, you take either 3 or 4 classes. Most classes meet once a week for 3 hours. Other than the class itself, depending on the type of class, you also have reading, preparation, cases, group work, assignments to complete for each class. The course evaluations for each class give an average of the hours spent outside the classroom for preparation and assignments. This can range from 3-5 (which is average for many courses, to (6-9), which would be for classes that are more time intensive. Most students take a good "mix" of classes so that they have a few that are an additional 3-4 hours and perhaps one class that takes more time. I do not have a quant background and found that you can cater your courseload and coursework time to what you want it to be. For instance, I took 3 classes during the winter quarter last year (while I was interviewing for internship positions) and I made sure that I was not going to be swamped with work. Chicago Booth has a flexible curriculum, so you can cater the courses you take to meet your needs, interests, and career goals.

AlexMoscow: Hi, everyone! My name is Alex. I'm from Moscow. My q-n: If you had to choose between Chicago and other schools why did choose Chicago?

David: Right to the point Alex - I like it. I chose Chicago because I wanted to be taught by the best professors and be surrounded by the smartest students. I wanted to be challenged while I was doing my MBA and I felt that Booth was the ultimate challenge!

mmifano: Good morning! My question goes for Katie. I have a background in Finance and Real Estate as well, so I'd like to ask u: which courses did u enjoy the most in those areas?

Katie: Chicago Booth has recently added finance courses specific to Real Estate to the curriculum. I have taken one of them, and thought that it was very valuable in building my finance knowledge surrounding the real estate industry (REITs, financing projects, IRR on developments). However, more general finance courses such as Financial Statement Analysis, Investments, and Cases in Financial Management have really helped me round out my Finance acumen.

BoothBound2011: How often does a Cohort interact after LEAD?

David: This is a great question BoothBound! I'm sitting next to Di who is in my cohort (Phoenix!) and we are both on our cohort board. We are responsible for keeping our group together after LEAD so we plan activities like: intramural broomball, community service events (we've adopted a local school and spend a day there a quarter), and social events. We have a very involved cohort and we've stayed tight after LEAD ended.

jgarcia: Has Chicago Booth taking the initiative to offer classes that focus on green businesses and technology and if so have any of you participated in these classes?

Samuel: Yes!!! Definitely! I am taking Innovation in Energy Markets for example which is a great course that goes through the whole energy sector, analyzing ways to change the energy matrix and develop new business of course, green energy ones. You have course in technology also, for example one with Austan Goolsbee, who works with Obama.

yannick: How would you rate the quality of speakers (CEO & other leaders) that came to recent events held by Chicago Booth? Was it easy to interact with them as a student?

David: I actually had the chance to meet David Booth yesterday which was excellent. He was here on campus taking questions from students on DFA and his time at Booth. In the next two quarters we have: Sir Win Bischoff (Global Chairman of Citigroup), Dr. Charles Plosser, (President - Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia), and Dennis J. Keller (Director Emeritus, Former Chairman, CEO and Founder of Devry University). We also have access to all of the speakers who come to the U of C campus. Tom Friedman was on campus last quarter.

VinayIndresh: Samuel, I see that you mentor University of Chicago undergraduates? Could you please elaborate on it?

Samuel: Hi Vinaylndresh. Yes, I do. It is a great experience because you also learn, many times they are faster than I and have strong backgrounds. The UChicago has a mentoring program in which Booth students can engage and you get assigned with 4 or 5 students to mentor to help them with the recruiting season. You prepare them with their resume, cover letters and interviews. Best, Sam

Teye: Hi, also for a new student who had a first degree in engineering and does not have foundations in economics, finance, or accounting, is there any class that caters to that?

JK: Hey Teye - good question. Actually, before joining Booth, I had the same fears. But they were soon dissolved when I heard the business school was offering a pre-MBA course in Accounting and another one in Statistics. The required Microeconomics, Investments, and other core courses that give you access to the more advanced ones are quite helpful in getting you up to speed - so you really have nothing to worry about! Especially if you are an engineer...!

G-81487064: I would like to know more about the professor student relationships at Chicago Booth--do you think that the relationships you have been able to form with professors has really impacted the type of sector you are now interested in?

Katie: Professors are certainly available to the student body, and if there is something you are specifically interested in, you can reach out those professors that are leaders in that area. Entrepreneurship faculty are especially in touch with the student body, but professors across fields enjoy interacting with students. For a case competition I entered with 3 fellow students, a professor set aside a significant amount of time to mentor us and answer questions, which was extremely valuable.

Dkk: Does the school help students pick the right level of classes? For example, I have some familiarity in accounting, but I am not sure if I should take the basic accounting class or one level higher.

Di: Hi Dkk, yes, you will get plenty of help selecting courses. During orientation, you will have a chance to meet a lot of professors from different departments. You can speak to them about your experiences and pick their brain on which classes to take. Also you will be scheduled to have one on one meeting with an academic advisor before fall quarter starts. In addition, second year students are very helpful. Use them as a resource when you can. They have been through the process and more than willing to help.

Mili: Hi, I would like to ask about the average size of the classes.

David: All of my classes have about 65 students, and I can't say enough about our facilities here. If you haven't had a chance to visit, please do. The building is wonderful and the classrooms are great. I've never felt like a face in the crowd in any of my classes.

Chiedu: How would you rate booth in terms of meeting your own expectations up till this point?

Mia: I have been extremely happy with my Booth experience. I have met a lot of great people. It is awesome to be able to go to school with people with so many different backgrounds, interests, and aspirations. I was able to transition to a new career, get a job with a great company, broaden my skillset, start a new student group, and be elected to a co-chair position. Chicago Booth is what you make of it. You can be involved a little or a lto depending on what you are trying to accomplish. I am happy that I made my choice to attend this school. Overall, you have to make a decision on what it best for you and what school is a good fit.

Deen: Hi all, does Booth have any Public Management electives or courses, the one where a student can relate his business degree to a non-profit or Govt. initiatives ?

David: Hey Deen. Booth does not specifically offer public management courses, but because of the flexible curriculum each student has 6 elective courses that can be taken anywhere at the U of C. You can definitely take those courses at the Harris School.

viper: I don't know if my question reached you last time - n light of recent economic downturn, how are students coping up with difficult campus placements? Any specific steps taken by school and students community for these challenging times?

Samuel: Hi. There are many steps taken by the school but the most important thing is that as a result of the talent pool, my class is doing great in recruiting. I have 3 offers and most of the people I know have offers. Specific steps for example are the meetings that the Dean have with exisiting and new companies, but there are many more steps. Sam

Mia: Thank you all so much for chatting with us. Good luck in the process. If anyone has any questions about what I discussed, please email me, mhillsma@chicagobooth.edu

G-81516380: How difficult was it to make the transition from working full time to full time study after a few years out of school?

Laura: I personally didn't find it to be a difficult transition. The first few weeks of school are so incredibly busy that you naturally fall into the swing of things and before you know it, you can't imagine what it was like NOT to be in school. Academic Services puts on a number of optional co-curricular seminars in the fall quarter on topics such as "Effective Study Habits", "Time Management" and "Effective/Speed Reading" to help students to brush up on their study skills.

sam_1: Good morning guys - I was wondering if one of you could throw some light into the new curriculum and forseen changes after the recent donation

Kurt: The new curriculum does not change the Chicago Booth approach, we feel it enhances it. We will be adding a new concentration in Analytical Management (more informaiton forthcoming on the website) and some new hybrid courses in Finance to give those with limited knowledge of the field an opportunity to get a better overall introduction to this subject. We will also be reorganizing some of the buckets which make up our framework (10 required courses). These changes were designed to create greater synergies in our curriculum and provide more unique opportunites to learn. As far the gift is concerned it was given to with the fundamental purpose of insuring the legacy of University of Chicago's approach to eduation, and support the efforts of faculty and staff in the creation and delivery of new and innovative ideas.

steps_mba: Katie, Laura, and Di: what kind of activities does the Wine Club Organize? Thank you.

Di: Hi steps_mba, the wine club hosts a number of activities. we have done a lot of wine tasting, and the wine club is organizing a trip to Argentina during spring break as well.

adeane: How often do people actually venture into downtown Chicago?

JK: Hello adeane, Harper Center is in Hyde Park, but many corporate and social events take place downtown, more than once a week for sure. Many of my classmates (2010) live in downtown, so sometimes, with classes taken in Gleacher, the question becomes how much venturing into Hyde Park people actually do!

G-81449138: Morning - How has your student life compared to what you experienced during your undergraduate studies?

Laura: As an undergraduate student I had a few very large classes. Here at Chicago Booth, the largest class I have had has been 65 students. Another difference is that Booth is really self-contained in the Harper Center (and Gleacher in the evenings). This is very different than having classes all over a spread out campus in undergraduate. That said, you can take advantage of the resources on the larger University of Chicago campus if you so choose.

Kurt: Thank you for your time and your questions, I hope this was helpful and you learned more about the Booth experience.

shamik: What is the average annual living cost for living in Downtown/ Regents Park area?

JK: Hey Shamik: living downtown is going to be obviously more expensive than living in Regents Park. Let's break it down like that: you have the rents which are anywhere between 30 to 50% more expensive in downtown. The food is pretty much the same, unless you like to do the swanky joints in downtown. Then there's transportation costs that you have commuting in and out of Hyde Park. But the Metra is relatively cheap (at about 2 bucks a ride)... but mind you, living in Hyde Park incurs a bit more costs when you're coming back from the downtown events that take place - quite often! So it's up to you to decide on your budget.. I'd say an average $1700/month in Hyde Park vs an average $2000/month in downtown. I think that's a decent estimate if you want.

Di: Thank you for chatting with us. I had a great time this morning. Good luck on your application process.

JK: Alright thanks a lot for your questions guys! You were a great crowd and hope to meet you in person in the future - best of luck in your search!

Laura: Thanks for all your questions, it was great chatting with all of you!

David: I really enjoyed answering your questions and best of luck in your applications and decisions!

Katie: Thank you for the great questions today! Hopefully we were able to address your questions and concerns around Chicago Booth!